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Science, technology and maths 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. It introduces a range of subjects, including science; engineering and design; environment; mathematics; and computing and IT to prepare you for a wide range of qualifications. You’ll study a range of fascinating topics in three study blocks – Life, Water and Home. This module will also gently introduce you to computing and online learning; the perfect way to gain the study skills you’ll need for 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 sciences, technology and mathematics, and would like to develop both your subject knowledge and your study skills. The subjects included are science, engineering and design, environment, mathematics, and computing and IT.

The module is divided into three blocks:

Block 1: Life

Block 1 which you will study in print, starts with biology and ecological ideas and uses varied examples to describe interrelationships between plants, animals and the wider environment while developing your study skills. You will learn about the unique role of humans, and explore how we have changed the environment to suit our needs through farming or conservation. You’ll consider how we can tell what effect current lifestyles have on the environment by introducing the ecological footprint model and look at sustainable living and how we can conserve declining species and habitats. This block also introduces key mathematical ideas and you will learn techniques to help you tackle everyday mathematical problems.  

Block 2: Water

Water is essential for life and fundamental to what we do. In Block 2 you will move to online study where you’ll investigate how water has shaped our planet and our lives. You will learn and develop skills that will aid your understanding and use of a variety of tools used in science. You will also access The Open University Library and the wide variety of materials that this can offer. You will investigate the presence of water in potatoes and how water is required for yeast to respire in some home experiments, and through these home experiments, learn about how we can use experimental data to develop and refine hypotheses. Underpinning this is some essential mathematics and further computing skills to develop your study of science, technology and mathematics.

Block 3: Home

Block 3 which continues online, introduces you to the subjects of design, engineering and computing around the central concept of home. You will find out how homes are designed, and can be designed better, through the use of engineering and computing. Block 3 is a practical block where you will complete a number of design, engineering, and computing activities and experiments. You’ll also be introduced to an online design studio where you will keep a portfolio of the work you do. You’ll also continue to learn mathematics and IT skills to support your developing knowledge of some computing and engineering concepts.

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 IT 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 science, maths, engineering, technology, computing, environment and design. We will help you to develop your study skills and become a confident learner.

You can study a Science, technology or maths 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, a digital camera (or camera on a smartphone) 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.

The module includes some simple home experiments which will require access to some basic kitchen and other equipment, including (but not restricted to): a ruler; a kitchen weighing scale; a 1 litre measuring jug; various household items e.g. tinned food; a clock or watch; dried lasagne sheets, potatoes, sugar and yeast. If you are unable to undertake the experiments we will provide alternative ways to enable you to take part in the experiment.

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 an 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 Y033 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

Science, technology and maths 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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