Science, technology and maths Access module
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 fascinating, 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 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’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 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.
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.
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.
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.