Teaching, learning and assessment methods
Knowledge and understanding are acquired at all levels through specially prepared module manuals, resource books, videos, audio-tapes and CD-ROMs, self-assessment exercises, optional group tutorials, individual tutor support, specially prepared research exercises, optional library study days and internet-based legal research activities. A selection of these media is used in each module that makes up the degree.
Knowledge and understanding are assessed by means of tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) and unseen written examinations. In addition, you are encouraged to assess yourself informally by means of activities and exercises contained in the module manuals, and through reflection on the comments received on TMAs and in the feedback forms which accompany these.
Cognitive skills are developed through the learning and teaching methods and resources identified above. Each of the programme modules provides you with the opportunity to identify your strengths and weaknesses in respect of each of the cognitive skills, to reflect on your progress in addressing your weaknesses and improving and consolidating your strengths.
These skills are assessed by the formal and informal means identified above. Particular emphasis is placed in the modules on enabling you to assess your own progress by means of structured activities and exercises, and through self-assessment of progress at the end-of-module units.
Practical skills are developed through the learning and teaching methods and resources identified in relation to knowledge and understanding. Throughout each module emphasis is placed on developing a reflective and coherent approach to contentious doctrinal issues, through the use of both ’problem-type’ and ’essay-type’ questions. Research skills are addressed and developed at both OU level 2 and OU level 3. As a student, you are required, through directed research tasks, to access information both in hard copy and electronic formats, and to use that information. You are also provided with the opportunity to attend library training days in dedicated law libraries.
These practical skills are assessed by the formal and informal means identified in relation to knowledge and understanding. Research skills are also assessed in TMAs.
Communication and literacy
Significant emphasis is placed on the development of effective communication skills throughout the module. Each of the modules that make up the programme is designed to enable you to develop your written communication skills formally, through writing TMAs, and informally, through undertaking activities and exercises contained within the module units. Advice is provided to you in the guides which accompany each module on matters of style and presentation of assessed work, and feedback on these matters is provided by tutors. You are provided with the opportunity to develop your oral communication skills through participation in group tutorials, one-to-one communication with tutors, and participation in study groups.
Your written communication skills are assessed through TMAs and unseen examination. Tutors will comment on your skills in this area in their TMA feedback in order that you may better assess your own future work.
Numeracy and IT
Numerical information is presented in a number of units in the modules which make up the programme, and in some of these you are given the opportunity to undertake basic comprehension exercises. You are provided with access to online databases, and to a selection of specialist online law databases.
A number of TMAs require you to access information via the internet as part of the development of your research skills.
Numerical skills form no part of the assessment for the award.
Working with others
You are provided with the opportunity of attending tutorials. Tutors are encouraged to help you develop your group-working skills.
There is no formal assessment of this skill, although tutors may encourage you to reflect on your abilities in this area.
Improving own learning and performance
The methods and resources identified in relation to knowledge and understanding are designed to enable you to develop as an effective learner. Emphasis is placed, in module manuals and in the study guides, on the importance of self-assessment, of using feedback to improve learning skills and performance, and on reflecting critically on progress.
There is no assessment as such of the extent to which you have developed these skills, though your performance in both module work and unseen examinations will be an indicator of the extent to which you have done so. The consolidation exercises provided in the module manuals provide opportunities for you to assess yourself in respect of this skill.