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Access, Open and Cross-curricular Innovation

 The majority of curriculum owned by Access, Open and Cross-curricular Innovation ​(AOCcI) is interdisciplinary, ranging from Level 0 (Access) through to undergraduate (Open) and also postgraduate (Open) which supports around one-fifth of the University's student population.

Access modules (Y/YXFT)

Our Access modules offer an ideal starting point for those new to higher education study. They are designed to build new learners’ confidence and equip them with all the necessary study skills to progress successfully towards a qualification.

Access modules are available to students living in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or those who have a British Forces Post Office (BFPO) address.

Students who are on low incomes and have no previous experience of studying at The Open University can apply for a free place on one of our Access modules.

Details of our Access modules, which present in October, February and May, can be found at Access Courses | Preparing for Study | Open University.

Each module provides activities and assignments. The modules also offer an opportunity for students to assess their readiness for higher-level study and, if they complete a module successfully, students gain 30 credits at undergraduate Level 0 – so this is an additional preparatory stage to their qualification.

There are no face-to-face tutorials for Access modules; personal tutors provide proactive one-to-one support by telephone and feedback on 4 summative assignments. For students in prison, tuition is mainly provided by correspondence, although phone calls may be permitted, depending upon the institution. Tutors are responsible for agreeing an individual learning plan with each of their students. Tutors provide written feedback and developmental guidance on students’ work.

On all Access modules, students complete assignments based on the academic content and issues explored in the module book for Block 1, the online Blocks 2 and 3, and on study skills activities such as study planning and reflecting on personal progress.

Students can study Access either as a stand-alone module or as an additional preparatory stage of a qualification.

Open Programme (Qualifications and YXM modules)

The Open Programme remains the OU’s largest area of curriculum in terms of student numbers and module choice, enabling students to construct personalised qualifications from a wide range of modules across all faculties of the OU, and resulting in a flexible study path which focuses on personal interests and/or career-related skills. Since 1969, the Open Programme has evolved from a single ‘General BA’ (as the Open degree was originally known) into a full programme of curriculum which can be viewed at What is an Open Qualification | Open University

In October 2017, the Open Programme introduced its first open-specific module, Making your learning count (YXM130); and then in February 2021, launched its second module Advance your independent learning (YXM830). These modules use innovative pedagogy to enable students to draw on informal learning and translate this into formal learning using assessment for learning and patchwork assessment principles.

Making your learning count (YXM130) is an OU 30 credit level 1/undergraduate level 4 module.  Students can count previous or current study from the OU’s free learning website, OpenLearn, or other specified open educational resources (such as FutureLearn, Coursera, etc.) and other learning.  Through a series of topics and assessment tasks, students explore what they have learned in these OERs whilst developing the skills they need to be a successful student. The blend of subjects they choose is up to them, making this learning experience an entirely personal one. Tutors help students plan their study and identify what they are hoping to achieve through this module and their future study plans with one-to-one tutorial support. The module helps students explore what happens when they bring different knowledge, skills and learning experiences together. Students are assessed through 1 Tutor marked assignment (summative), 5 (formative) assessment tasks and 1 End of Module (summative) Assessment. The dates for the formative assessment are flexible and agreed between the tutor and the student.

Advance your independent learning (YXM830) is a 30-credit post-graduate module which follows an innovative, flexible design that allows students to explore in depth a topic of their choice. It allows them to focus on a problem from a personal or professional context, or simply deepen their understanding of an issue that interests them. The problem can be from any subject area and may require students to venture into other disciplines, expanding their field of knowledge. Tutors support students with defining their question or problem, and in planning what resources they need to access to understand it better. Through 3 assessed tasks and 1 end of module assessment students plan their learning and identify relevant resources to gain a better awareness of their chosen topic.

Both modules are presented in October.