In all the four Open University modules I have undertaken so far, I have found the provided online discussion forums very useful. In some ways, these are better than being part of a face to face tutorial group on a more concentrated course because you can dip in and out, check your facts when you refer back to earlier discussions and take time to construct a reasoned and referenced argument. The last couple of modules (including the TU812 one I am presently studying) have had particularly thriving forums and I am sure this has been helped by frequent encouragements to use them in other parts of the course material.
The downside is that, if you check the forums at the start of your study session, they can easily take up all the available time and distract you from the other coursework you need to get on with. Sometimes though there is some synergy between those two things. I feel that I’m a little further behind than I’d like to be at the moment so I’m making an effort to up my pace a bit; I will feel more comfortable if I have covered all the ground indicated and had time to read more widely before I get to the point when I need to write my next assignment. Tonight though I was pleased to spot an opportunity to answer one of the exercises by copying and pasting a forum post I made yesterday.
If the course was a game of snakes and ladders, that was a little but welcome ladder!