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BA/BSc (Honours) Open degree - Learning outcomes

Educational aims

Choosing from a wide range of rewarding and enjoyable modules, you can design a BA/BSc (Hons) Open degree to suit your personal and professional needs, interests and aspirations. This qualification aims to provide you with:

  • the flexibility to study modules in one or more subject(s)
  • the opportunity to develop your skills, knowledge and capabilities through the three levels of OU study
  • an appreciation of the development of knowledge, its application in your chosen subject(s) and the interaction between skills and knowledge within different subjects/disciplines
  • an insight into personal goals, preferences and aptitudes
  • the skills to learn independently, organise information and communicate effectively, whether for academic study, employment, or your own personal goals
  • an ability to identify career/personal goals and study options and take steps to determine required qualifications and reflect on skills and experience.

Learning outcomes

An BA/BSc (Hons) Open degree allows you to select modules from across the curriculum so that the learning outcomes of your degree will depend on a combination of outcomes from the modules you have studied. These will be described retrospectively in an academic transcript. As a student gaining an Open degree, you will have the opportunity to develop and demonstrate generic outcomes, including knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas.

Knowledge and understanding

You will be able to demonstrate:
  • a systematic and, where appropriate, comparative knowledge and understanding in at least one subject/discipline
  • a detailed knowledge of one or more specialisms and developments, some of which are at, or informed by current thinking in one or more subject/discipline
  • a substantial knowledge and critical understanding of the established concepts, theories and principles in one or more subject/discipline, together with an appreciation of key emerging issues
  • the ability to recognise the potential uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge in one or more subject/discipline.

Cognitive skills

You will be able to demonstrate:
  • skills in identifying relevant qualitative and/or quantitative information from a wide range of evaluated sources including current research, scholarly, and or professional literature as appropriate
  • skills in the systematic gathering, evaluation, critical analysis and interpretation of ideas and concepts to one of more subject/discipline, whilst being aware of the limitations of techniques and your knowledge
  • an ability to apply a conceptual understanding of one or more subject/discipline(s) to devise and sustain arguments, and/or to solve problems, using examples and techniques, some of which are at the forefront of the subject/discipline
  • a knowledge of, familiarity with and ability to, deploy essential and advanced subject-related materials, as appropriate, in addition to established techniques of analysis and enquiry, including some at the forefront of at least one subject/discipline
  • an ability to apply the methods and techniques that you have learned to review, consolidate, extend your knowledge and understanding, and to initiate and carry out projects, as appropriate.

Practical and/or professional skills

You will be able to demonstrate:
  • an ability to learn from feedback and reflect on experience to review progress, develop career/personal plans and seek ways of improving performance as an independent learner
  • an ability to plan, monitor and evaluate your own learning and performance, being aware of your own learning styles, strengths and needs, as required for studying one or more subject/discipline.

Key skills

You will be able to:
  • frame and address problems, questions and issues, being aware of the environment and context in which the problem exists
  • accurately and effectively communicate, formally and informally, information about specialised topics to informed audiences using the full repertoire of the principal concepts and constructs in one or more subject/discipline
  • confidently use a range of digital practices (including tools and resources) to find, use, create and share data, information and knowledge as appropriate to one or more subject/discipline
  • comprehend and produce written and spoken texts in subject-appropriate language for a range of academic purposes that are core to the relevant subject/discipline, demonstrating the capacity to adapt language and literacy to the expectations, practices and needs of different academic and professional audiences.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

You will acquire your knowledge and understanding through a combination of published distance-learning materials, study guides, a range of multimedia material, face-to-face tutorials, online tuition and feedback on your assignments. Some modules also include residential schools. The precise combination of methods that you will encounter will depend on your choice of modules.

Cognitive skills are taught cumulatively and in ways that will vary according to which modules you choose to study. They will include the use of written study materials, in-text questions, audio, visual and/or interactive material, carefully monitored feedback on assignments, as well as face-to-face or virtual tutorials and online forums.

The teaching, learning and assessment of key skills are also specific to the subjects you choose to include as part of your Open degree and in many modules are likely to be assessed indirectly.

Tutors will continuously assess your knowledge, understanding and skills using tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) and, on some modules, using computer-marked assignments (CMAs). Tutors mark your TMAs using marking guides produced by the relevant module teams, and give you written feedback on your performance. For the majority of modules, final assessment is via either an examination or end-of-module assessment (EMA).

As you progress through the degree you will find that you are cumulatively increasing your level of knowledge and understanding and you can expect a significant portion of your progress to be assessed at third level.
 

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