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Arts and languages Access module

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Are you new to higher education study or returning after a break? This Access module – designed to develop the key skills required for successful university study – is an ideal starting point. You may even be able to study for free. You will be introduced to a range of absorbing subjects, including art history, English literature, English language studies, history, and modern languages to prepare you for a wide range of qualifications in the humanities. The theme of popular protest runs throughout the module and is used to link the various subject areas. As part of your study you will learn to navigate an innovative and interactive module website; the perfect way to gain the study skills you’ll need to succeed in the next step in your studies.

This module is only available if you live in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, the Republic of Ireland, or if you have a British Forces Post Office (BFPO) address.

What you will study

This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the arts and languages, and would like to develop both your subject knowledge and your study skills. It explores a range of subjects, including art history, English, English language studies, history, modern languages, and also touches on the areas of creative writing and religious studies.

The module is divided into three blocks.

Block 1 which you will study in print, begins by exploring how language is used to communicate. You will be introduced to language in various spoken and written forms – for example as a tool for learning or as cultural expression. You’ll then examine the theme of popular protest with an initial discussion of a First World War poem, Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen. Next, you will study a diverse range of poetry with an emphasis on protest. Finally, depending on your personal interests and study goals, you can either try your hand at creative writing or try out a foreign language at beginners’ level.

Block 2 where you will move to online study, extends your study of language to consider popular culture and the language of protest. You’ll also start to think about the persuasive uses of language – seen in politics and the media for instance – and consider what impact dialect and pronunciation has on how meaning is produced, drawing on examples from hip-hop and song. You will then move on to focus on history, in particular, looking at the history of the demand for democracy (government by the people) in Britain from around 1815 through an examination of the Chartist movement. You will be introduced to a small number of the many debates surrounding the interpretation of Chartism and the relevance of the subject today. Finally, you will have the option to study a segment on a foreign language at beginners’ level (from a choice of up to six languages), or to extend your study of history by considering the Suffragette movement in Britain.

Block 3 which continues online, considers the relationship between art and popular protest. You’ll be introduced to the study of the visual arts by looking at a selection of works that have been nominated for the Turner Prize which will allow you to look at many different types of art and explore the techniques used by art historians and art critics when they analyse a work of art. You’ll then explore three case studies: a painting by Picasso; a display at St. Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art in Glasgow; and the symbolism and language used in football banners. These case studies will give you the opportunity to build on what you have learnt so far and explore the relationship between popular protest and visual art from a wider range of academic disciplines, such as history, religious studies, linguistics and modern foreign language studies. At the end of this block you will have a further opportunity to choose to study more foreign language material.

Towards the end of the module you will have the opportunity to participate in activities which will help you to make decisions about your future study plans.

The module includes a DVD and website which include further study materials and resources as well as online quizzes and interactive exercises to help test your understanding.

As you study this module you will build your confidence and develop your study skills, including:

  • reading and interpreting information
  • producing written communications
  • time management and organisational skills
  • problem solving.

You will also have the opportunity to gain skills such as working with audio and video material, using online forums and searching the internet for information. This experience will provide you with a gentle introduction to using a computer to support your study, and will equip you with the basic computing skills you will need for the next step in your studies.

Please note that you will need access to the internet and a computer to study and pass this module. You will need to use a computer early on in the module but not straight away, so if you don’t currently have one you’ve got time to make arrangements. You can use your own computer or one at a library or drop-in centre.

On successful completion of this module you will receive an Open University Access Module Certificate.

Entry requirements

If you’re a beginner or returning to study, this module is an ideal starting point for a qualification in the arts, history or languages. We will help you to develop your study skills and become a confident learner.

You can study Arts and languages Access module as an additional preparatory stage of your chosen qualification – or on a standalone basis – but whichever option you chose, you will receive all of the preparation you need to be a successful university student.

The study materials have been prepared with the needs of new learners in mind. No special knowledge or previous experience of studying is required. This module enables you to use your general knowledge and interests, and gradually build up to university-level study. You will develop key study skills such as time management, note taking, reading for study purposes and reflection on your own learning.

If you want to register for an Access module or want to know more about study with The Open University you can talk to one of our advisers by calling us on +44 (0)1908 659253 or request a call back.

What's included

Module books, DVD and a website where you can access the online resources.

Digital copies (PDFs and web versions) of most study materials, and transcripts of the DVD can be found on the website. Transcripts are also available on the DVD itself if it is accessed through a computer.

You will need

You will require access to equipment that plays DVDs, a phone and the use of a computer with internet access. You don’t need to rush out and buy a computer as you could use one at a library or drop-in centre.

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
  • macOS 10.7 or higher

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

To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones. 

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. 

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will keep in touch by a combination of telephone, written correspondence and, if you want, email. There are no face-to-face tutorials; all tutorials are conducted between you and your tutor. You may have the opportunity to experience a group tutorial and use online rooms later in the module. Your tutor will help you to plan your work and to think about the ideas explored in the module. Your tutor will also comment on and help you with your written work. At the end of the module you will discuss your progress with your tutor, and you will work together to review your learning.

Assessment

You do not have to sit an examination for this module. Assessment consists of short written assignments (TMAs) and online activities (iCMAs):

  • TMA stands for Tutor Marked Assignment. There are four TMAs for this module. Your tutor will give you constructive written feedback to develop your study skills and confidence, and a score. 
  • iCMA stands for Interactive Computer-Marked Assignment. There are five iCMAs for this module. Typically these are short, online, multiple choice quizzes. 

The study materials give you lots of support and practice, and detailed feedback from your tutor will help to hone your study skills and build your confidence. You’ll submit some of your assignments online through our eTMA system – the assignment booklet gives full details.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying Y031 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Your next step

Call us on +44 (0)1908 659253 or request a call back. Our friendly team of advisers will discuss your study options with you, and help you decide on the best starting point for you. Or come and meet us at an event near you.

Future availability

Arts and languages starts twice a year – in February and October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2018 and February 2019. We expect it to start for the last time in February 2021.

Course work includes:

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
5 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
No examination
No residential school

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