Teaching, learning and assessment methods
Knowledge and understanding are gained from module texts, associated readings, DVDs, web-based resources, assignments and online forums. Core module printed or online texts are designed to guide you through concepts and practical examples. You can assess your own progress and understanding by using the in-text questions and exercises within each module.
Formal assessment of the taught modules is by way of continuous assessment in the form of the assignments (which are submitted electronically) and by an end-of-module examination or project.
Cognitive skills and processes are assessed in the assignments of the various modules. Assignments develop your skills in interpreting data, solving problems and formulating solutions. They will test your ability to analyse and evaluate situations and demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of environmental decision making. Your understanding and skills are reinforced by support from tutors in the form of feedback based on your assignment answers.
Your tutors are selected for their knowledge of the subject areas and experience in its practical application. They support your learning by phone, email, letter, fax, or online forum.
Communication skills are developed throughout by the OU’s distance-teaching methods. You are required to communicate with your tutor and you are also encouraged to participate with other students and tutors using electronic conferencing to discuss both module specific issues and related topics of wider interest. The final research module requires you to identify and develop your own area of study.
Learning how to learn
This is an important part of all OU study as there is a strong emphasis on helping you to develop as an independent learner. Some of the assignments give you opportunity to demonstrate your ability to study autonomously. Using the self-assessment questions in the course text, you can assess your progress and ask for help if needed. You are encouraged to reflect on the response to your assignments in order to improve your understanding and performance in future assessments. You will work independently on a substantial piece of work, providing novel solutions to technical problems or exploring theoretical issues at the forefront of environmental decision making.