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Diploma of Higher Education Open - Learning outcomes

Educational aims

Choosing from a wide range of rewarding and enjoyable modules you can design a Diploma of Higher Education to suit your personal and professional needs, interests and aspirations. This qualification aims to provide you with:

  • the flexibility to study modules in one or more subject(s)
  • the opportunity to develop your skills, knowledge and capabilities through study at OU level 1 and OU level 2
  • an appreciation of the development of knowledge and its application in your chosen subject(s)
  • an insight into personal goals, preferences and aptitudes
  • the skills to learn independently, organise information and communicate effectively, whether for academic study, employment, or your own personal goals
  • an ability to identify career/personal goals and study options and take steps to determine required qualifications and reflect on skills and experience.

Learning outcomes

A Diploma of Higher Education Open allows you to select modules from across the curriculum so that the learning outcomes of your diploma will depend on a combination of outcomes from the modules you have studied. These will be described retrospectively in an academic transcript. As a student gaining a Diploma of Higher Education Open, you will have the opportunity to develop and demonstrate generic outcomes, including knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas.

Knowledge and understanding

You will be able to demonstrate:
  • a broad and, where appropriate, comparative knowledge of at least one subject/discipline
  • a knowledge of one or more specialisms, some of which are at, or informed by, current thinking in one or more subject/discipline
  • a knowledge and critical understanding of the essential theories, principles and concepts of one or more subjects/disciplines and the way in which these have developed through the associated main methods of enquiry.

Cognitive skills

You will be able to demonstrate:
  • well developed skills for the gathering, evaluation and critical analysis of information, ideas, concepts and quantitative and/or qualitative data, drawing on a range of current sources
  • familiarity and competence in the appropriate choice and deployment of routine, subject-related materials, practices and skills, including a few that are more specialised, advanced and complex in accordance with the theories, concepts and principles of at least one subject/discipline
  • an ability to apply underlying concepts and principles outside the context in which they were first studied, including, where appropriate, the application of those principles in an employment context
  • an understanding of the limits of your knowledge and how this influences analyses and interpretations based on that knowledge
  • an ability to respond to issues, questions and problems by drawing on a range of subject-related approaches and ideas.

Practical and/or professional skills

You will be able to demonstrate:
  • an ability to develop career/personal plans, independently reflect on experience and review progress
  • an ability to plan, monitor and evaluate your own learning and performance, being aware of your own learning styles, strengths and needs, as required for studying one or more subject/discipline.

Key skills

You will be able to:
  • accurately and effectively communicate information, arguments and ideas in a range of contexts, using the main specialist concepts, constructs and techniques relevant to at least one subject/discipline
  • confidently use a range of digital practices (including tools and resources) to find, use, create and share data, information and knowledge in one or more subject/discipline
  • comprehend and produce written and spoken texts in subject-appropriate language for a range of academic purposes that are core to the relevant subject/discipline, demonstrating the capacity to adapt language and literacy to the expectations, practices and needs of different academic and professional audiences.

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, online tutorials, online tuition and feedback on your assignments. Some modules also include online day schools, or virtual/face-to-face field schools. The precise nature of this mix will depend on your choice of modules.

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 study materials, in-text questions, audio, visual and/or interactive material, carefully monitored feedback on assignments, as well as online tutorials and online forums.

The teaching, learning and assessment of key skills are also specific to the subjects you choose to include as part of your Diploma of Higher Education and in many modules are likely to be assessed indirectly.

Tutors will continuously assess your knowledge, understanding and skills using tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) and, on some modules, using computer-marked assignments (CMAs). Tutors mark your TMAs using marking guides produced by the relevant module teams, and give you written feedback on your performance. For the majority of modules, final assessment is via either an examination or end-of-module assessment (EMA).