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Student and tutor module reviews

Making social worlds

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  • Points: 60
  • Code: DD308
  • Level: 3
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Student reviews

I enjoyed this course more than I expected to. The theories and concepts dealt with are definitely a step up from level 2 and at times I felt like I was never going to grasp them (still not 100% on actor network theory!) but I got good marks through out the course.

I liked the structure of DD308 and really enjoyed the blog TMA even though I was dreading it at the start. I liked how the TMAs set up the EMA as it meant I felt more confident when starting it.

This module is great for anyone with an interest in sociology and I feel it has enhanced my outlook and understanding of society. I've found myself discussing some of the points that were covered in the pub over drinks!

Course starting: October 2015

Review posted: November 2016

I loved this module! If you have some prior knowledge and a keen interest in Sociology then you will find this a very interesting course. It looks at the nuts and bolts of social worlds, examining how they are made possible with a real depth and clarity. Each TMA is well spaced and follows on from each of the three books studied - Security, Attachment and Conduct.

The EMA gives you a chance to do independent research and consolidates your learning, which is a little scary at first but exciting at the same time and very rewarding as you will have something unique!

The forums were a great source of advice too although I did not get the chance to thank the module team, moderators and tutors for all their fantastic advice and support before it a huge thanks to all of you!

Sandra Mitchell

Course starting: October 2015

Review posted: September 2016

This was the last module for my BSc honours. Overall I found it very enjoyable and I got my best ever mark. I found Working on the EMA quite exhilarating as I was able to explore a subject that I was very interested in using the courses sociological themes. I would recommend DD308 to anybody who enjoys looking at a subject from many different viewpoints.

Cecilia Wheeler

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: December 2013

I found this an excellent course, which really challenged my taken-for-granted views of how society is made up. Like the best OU courses, it presents a whole range of arguments and theories for consideration, and on my presentation, students generally ended up 'siding' with one or another by the end of the course.

I really liked the organisation of the course around three perspectives and three strands - it helped with note-taking in particular, and, like with all good courses, they all came together at the end of the module.

Sociology is at its core, but there are plenty of links to the other Social Science disciplines too. For instance, if you're interested in the nature of the self in social worlds, there's a big crossover with psychology and philosophy in those discussions. A major thread is Actor-Network Theory, which links to Science and Technology Studies, but this is just one amongst several big ideas. I ended up concentrating on this for my EMA, but if it's not your thing, there is plenty else to write about!

The EMA predictably looked a bit scary months before the submission date, but by the time we got there, it was very fair and manageable. All in all, a very rewarding experience, and my favourite course so far.

Richard West-Soley

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: September 2013

This was my final module for my Honours degree in Social Science. I came to it after studying applied linguistics at levels 2 and 3, which I loved and were my absolute favourites. This may have coloured my response to DD308.

Having studied DD201 (sociology) for level 2, I was expecting this one to follow on nicely. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. DD201 had plenty of content to get my teeth into, but this one didn't. I thought the material was surprisingly thin.

The two 'skills-based' TMAs seemed a strange choice for level 3, and were a distraction for me. I found the first block (DVD-based) quite interesting, but the 3 books seemed to touch on theories and theorists without really getting stuck in. When it came to the EMA, I went out on a limb - out of frustration maybe, then got my lowest mark of the module for my pains. Thankfully it didn't affect my overall degree grade.

Pam Keal

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: September 2013

Faculty response

Students planning to study DD308 from October 2014 may want to note that the module will have been redesigned. The DVD referred to in this review is now online and the assessment strategy will have been rewritten.

I really enjoyed 'Making social worlds' which enthused me to read beyond the course materials. There was plenty of lively discussions throughout the nine months on the forums - the other students prompted me to enquire more.

The module has prompted me to look into Masters level sociological studies. I'm gutted I discovered sociology so late in my degree but glad I did.

The tutor support was good through essay feedback and tutorials; I will look at comments when considering post-grad work. The course chair gave tonnes of their time, enthusiasm and support.

I enjoyed the varied essays which increased in their complexity as the module went on. The examinable essay was a joy though testing at times. I thought the skills TMAs were pitched right and were transferable to later essays.

I have a real passion for sociology since doing this. A positive study experience and an excellent module.

