Teaching, learning and assessment methods
Knowledge and understanding are acquired at all levels through published distance-learning materials, including specially written study materials, study guides, assignments and project guides; through a range of multimedia material; through specified work using computer software; through work on original texts; and through feedback on assignments.
At OU level 1, you will be taught a variety of skills and methods in economics, personal finance, mathematics and statistics, which are necessary for studying successfully at Levels 2 and 3, where you will learn about core economic theories, methods and techniques more in depth, and will learn more data analysis techniques.
You will receive support and feedback from your tutor and in some modules you will collaborate with other students. The University operates a blended tuition policy across all undergraduate qualifications, with the number of tuition hours and the proportion of face-to-face tuition being considerably higher in the key introductory module and gradually declining through Stages 1, 2 and 3 as students become more independent. Feedback on assessment is used throughout all modules to provide personalised support during your studies. You will also be able to receive support through online forums and other channels.
The open nature of entry to the OU means there is some emphasis on reading and writing skills at OU level 1. At subsequent levels there are assumptions about your basic abilities in these areas, although tutor feedback on writing skills continues to be important. However, the material from which you work becomes increasingly complex and diverse, and more sophisticated skills of interpretation, selection and synthesis are required.
Application of number
You are taught the more basic of these skills at OU level 1. They continue to be taught and assessed at OU levels 2 and 3, especially in the data analysis modules, although also in the economics modules there is significant emphasis on application of number.
You are introduced to issues related to information technology in a range of modules from OU levels 1 to 3. Work involving information technology is compulsory in most modules in this programme.
Learning how to learn
Because OU students are part-time and studying at a distance, there is strong emphasis on helping you to develop as an independent learner. At OU level 1 this means helping you to develop basic skills (e.g. time planning, using feedback and support), but also laying the foundations for the increasing emphasis on reflection at OU levels 2 and 3. Most of this is not assessed directly but will be demonstrated by an increasing ability to study autonomously.
Problem-solving skills are developed by example, discussion and experience, in all teaching materials, and are assessed in most of the modules in this programme.
The strategy for assessment and feedback includes a mix of assessment methods throughout the qualification. Assessment at all levels is usually via tutor-marked assignments (TMAs), computer-marked assignments (iCMAs), end of course assignments and examinations. The range of techniques covered by these assignments is broad, often including essay questions, as well as more technical exercises and projects. At OU level 3, you will be taught research the skills necessary to carry out your own research project in economics.