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Economics in context

Why are markets so powerful in most economies today? What is the role of the government in different economies, and how does this role shape opportunities of different people and firms? What explains global inequalities? Why is economic growth such a key economic goal in most countries today? Are there other goals economies could pursue? You'll unravel similar questions, using insights from recent history, key economic thinkers, and drawing on economic perspectives and examples. This module is a building block towards a critical perspective on economics and economic choices for our daily lives.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module

Module code
DD126
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
30
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.
OU SCQF FHEQ
1 7 4
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Entry requirements

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What you will study

This module has three primary aims:

  • To provide you with foundations of economics and an initial set of skills and tools economists use
  • To provide an insight into how economics and the economies have evolved over time
  • And finally, to engage with a plurality of perspectives within the economics discipline and outside it, and embed standard economics in context.

Given the prevalence and power of markets around the globe, this module initially makes a case for why economics organise so much of their activity through exchange in markets. It then opens the analysis of economies to recognise the embeddedness and interrelation of markets with more complex systems which makes their success, if one could agree on what success means for markets, context-specific.

There are two main blocks of study. The first focuses on markets, how they operate, what drives their outcomes, and how economics analyses them from a microeconomic perspective. The second looks at key systems which interact with markets and define the economies in which they operate. You'll look at labour institutions, technological change, financial, innovation and industrial actors, and trade systems. The module ends with a reflection on the role of the government, and on how this role changes through time and space, and through context.

Throughout the module, we'll be making use of three interconnecting themes: agents, success, and change. What success means changes according to the agents and the context; the relative importance of different agents changes with the context and with what the prevalent measure of success is; and change through time depends on the relation between agents and success.

The story of the UK textile revolution, which many would argue as the origin of the Industrial Revolution, is used to describe the transformation of consumption, production, markets, and economies as felt in this industry, in the last 300 years, and the transformation of economics itself in the process.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a module tutor assigned to you who will contact you early in the module. After that, he or she will provide expert distance tuition through feedback and ‘feed-forward’ on your assignments and be on hand to answer your queries. Your tutor, in collaboration with others, will run a series of face-to-face and online tutorials to help you get the most out of the module materials and prepare for assignments and the final exam. If you study this module as part of one of our qualifications, you'll also have a personal tutor who will monitor your progress and support you throughout the qualification.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Future availability

Economics in context starts twice a year – in October and February. This page describes the module that will start in October 2019. We expect it to start for the last time in February 2029.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Course work includes:

    3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
    Examination
    No residential school


    Entry requirements

    There are no formal entry requirements for this module. You'll learn and engage with some techniques such as numerical calculus, descriptive charts, and more abstract diagrams, and you'll learn to use them when writing your assignments. During your studies, there will be two weeks of study to further support skills development.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

    Register

    Start End England fee Register
    05 Oct 2019 Jun 2020 £1506.00

    Registration closes 12/09/19 (places subject to availability)

    Register
    01 Feb 2020 Sep 2020 £1506.00

    Registration closes 09/01/20 (places subject to availability)

    Register
    This module is expected to start for the last time in February 2029.

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a computer, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).


    For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or book a call back at a time convenient to you.


    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2020. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 26/05/2019.

    What's included

    The module is delivered through a textbook, written especially for the module, and the module website. You'll be able to access an online version of the textbook, but some activities on the website will lose their functionality when printed. Offline equivalents of these online activities will be provided when possible.

    You will need

    You'll be provided with Office 365 which includes Word and Excel. Your assignments can be done using Word, but some will include diagrams drawn by you. We will support and discuss alternative ways of doing this, but if you will want to draw diagrams on paper and not using software, you may want to take a photo of your diagram, and be able to paste your photos into Word.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • Mac OS X 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying DD126 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Disability support website.