Teaching, learning and assessment methods
Knowledge and understanding are acquired in a variety of ways, through:
- printed items such as specially written module texts, study guides, and assignment and project guides
- a range of multimedia material
- work on original texts
- feedback on assignments.
Tutors support your learning in tutorials and day schools and through their detailed comments on assignments.
The OU level 2 psychology modules provide a wide-ranging introduction to the key concepts, theories, and methods of psychology as well as teaching and guidance on research methods and on effective writing of psychological research reports. The core module, DE200, includes two mini projects, one using qualitative methods and the other using quantitative methods, and a final examination.
At OU level 3 the compulsory module will develop your skills in independent research and you will be able to choose from a range of methods to conduct, evaluate and communicate your own research. Understanding and competence in all areas is assessed through project work submitted as tutor-marked assignments.
In the modules at both OU levels 2 and 3 there is an increasing development of your skills in understanding, evaluating, and comparing psychological theories using evidence from different sources.
Throughout the degree, assessment is through tutor-marked assignments (including essays, presentations and practical reports), interactive computer-marked assessments (iCMAs), and end-of-module assignments or examinations. Running through the compulsory psychology modules is a developing emphasis on cumulative practical experience of psychological research methods, culminating in the ability to carry out independent empirical research; therefore, written reports form a substantial component of the tutor-marked assignments.
Skills development and assessment beyond the compulsory modules in the degree will depend on your choice of modules according to your needs and intentions.
The open nature of entry to the OU means that at OU level 1 there is considerable emphasis on reading and writing skills. These are integrated into the study material and specifically taught and developed in separate texts, via student notes for the tutor-marked assignments, and through tutor feedback. At OU levels 2 and 3 you are assumed to have developed abilities in these areas, although tutor feedback on writing and reporting skills continues to be important. However, the material from which you work becomes increasingly complex and diverse, therefore more sophisticated skills of interpretation, selection and synthesis are required. These skills are central to the presentation of written assignments and, consequently, throughout the degree receive continuous assessment and examination.
Application of number
At OU level 2, number skills are developed through interactive online activities and two small research projects. At OU levels 2 and 3 projects are assessed through research reports submitted as tutor-marked assignments.
You have the opportunity to work with information technology on each of the modules. Many students use word processing packages to prepare and present their tutor-marked assignments.
Learning how to learn
As you will be studying at a distance and part time, a strong emphasis is placed on helping you to develop as an independent learner. At OU level 1 this means developing basic skills (e.g. of time planning, using support). It also means laying the foundation for increasing emphasis on reflection at OU levels 2 and 3. This is not assessed directly but is demonstrated by your ability to study autonomously. Self-assessed activities are also built into the teaching texts. Your tutors’ written responses on your assignments are intended, in part, to help you learn from feedback and enable you to improve subsequent submissions.