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Diploma of Higher Education in Economics - Learning outcomes

Educational aims

This diploma aims to provide you with:

  • a good knowledge of core economic theories and techniques that will enable you to analyse some of the most compelling challenges facing us today, such as poverty, inequality, unemployment, ageing population, issues facing business, international trade, market power and competition
  • a set of transferrable skills that are valued by employers in many different industries
  • a basic grounding in analytical and statistical skills, the skills and knowledge to engage in economic debate, critically evaluate different economic points of view and their policy implications, and to assess different kinds of evidence and their usefulness in relation to economic theories

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this diploma, you will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • the key concepts, ideas, methods and theories from the discipline of economics from a pluralist perspective
  • a range of contemporary debates in economics, particularly as they apply to our understanding of the contemporary social world
  • how to apply economic concepts, ideas, methods and theories to analyse economic issues, to engage in economic debate, and to develop a capacity for critical reading of the specialist economic and business press and the results of economic research
  • the ideas and techniques of statistical data analysis and statistical modelling applied to a variety of topics with specific emphasis on economic data and issues

Cognitive skills

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

  • appropriately and critically use economic concepts, theories and evidence to construct economic arguments
  • analyse, compare and evaluate different theoretical approaches, understanding how different approaches work to highlight and explain different aspects of the economy and society
  • understand, evaluate and manipulate information presented through primary and secondary sources and statistical analysis, and use modern statistical software appropriately
  • integrate diagrammatic, mathematical, statistical and verbal analysis of economic issues

Practical and/or professional skills

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

  • apply economic theory and techniques to a variety of applied topics and practical problems
  • appraise, monitor and reflect constructively on your own personal progress, use skills to improve own learning and performance, including learning from feedback, and identify own strengths, weaknesses and preferences relating to work and other interests
  • plan workload and meet deadlines over an extended period of time under increasing levels of pressure
  • engage in collaborative activity with others
  • plan and review study pathway to link with personal and/or career goals

Key skills

On completion of this diploma, you will be able to demonstrate the following skills:

  • use and communicate economic ideas clearly and coherently, using appropriate technical and non-technical language, and using a form, structure and style that suits the purpose
  • select, interpret and synthesise information from a range of sources, including qualitative and quantitative data, and evaluate its significance
  • interpret economic and statistical data presented in tabular, chart and graphic form, and select appropriate data analysis tools and methods to analyse economic issues being aware of their limitations
  • search, process and prepare information using ICT applications, such as statistical software packages, websites, databases and interactive and multimedia applications, and integrate this information within established understandings, or show how it challenges them

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 and assignments; a range of multimedia material; specified work using computer software; self-assessment questions and exercises; email and online discussion forums; tutorials and revision sessions; and feedback from a tutor on assignments.

At OU level 1, you will be taught a variety of skills and methods in economics, personal finance, mathematics and statistics, which are necessary for studying successfully at OU level 2, where you will learn about core economic theories, methods and techniques more in depth, and will learn more data analysis techniques.

You will receive support and feedback from your tutor and in some modules you will collaborate with other students. The University operates a blended tuition policy across all undergraduate qualifications, with the number of tuition hours and the proportion of face-to-face tuition being considerably higher in the key introductory module and then gradually declining as students become more independent. Feedback on assessment is used throughout all modules to provide personalised support during your studies. You will also be able to receive support through online forums and other channels.

The strategy for assessment and feedback includes a mix of assessment methods throughout the qualification. Each module has its own assessment strategy, which usually include tutor-marked assignments (TMAs), computer-marked assignments (iCMAs), and either an end of course assignments or a formal examinations. The range of techniques covered by these assignments is broad, often including essay questions, as well as more technical exercises.