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BA (Honours) Arts and Humanities - Learning outcomes

Educational aims

This is a wide-ranging programme of study across the arts and humanities which aims to provide you with the flexibility to choose modules from several different subjects or, if you prefer, to specialise in one or two subjects.

In addition, the programme will provide you with:

  • a thorough grounding in the humanities to honours level
  • a comprehensive grounding in the skills of analysis, argument and expression in the humanities
  • the ability to write well-argued essays and other specified written tasks, including work in formal examinations, and reflect on tutor feedback, and use this feedback to improve on future performance appropriate to honours level study
  • if you adopt a subject specialism, a comprehensive sense of the different ways of approaching your chosen subject specialism to honours level
  • an awareness of the transferable skills you have gained in the process of studying the arts and humanities to honours level, and a sense of how these skills might serve you in future study and in building your career as appropriate.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

When you complete your studies for this degree, you will be able to:

  • recognise the importance of what people think, make and practise and their meaning and values in the past and today
  • understand and employ appropriate critical vocabulary for the discussion of artefacts, texts or histories
  • contextualise cultures of the past and see their connections with the present
  • understand the significance of and evaluate different kinds of primary and secondary sources (written, visual or aural) and select and employ appropriate academic methods to their analysis.

Cognitive skills

When you complete your studies for this degree, you will be able to

  • synthesise large amounts of primary and secondary evidence or source material into manageable or digestible form
  • critically evaluate and challenge information, arguments and assumptions from different sources, and distinguish between opinion and criticism
  • draw appropriate conclusions on the basis of evidence
  • select and use accurately appropriate methods of analysis, enquiry and critical theory and be aware of their limitations
  • recognise the potential uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge in the humanities.

Practical and/or professional skills

By the end of the degree, you will have developed and demonstrated:

  • degree-level skills of reading, note-taking and writing
  • the ability to synthesise large amounts of information
  • the ability to think critically, weighing arguments against one another and coming to a conclusion
  • the confidence to work as an independent learner and to present ideas in different contexts.

Key skills

When you complete your studies for this degree, you will be able to:

  • employ appropriate methods and critical or descriptive tools to analyse cultural artefacts from the past and present
  • construct a well-substantiated argument from conflicting sources and come to a conclusion of your own
  • communicate a complex argument effectively in written form, using appropriate referencing conventions and scholarly apparatus
  • select and use appropriate ICT tools to further your learning (including online resources and online tutorial activities)
  • display graduate level skills in information literacy, specifically, the ability to find and evaluate competing sources of information for study purposes
  • use ICT to enhance presentation and writing skills
  • find, critically evaluate and use online information or data accurately in complex contexts
  • as an independent and reflective learner, plan, monitor and evaluate your own learning and seek ways to improve your performance.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

You will acquire your knowledge and understanding through a mix of published distance-learning materials, study guides, a range of multimedia material (including Library resources), online tuition and tutorials, working on primary and secondary sources, and feedback on your assignments. The assessment of your knowledge and understanding will be through a mix of essay questions, short-answer questions and formal examinations. In some instances, particularly at OU level 3, you may also be assessed through extended assignments, allowing you to develop your skills in independent study. The precise nature of this mix will depend on your choice of modules. As you progress through the degree you will find that you are cumulatively increasing your level of knowledge and understanding and you can expect a significant portion of your progress to be assessed at OU level 3.

Cognitive skills are taught cumulatively and in ways that will vary according to which modules you choose to study. They will include the use of written materials, in-text questions, audio, visual and/or interactive material, carefully monitored feedback on assignments, as well as virtual tutorials and conferencing. The essay is a principal form of assessment, though you may also work on short-answer questions and a range of reflective assignments.

You will be responsible for choosing your own pathway through the degree, but support is available: you will have a designated tutor for each module; access to learner support staff who can give you information, advice and guidance on your programme; and you can also refer to a range of online information resources.

The teaching, learning and assessment of your key skills are also specific to the specialisms, and you should check the subject-specific specialism specifications. In many cases they are indirectly assessed within the programme.