Being an OU student
Being an OU student

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2 What’s in a module?

For each module you’ll have access to a range of resources specific to that module.

Exactly what resources you’ll get depends on what you’re studying. Different modules will have different ways of presenting the content depending on the subject area.

On most modules you’ll have the following.

A module website with a study planner

The OU has a standard format for module websites so as you move between modules, the structure of the module websites will feel familiar.

Central to your module website is the study planner showing you what to do when. It’s a good idea to keep up with this so you keep on track to complete your assignments on time and can discuss module content with your tutor and other students as you work through together.

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Figure 1 An example of a study planner

Physical materials

On some modules you’ll receive physical materials that are delivered to your door.

The physical materials can include books, DVDs, memory sticks and audio CDs.

If you have declared a disability to us and need to have your materials printed in a specific format, for example on coloured paper or with a comb binding, then you can contact your student support team (SST) to arrange this.

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Figure 2 Physical materials

A tutor

On most modules you’ll have a tutor – you heard from a tutor in Session 3. They will support you during the module, run face-to-face and/or online tutorials, look after your tutor group’s forum and provide you with feedback on your assignments. They are your first point of contact for anything to do with the module content.

Described image
Figure 3 A tutor

A tutor group

You’ll normally be part of a group of students (typically 15 to 25 students) supported by the same tutor. Interaction with your tutor group varies depending on the module, but you usually have a tutor group forum where you can discuss ideas online. You may also meet and work with members of your tutor group and other tutor groups at tutorials – either face to face or online.


On many modules you will have the opportunity to attend tutorials. These are study sessions to support your learning and are led by one or more tutors. You may have the option to attend face-to-face tutorials at venues local to you, and there will usually be options to attend online versions as well. You’ll look at tutorials on more detail in the next section.

Some modules also have day schools, which are longer tutorials.


These are online discussion areas where you can interact with other students. They are moderated by OU staff. The forums could be specific to your tutor group, include students from several different tutor groups or could be module wide. You’ll find these on your module website. You will also find additional wider forums for students studying your subject or qualification on your Study website. On most modules participation in the forums is optional but sometimes there are activities where participation counts towards an assignment. You’ll be clearly told if this is the case.


You’ll need to complete assessments as part of your module. Assessments at the OU come in a variety of formats, the most common being tutor-marked assignments (which we call TMAs) and some modules also have a final piece of work – either a longer assignment or an exam. There is more information about different types of assessment later in this session.

If you’re on the move a lot or want to work offline then there is an option to help you with this – the OU Anywhere app.

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