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Terms we use


Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) are associated with each module and this is how students are assessed. TMAs are marked by you to provide feedback to your students.

Some modules have a final examination and some have an end-of-course assessment (ECA). If you are shortlisted, you will receive detailed module information including whether a module has an examination or ECA.


Credits are awarded to a student for the successful completion of a module. OU credits equate directly to the CATs points system used by most UK universities.

Information technology

IT requirements are categorised according to the level of Personal Computer (PC) use in a particular module, and the salary band for the module reflects this. The module descriptions indicate which of the three levels reflects the use of IT for associate lecturers.

Level 1 - At this level qualifications and modules require working online and all feature the use of forums. Our students and staff are expected to use online systems to :

  • communicate
  • learn
  • undertake administration

Note that many of these modules will still use paper based and fixed media resources e.g. audio CDs and DVDs etc, when appropriate.

Level 2 - At this level modules use online learning systems, which are a required element of teaching support.

Level 3 - For this level all teaching and student support is usually delivered through our online learning systems. Some of our modules use enhanced online learning tools such as Wikis and blogs. Others also use specialist software for which training is provided. However, some modules with this IT level may have an element of face to face contact with students and you should check this by referring to the module Tuition Delivery Model. 

Module codes

The OU's module codes are made up of letters and numbers. The letter identifies the faculty or school that the module belongs to and the numbers identify the specific module. Some modules relate to more than one academic area and have more than one letter in the module code (e.g. DB123, You and your money is owned by the Faculty of Social Sciences and by the OU Business School).

Recommended group size

This indicates the number of students likely to be in a standard student group.


This indicates which salary band is applicable for the module. The teaching and assessment strategy may not be confirmed for all modules, in which case salary information in the module description will be shown as 'to be advised'. The salary is paid over the months the module is in presentation.

Set books

Most modules have set books provided as part of the module materials. On some modules set books are not provided and students and associate lecturers are required to purchase them.

Tuition delivery models

Our modules have different methods of tuition and each vacancy will show whether you would be expected to deliver the tuition online or if there is some face to face tuition. There are 3 categories:

  1. where there is significant regular face to face contact with your students.
  2. where there is no face to face contact with your students and the module is taught online or by telephone.
  3. where there is a blend of face to face or online tuition.

Please note that the location of applicants applying for modules with a tuition delivery model, which has face to face student support, will be a relevant factor that is considered as part of the shortlisting process.

Tutorials/day schools

The modules with face-to-face tuition require travel to tutorial venues, these are usually within the area of your regional/national centre, but this cannot be guaranteed. Some modules are tutored entirely online and tutorials are held via online forums.


This gives you an estimate of the number of hours per teaching week that you could expect to work. You are only expected to work while the module is in presentation.

The OU must be able to demonstrate compliance with the national minimum wage legislation. To do this, the OU specifies the average daily number of hours an associate lecturer is likely to spend in carrying out the duties required under the contract as an associate lecturer. The total number of hours reflects the number of months that the module is in presentation each year and the workload for the module as specified in the teaching and assessment strategy (i.e. taking into account the number of contact hours, number of students in the group, number of tutor-marked assignments). Therefore, the number of hours varies from module to module and can range from as little as 1 1/2 hours a week to as much as 10 hours a week.