Teaching, learning and assessment methods
Knowledge and understanding are acquired at all levels through published distance-learning materials, including specially written study materials, study guides, assignments and project guides; through a range of multimedia material; through specified work using computer software; through work on original texts; and through feedback on assignments.
At OU level 2, you will be taught a variety of theories, skills and methods in economics and introductory statistics, which are necessary for studying successfully at OU level 3, where you will learn about economic theories, methods and techniques more in depth, and will learn more data analysis techniques.
In both modules, you will receive support and feedback from your tutor and you will collaborate with other students. The University operates a blended tuition policy across all undergraduate qualifications, with the number of tuition hours being higher at Stage 2 and declining at Stage 3 as you become more independent. Feedback on assessment is used to provide personalised support during your studies. You will also be able to receive support through online forums and other channels.
Since this qualification starts at OU level 2, there are assumptions about your basic abilities in reading and writing and basic numeracy skills, although tutor feedback on these skills continues to be important. However, the material from which you work becomes increasingly complex and diverse, and more sophisticated skills of interpretation, selection and synthesis are required.
Application of number
You are expected to have basic numeracy skills but not any data analysis skills. The numeracy and data analysis skills will be progressively taught and assessed at OU levels 2 and 3 since economics involves some emphasis on application of number.
You are introduced to issues related to information technology in a range of modules at both levels. Work involving information technology is compulsory in both modules.
Learning how to learn
Because OU students are part-time and studying at a distance, there is strong emphasis on helping you to develop as an independent learner. You will be helped to develop basic skills (e.g. time planning, using feedback and support), and there will be increasing emphasis on reflection and learning from feedback. Most of this is not assessed directly but will be demonstrated by an increasing ability to study autonomously.
Problem-solving skills are developed by example, discussion and experience, in all teaching materials, and are assessed in both modules.
The strategy for assessment and feedback includes a mix of assessment methods throughout the qualification. Assessment at all levels is usually via tutor-marked assignments (TMAs), interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs), end-of-module assessments and examinations. The range of techniques covered by these assignments is broad, often including essay questions, as well as more technical exercises and projects. At OU level 3, you will be taught the research skills necessary to carry out your own research project in economics.