England.  Change location

Accessibility Statement for Astronomy (S284)

Mode of study

Most of this module’s study materials are online. Printable alternatives (pdf, Word) to some online content are provided. Note that videos, and the interactivity in diagrams and animations will be lost in this process, but some static diagrams are provided with figure descriptions. If you require alternative formats to online materials you must tell us as soon as possible to discuss the options available.

A single extended summaries booklet is provided to all students in print format (a pdf alternative is available).

Tuition strategy

The videos, examples, exercises and questions embedded in the online materials are a key part of the self-directed tuition in this module. This module also provides online tutorials, designed as drop-in sessions at which you can ask module-related questions of a module tutor, via speech or text. Tutorials must be attended live, as they will not be recorded, but they will each be offered at three separate times to facilitate your attendance. Attendance at these sessions is strongly recommended, and has been included in your directed study time for this module. Forum-based support will also be provided, as well as individual support from your S284 tutor.

S284 includes a “bootcamp” to revise maths physics and study skills, for the two weeks immediately prior to the start of S284 in October. If you are worried about your background skills, or need to refresh them, S284 bootcamp is open to all students to help in preparing for S284.

Working with others

You will not be required to work collaboratively with others on this module.

Practical work

Each topic includes at least one online activity, in which you will be required to collect and analyse simple data, often of a numerical or visual nature. You will also use third‑party websites and interactive software (both third-party and OU‑produced) as part of these learning activities, some of which may be assessed. If you are unable to undertake any of the essential activities we will, on request, provide alternative ways to enable you to take part and meet the required learning outcomes. Note that you may not experience the fully-enriched opportunities to work with professional astronomy software and data that is available to your peers.

Mathematical and scientific expressions and notations

Mathematical and scientific symbols and expressions are used throughout the module and you will be required to use such notation within assessment. Handwritten answers are not permitted. We recommend MathType (provided with Office 365).

Diagrams and other visual content

Astronomy is a highly visual science and the study materials contain a considerable number of diagrams, graphs, photographs, videos animations and interactive figures. Reading, watching, interpreting, and manipulating these elements is an important part of the study of this module and these skills are often assessed. Figure descriptions are provided for most figures. Where necessary, alternatives for animations and interactive examples will also be provided.

Finding information

You may be required to search for, and make use of, third party material online and this is assessed. Alternatives for required/assessed research material will be provided where necessary to enable you to meet the learning outcomes of the module. Please refer to the Accessibility Guide (available on request) for further specific details.


This module has 6 TMAs that must be submitted electronically in Word via the online electronic TMA submission system, and an online exam. The exam is taken in two parts, one in January (study week 14) and one in May (week 31). Each part must be taken in the specified assessment week, at a time of your choice, in your own place of study, using your own computer.


Your tutor will mark your TMA and return it to you with feedback – it’s really important (almost more important than the mark) to read this feedback as it will help you in subsequent TMAs. In the first week of the course you’ll be asked to complete and submit a TMA00 – this “dummy” TMA does not carry a score, but will check your maths, physics and computing skills, as well as checking you can use the TMA submission system. Your tutor will not mark the TMA00 – but will return a model answer to you IF you submit TMA00 – and may occasionally give advice where you need additional self-study to put yourself in the best possible position to succeed with S284.


All University modules are structured according to a set timetable and you are expected to have good time management skills to keep your studies on track. You will be expected to study for a minimum of 10 hours a week; ~6 hours will be directed towards the module materials each week; you will spend the remainder taking notes, interacting with your tutor individually or in small groups, engaging with the S284 forum, and reflecting on your learning. The content will be delivered in short study-sessions but each topic will include one activity that will take one hour or more. The length of study sessions and activities in S284 is clearly indicated to help you with managing your study time.

« Back to Astronomy