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Certificate in Physics - Learning outcomes

Educational aims

Through studying the two OU level 2 modules you will acquire a broad grounding in physics including classical mechanics, electric and gravitational fields and potentials, electromagnetism and relativity, waves, thermal physics, quantum physics and an introduction to its applications to solids, atoms and nuclei, as well as experience of conducting physics experiments in laboratories.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

The certificate will develop your knowledge and understanding of:

  • underlying concepts, principles and applications of physics, over a broad range across the subject
  • terms, conventions and units of measurement appropriate to physics
  • the language and the techniques of mathematics that are used in physics
  • appropriate methods of acquiring, interpreting and analysing scientific data and information in physics.

Cognitive skills

After completing the certificate you will be able to:

  • use and apply knowledge and understanding of essential facts, concepts, principles and theories relating to a broad range of physics
  • apply such scientific knowledge and understanding to address familiar and unfamiliar situations
  • use mathematical language and techniques, and mathematical and physical models, to understand phenomena and solve problems in physics
  • work with scientific data and information.

Practical and/or professional skills

After completing the certificate you will be able to:

  • conduct practical and investigative work in physics in a responsible and safe manner, including being aware of the need for risk assessment
  • use appropriate techniques to acquire, record and analyse data from experimental observations and measurements, and interpret and report results in terms of underlying theory, practical issues and relevant information from other sources
  • manage your own learning and time, and be able to learn independently so that you can continue your personal and professional development after graduation.

Key skills

After completing the certificate you will be able to:

  • locate and respond to information from a variety of sources (e.g. textual, numerical, graphical and computer-based)
  • use ICT for enhancing your own learning, for data analysis and (optional) for communicating scientific information with others
  • communicate scientific information accurately and effectively using written, visual and numerical forms, in a style that is appropriate for the purpose and audience
  • prepare, process, interpret and present data using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques
  • record and analyse data, both from practical and investigative work and from other sources, with appropriate attention to the accuracy, precision and uncertainty of the original and derived data
  • work collaboratively with others to explore aspects of science
  • improve your own learning and future performance by reflecting on past performance.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

Knowledge, understanding and application skills, as well as cognitive (thinking) skills are mainly acquired from text and supporting material delivered online. Practical skills and data collection and analysis are taught using online and remotely operated experiments. The skills to improve your own learning and performance are not taught explicitly, but are extensively practised. Self-testing is encouraged through in-text questions. Basic ICT skills are acquired through use of the website for communication and interactive teaching material.

Assessment is by tutor-marked assignments (TMAs), and end-of-module assessment and an end-of-module examination.