England.  Change location

Contemporary sport and exercise issues

Qualification dates
Start End

In this engaging module you’ll explore the research behind a range of contemporary sport and exercise issues. Through critical analysis of the interaction between academic and media sources you will investigate fascinating questions within topics such as nutrition, gender, recovery and youth sport. You’ll also undertake a detailed investigation on one contemporary issue that you will select from a range of options. This module is suitable if you have a broad interest and an inquisitive nature regarding contemporary issues in sport, or work practices in the sector.

What you will study

The module comprises seven study topics:

Setting the scene using the doping issue – This introduction to the module explains the module framework and you begin to see how a contemporary issue can be explored. You'll focus on the example of doping in sport to better understand how to approach discussing an issue and how it can be argued from different perspectives.

Chasing the evidence: nutrition for health and performance – You’ll explore the evidence and arguments relating to the development of healthy eating guidelines, common diets and myths, and the advances in personalised nutrition. An introductory nutrition ‘primer’ chapter is used for those new to this subject.

Inequality in sport: what’s gender got to do with it? –  You'll investigate how gender inequalities across sport arise both in the past and the present. You’ll explore how inequality can be viewed through a feminist lens and how this is applied to issues such as media coverage, power relations and your own experiences within sport and exercise.

You’ll also have the choice to investigate either:

  • Option A: Beyond rest: the science of recovery. You’ll investigate the evidence behind a range of commonly used recovery strategies in sport and exercise including cooling strategies (e.g. ice baths), compression garments and sports massage.
  • Option B: Whose game is it? Rethinking youth sport. You’ll discuss evidence that a lack of enjoyment causes children to quit sport and explore many factors that may contribute to this. You'll also consider issues such as developing talent, early specialisation in a single sport and how much say young players should have in training. Overall, you’ll consider whether the culture of youth sports needs to change.

Choosing your final Project – You’ll now begin working on your independent Project of a specific contemporary issue, which could focus on a topic such as high-intensity interval training, concussion, nutrition or sleep. This study topic introduces you to a range of contemporary topics and helps you to respond to an intriguing question using academic and media sources.

Preparing for presentation – This will help you develop your presentation skills in preparation for a one-to-one presentation with your tutor about your independent Project. The skills you learn will also be useful in a wide range of professional roles in sport and fitness.

Refining and shaping your final Project – This final study topic is designed to help you complete your independent Project. Whilst this largely involves independent study, you’ll be supported by activities to keep you on track and online tutorials from subject specialists.

Entry requirements

There are no formal qualification requirements for this module. However, as it is a OU level 3 module it is recommended that you have completed at least one sport and fitness module before embarking on study in this area.

You will be required to read and interpret detailed research articles so your academic skills should reflect these expectations.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

What's included

You’ll have access to a module website, which includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • course-specific module materials
  • audio and video content
  • assignment details and submission section
  • online tutorial access

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Throughout your module studies, you’ll get help and support from your assigned module tutor. They’ll help you by:

  • marking your assignments (TMAs) and providing detailed feedback for you to improve
  • guiding you to additional learning resources
  • providing individual guidance, whether that’s for general study skills or specific module content
  • facilitating online discussions between your fellow students, in the dedicated module and tutor group forums.

Module tutors also run online tutorials throughout the module. Where possible, recordings of online tutorials will be made available to students. While these tutorials won’t be compulsory for you to complete the module, you’re strongly encouraged to take part.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying E315 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

Contemporary sport and exercise issues (E315) starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2024.

We expect it to start for the last time in October 2031.

Course work includes:

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
2 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
End-of-module assessment