Mark Anthony Smith

Course starting: October 2011

Review posted: August 2012

Overall I would recommend this course, and to be honest, the workload including the reading and TMA work for me at least was less than for the Level 2 course I did last year. As with any social science material, there was a lot of 'opinion' as well as tried and tested theory, but it all related to current and relevant topics which made it interesting.

I was expecting to have to do lots more external research to bring into the TMAs but this really only came in for TMA06 and in the ECA. I would suggest that you do start to think about external sources though, as you go along, as this will make the final month less of a learning curve! I did like the ECA rather than an exam, as I felt it actually brought the course material together really well.

I had a good tutor too, with really helpful notes sent out after the tutorials which brought more clarity to some of the more difficult concepts. A good course to round off my degree studies, just had my award ceremony, so I have made my own Social World now as a graduate!

Gillian Taylor

Course starting: October 2010

Review posted: October 2011

I've thought a long time now about what I can or should write about this course. I also reread my old assignments - I wanted to confirm what I am thinking, because in retrospective one tends to change opinion. Still, all that I can think still is: Boy, that course is a really easy option! There is, of course, nothing wrong with things being easy. It still feels strange that I do think I had Level 2 courses which were more challenging (and more interesting); and I did sweat blood over my other Level 3 course DD307 Social Psychology.

DD308 concludes my OU education and my BA. I achieved a very high mark here, which lead to a very good degree. Of course that is great, but having ended with DD308 feels a bit like shrugging and thinking: 'That was that?? Really??'. In particular, the two already mentioned assignments about presentation and referencing would suit a Level 1 course, but it really feels out of place at Level 3.

Furthermore, at Level 3 I think it should go without saying that students search for and use outside materials. Instead here you find one TMA (the last) where that is expected and I was told by my tutor at the start of the module, that outside materials could be used after discussion. For my part, I did use outside materials, but it feels strange that this is not simple expected at Level 3.

The course content is not uninteresting, but again, I have done Level 2 courses with more challenging and mouthwatering content (you just have to look at DD201, for example).

Well, if you are searching for a really easy option for a social sciences degree - that is your course.

Kerstin Tomiak

Course starting: October 2010

Review posted: August 2011

This was a wonderful module, hard work but worthwhile. Like many others, I had a difficulty making the iDVD work properly in the opening block, but eventually got it sorted and was able to make full use of this resource.

I didn't have problems engaging with the books, so long as I double-checked a few words and terms. When I came across a couple of sections that confused me, the best policy for me was not to panic, but to carry on reading in the hope that all would all become clear later on - as indeed it did.

There were topics I didn't expect to enjoy (boxing, for example) but which proved to be extremely useful to illustrate some of the theory. Not too theory-laden, by the way, but plenty of very relevant contemporary issues to debate. The module seemed to get easier as it went along, or maybe I was slow in getting into gear. I was also more aware on this module than any other, of each block building on the previous one - cumulative knowledge and skills - so was encouraged by the feeling that I was making progress along the way.

Not everyone might share my enthusiasm, but I loved the two skills-based TMAs as a change from the usual essays, even though I thought the one which focused on correct use of Harvard referencing would have been more valuable in a Level 2 module, or even a Level 1. I managed to make every essay torture for myself - I'm a fast reader but a slow writer - but I wanted to get it 'right'. So much to say, so few words allowed, the TMAs really challenge one's skills of selecting the most relevant information.

The forum was lively and supportive, a huge help whenever we got 'stuck' or needed some moral support, as well as an opportunity to debate some issues around the course materials. I also benefitted from a tutor who seemed fired-up by the module and eager to go off at a tangent - this helped me apply the knowledge gained from DD308 to 'real life'.

I was motivated to do extra reading and research, and probably put in more hours than required. This, however, was reflected in my final result. Overall then, I would recommend this module to anyone who wants to get a better understanding of today's society, even though sociology can be exasperating because there are no clear answers, just more avenues to explore.

Rowena Mary Patricia Grant

Course starting: October 2010

Review posted: August 2011

There's a lot of interest in this, particularly in the attempt to develop a cohesive sociology that combines agency and structure. Although sometimes it felt a bit like we were once again trying to work out how many sociologies could dance on a pin. It seemed that the "mediation" concept was trying to do far too much work, and I would have been more comfortable if that had been explicitly split into 3 or more. Translation, use of the public media, official documentation.... while there are analogies I'm not convinced that one concept can cover everything it set out to.

