Study materials, including activities and assessment, will be delivered online only.
You will need
You will need to draw diagrams, or to annotate by hand, diagrams that you download, and then use either a scanner or a digital camera to produce files of these diagrams to include in your assessment.
A printer is desirable, as is a headset with microphone or computer with built-in speakers and microphone.
You will also need to purchase two geological maps (costing about £15 in total) using a special order form on the module website.
If you take part in a local field tutorial, field-based investigation or the optional 4-day residential school, you will require a hard hat (costing about £5).
You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as the study materials and activities are accessible via a web browser. Any other computer-based activities you will need to carry out, such as word processing, using spreadsheets, taking part in online forums, and submitting files to the university for assessment, are specified in the module materials. If any additional software is needed for these tasks it will either be provided or is freely available.
We recommend either of the following:
Windows desktop or laptop computer running Windows 7 or later operating system
Macintosh desktop or laptop computer running OS X 10.7 or later operating system.
A netbook, tablet, smartphone or Linux computer that supports one of the browsers listed below may be suitable. The screen size should be at least 1024 (H) x 768 (W) pixels. If you intend to use one of these devices please ensure you have access to a suitable desktop or laptop computer with a Windows or OS X operating system, in case you are unable to carry out all the module activities because some software will not run on Linux, iOS or Android devices.
We recommend a minimum 1 Mbps internet connection and any of the following browsers for carrying out web-based activities:
Internet Explorer 9 and above
Apple Safari 7 and above
Google Chrome 31 and above
Mozilla Firefox 31 and above.
Note: using the latest version for your browser will maximise security when accessing the internet. Using company or library computers may prevent you accessing some internet materials or installing additional software.
To be able to talk and listen in our online discussions you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones.
See our Skills for OU study website for further information about computing skills for study and educational deals for buying Microsoft Office software.
If you have a disability
As this module is delivered online, some materials and activities may be unsuitable for Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). Printable versions of web pages should be available for students to download in order to read offline or print to hard copy. Some Adobe PDF components may not be fully accessible using a screen reader. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future.
This module contains many onscreen practical activities and digital images that involve the differentiation of colours and observation of small-scale features and structures. Therefore, it may be very difficult for students with colour blindness or poor visual acuity to achieve all the learning outcomes of the module without extra time and possibly the assistance of a sighted helper.
Students with hearing impairments may have difficulty in participating in audio conferences but should be able to participate fully in online forum discussions. On-screen video materials will be subtitled. Transcripts may also be available for some virtual field trip activities.
If you have issues with manual dexterity you may need assistance to draw diagrams or to annotate by hand any diagrams that you download, and then to use either a scanner or a digital camera to produce files of these diagrams for inclusion in your assessment.
You will need to make extensive use of a computer and the internet. If you use mobile technology, or specialist hardware or software to assist you in operating a computer or with the types of material outlined above, you are advised to contact us about the support available to meet your needs.
Fieldwork skills are taught via a fully accessible, online learning experience (available to all students as part of the module) or an optional four-day residential field school (for which there are additional charges – see ‘Residential school fees’). If you choose to participate in the residential field school, you will be required to observe and interpret large-scale landscape features and small-scale features of rocks and fossils. Associated laboratory activities will involve working with microscopes and maps. Good visual acuity is therefore required, and preferably the ability to distinguish colours. Travel to some of the field sites will be by minibus with uninterrupted journeys of up to one hour each way. The majority of practical work is carried out during trips to a number of geological sites which by their very nature are not easily accessible to wheelchairs or to people with restricted mobility. Students who experience pain and fatigue, or have other concerns due to a medical condition, may also find the fieldwork extremely challenging or unsafe.
The venue will make every effort to accommodate additional requirements if they have sufficient notice, but please note that it might not always be possible to fully meet your needs. It is therefore essential that you read the module information sheet on the residential school website, and make contact with the Field Studies Council (FSC) at Blencathra to discuss any support requirements you may have. In the event that the FSC is unable to accommodate your support requirements, you can contact the Disability Resources Team by phone (01908 653745) or email. A member of the team may be able to offer you support and guidance about how to access the support that you need.
If you are at all worried by any of these issues you would be advised to choose the equivalent online learning experience.
If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.