What you will study
SK190 bridges introductory OU level 1 modules and higher-level study. It develops the core subject knowledge and study skills needed for higher education and distance learning within scientific and related disciplines.
The module comprises ten topics:
This topic introduces the building blocks of the human body, exploring the molecular level up to the organ systems. You’ll learn the importance of homeostasis (balance) in physiological processes and participate in collaborative activities that begin developing your communication and investigative skills.
You’ll learn basic genetics and cell biology by looking at diseases caused by gene mutations and how the environment can affect them, human development and diversity. Additionally, you’ll develop data-handling skills and basic numeracy by investigating eye colour distribution.
This topic introduces the structure and function of the nervous system, including the different regions and functions of the brain. You’ll explore how the nervous system controls movement via the musculoskeletal system and how human senses relay information about the internal and external environment to the brain.
This topic explores the role of hormones. You’ll learn about the hormonal control of sleep, growth, metabolism and digestion, and health consequences when hormonal balance is lost. You’ll also develop a greater understanding of scientific communication using graphs throughout this topic.
This topic covers digestion, nutrition and some of the basic biochemistry underpinning energy production in the body. You’ll also learn about recent scientific advances in the role of the gut microbiome and the gut-brain axis in health and disease. This topic also starts to develop your presentation skills.
This topic develops your understanding of microbiology as you learn about the major pathogens and how two immune system branches fight infection. You’ll also explore how knowledge of the immune system and previous vaccine design led to the rapid development of the COVID-19 vaccines. This topic also further develops your numeracy and communication skills.
You’ll learn about the anatomical structure and physiological function of cardiac and respiratory systems and how these two organ systems work in harmony. This topic also includes a live labcast, where you’ll help design an experiment in real time.
As you learn about the kidney and its role in regulating several important physiological processes, you’ll further develop your understanding of cell biology and biochemistry. You’ll learn about kidney diseases and the widespread impact throughout the body if the kidneys function sub-optimally.
You’ll study the structure and function of female and male reproductive systems. You’ll learn about hormonal control of the reproductive systems at different life stages, including during ageing, such as perimenopause. In addition, you’ll learn about changes that occur during pregnancy and the post-natal period. You’ll also briefly examine how contraceptives can prevent pregnancy, the principal causes of infertility, and fertility-enhancing techniques.
Finally, in Topic 10, you’ll explore the causes and consequences of acute and chronic stress. You’ll then consider the impact of acute and chronic stress on all of the body systems studied across the previous topics.