The structure of the course is odd. TMAs 2, 4 & 6 each count for 20% of the coursework marks and are what you would probably expect in 1800 word TMA assignments - although the questions did seem on the tough side. TMA 1 is - as usual, something of an introduction; while TMAs 3 and 5: TMA 3 is a referencing exercise, and TMA 5 is a presentation. Both, of course, use sociological material, and the example for TMA 5 was a bit misleading in terms of quality. But compared to the 3 proper TMAs these don't feel anything like as substantial (and they are only 15% of the marks each) I would have rather had 6 normal TMAs - but maybe there isn't enough material to support that.

It seemed very different to DD201 (Level 2 sociology) which was my favourite OU course so far. Worth doing and educational.

Guinevere Susan Barnes

Course starting: October 2010

Review posted: August 2011

Overall i did enjoy this course. I liked the fact that not every monthly assessment was an essay because it meant that from time to time you could break away from all the reading!

I found some of the studies a bit too dense and technical, but my tutor was able to break them down better for me, and I also found that a lot of the material was very much just someones opinion rather than anything very factually based (but then again I guess a lot of Sociology is like that?).

My biggest advice is to read the introductions, afterword and conclusions as they sum-up everything in the books. Having gone from a course with 6 text books to one with 3 (each of which wasnt too bad in size) I found this much easier to handle.
I did find TMA 06 very challenging as all of a sudden we were expected to do our own resource finding and I felt there was a real lack of guidence- especially as the OU links we were given often took me to pages which were no longer available! and I didn't do very well in this piece.

However, given the fact that during the last 3 months of the course I spent 90% of my time visiting my best friend who was very very ill in hospital, whilst juggling a full-time job, I was still able to keep up with my work and gained an unexpected very high mark on my final piece. So if I can do it anyone can. Overall a good course for anyone wanting to study sociology. Just be prepared that some of the material can be a little boring!

Michelle Catterick

Course starting: October 2010

Review posted: August 2011

This is a fascinating module, not as huge a jump to Level 3 as Level 2 was, it stands you in good stead for future study. It is a worthwhile module. Everything is clearly explained, the project at the end was manageable too!

Helen May Ruef-Ali

Course starting: October 2009

Review posted: March 2011

This was my first course at level three and it has been both challenging and interesting. I got on fine with the DVD base of the course - although many on my presentation had difficulties, but I really did not find the skills TMA's particularly helpful.

The books on attachment and conduct were really stimulating and I thoroughly enjoyed both of them. There is a definite jump from level two to level three with this course, it is challenging, an awful lot of theory is involved but it is really current and worth having a go at.

This was the first time I had done an ECA and found it really clearly set out and I actually enjoyed it compared to sitting the exams of level two.

Course starting: October 2009

Review posted: August 2010

I really enjoyed this Level 3 sociology based course, it was a lot newer than some of the other courses I have undertaken and the material was current and interesting. The course also featured an 'interactive' section at the beginning which didn't work on my Mac but having got a computer to run it was innovative and different, it set the tone for what was to be an interesting course.

It was heavy on the theory and introduced me to some concepts I'd yet to come across and it's essential to get a good grasp of these new theories and key terms as you'll be using them a lot - plus this would serve its purpose in the final ECA.
I agree with the previous comments concerning the skills based TMAs (perhaps better suited to Level 2) however, I actually preferred the break from regular TMA writing and it was easier to pick up some extra marks although it was still a challenge!

I partly choose this course as it did not have a traditional exam but an ECA - it felt like a mini dissertation. As I knew I got better marks in TMAs rather than exams I thought I may fair better to try this format.

I would definitely recommend this course, not only for content, but presentation and format. I also had a great tutor and would recommend attending those where you can.
Good luck!

Course starting: October 2009

Review posted: August 2010

This course covered a variety of difficult topics which became clearer by the end of the course work enabling me to produce an end of course assessment which brought together many of the elements within the course itself. Although I found it challenging, I was pleased with my Pass 2 result and felt that I had learned a great deal about the subject in a year. I would recommend the course to others.

Madeleine Barbara Ashcroft

Course starting: February 2009

Review posted: January 2010

Please note

Each of the views expressed above is an individual's very particular response, largely unedited, and should be viewed with that in mind. Since modules are subject to regular updating, some of the issues identified may have already been addressed. In some instances the faculty may have provided a response to a comment. If you have a query about a particular module, please contact your Regional Centre.

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