The Open University in Scotland

Module - S111 - Questions in Science

S111 Questions in Science is a 60 credit module that is an entry to sciences degree within the Open University. Key to creating a sense of belonging within this module is the creation of tutor groups of around 20 students which are the main focus of the teaching. Synchronous interactive tutorials held throughout the duration of the module also help to cement relationships between staff and students as the module progresses.

Contributor: Dr Linda Thomson

1. About this programme/module

Questions in Science is a 60 credit undergraduate module (SCQF level 7) that is the entry point to the BSc Natural Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Environmental Science, Physics and Astronomy and Planetary Science) and a degree in Mathematics and Physics. As a 60 credit module, this equates to half a year of full time study. However, many of the OU’s students choose to study part time, so often the module is the only one that students will take during a full year of study. It is expected that students will study for 16-20 hours per week. 

The cohort is large; around 2400 students every year, split between two start dates. Entry to the Open University is ‘open’ in the fullest sense so students come from a variety of educational backgrounds, and may not have any science Highers. Prior to enrolment, students are encouraged to take “Are you ready for…?” quizzes to ensure they are entering at the right level, but there are no prerequisite qualifications. As a result the cohort is extremely diverse ranging from people with no Highers to those already holding undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.  

Given the size of the cohort, students are divided into geographical clusters (e.g. Scotland, North of England), and within clusters into tutor groups of approximately 20 people. Each tutor group is allocated a tutor who is the students’ key contact for the module.  Tutors are supported by an academic team and a student support team.