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Certificate of Higher Education in Arts and Humanities - Learning outcomes

Educational aims

This is an introductory programme covering a wide range of subject areas in the arts and humanities which will provide you with:

  • an introduction to studying the arts and humanities
  • an introduction to the approaches of different subject areas, such as art history, classical studies, creative writing, English literature, history, modern languages, music, philosophy and religious studies
  • the development  of skills of analysis, argument and expression in the arts and humanities
  • the ability to communicate ideas clearly, including writing well-argued essays and using feedback to reflect constructively on your learning
  • an awareness of the transferable skills you have gained in the process of studying the arts and humanities and the confidence to move on to OU level 2.

Learning outcomes

This certificate provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills, and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this certificate, you will be able to:

  • draw on your study of different subject areas in order to understand texts, objects, languages, cultures and histories
  • understand and use key terms, concepts and approaches from different subject areas (such as art history, classical studies, creative writing, English literature, history, modern languages, music, philosophy and religious studies).

Cognitive skills

On completion of this certificate you will be able to:

  • engage critically with familiar and unfamiliar points of view
  • draw appropriate conclusions based on different kinds of evidence and argument
  • take an evaluative approach to your study and writing.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this certificate, you will have developed and demonstrated:

  • certificate-level skills of reading, note-taking and writing
  • the confidence to work as an independent learner and an awareness of your own transferable skills.

Key skills

On completion of this certificate, you will be able to:

  • communicate ideas clearly, appropriate to your subject, purpose and audience
  • follow good academic practices, for example by using appropriate referencing
  • select and use online tools to further your learning in different subject areas.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

Your learning will be through exposure to and discussion of texts, reproductions of works of art (including works of music), and reproductions of different sorts of historical evidence. The study materials may be in a variety of media, but will incorporate questions to encourage you to interact with the topics under discussion, practise argument and establish your understanding of the material. Additionally, there will be opportunities for discussion with your tutor and fellow-students (face to face, online or via telephone), to help you to test out approaches to the various kinds of subject matter.

Your knowledge and understanding will be assessed principally through tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) that require written work ranging from short pieces of analysis to full-length essays. For some optional modules there may also be an examination.

The teaching and learning of cognitive skills in the humanities is closely integrated with the teaching of subject matter. There are opportunities to practise your acquisition of cognitive skills as you work through the study materials, with their embedded questions, and through your assessed work. Written assignments provide numerous opportunities to test out and refine your cognitive skills, and tutors, in their feedback on assignments, have a key role to play in fostering this kind of learning.

The key skills in learning how to learn and communication are, again, integral parts of the teaching and assessment in humanities modules. Study materials include guidance on the use of appropriate academic conventions, and you can practise these in written assignments, with feedback from your tutor to help you to consolidate good scholarly habits.

The use of reflection as a tool for learning is built into the assessment pattern of the compulsory module, and the Virtual Learning Environment provides opportunity for formative assessment that reinforces various kinds of learning, including familiarisation with ICT.

Guidance on the acquisition of these skills is cumulative, and personalised support and feedback from tutors and other OU staff will enhance learning in these areas. Organisational skills are not explicitly tested, but, like the presentational skills, lie behind successful completion of assessment tasks throughout the modules constituting this certificate.