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Student and tutor module reviews

Earth science

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  • Points: 60
  • Code: S209
  • Level: 2
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Student reviews

I absolutely loved this module and got a lot from it.

There are weeks when it was harder going; either because some of the content was written in a dull way and trying to stay focused was a challenge, or because it was hard work with some of the concepts, but I kept working at it and I did get there with understanding. I didn't realise how much I struggled visualising until I had to see a 2D geological map in 3D form, it takes some work! This meant that I also found working out the timings of geological events on a 2D map tricky, but, there were lots of resources made available by tutors which was helpful.
There were 6 tutor-marked assignments (TMA's) and a final exam at the end. The TMA's were well laid out with questions which covered the learnt coursework.
The exam I was more disappointed with; There were a few questions which didn't feel like they explored my understanding of geology but were rather more of a learning exercise. I had also changed the way I revised because it was recommended to check against the learning outcomes, but I felt in the exam none of the learning outcomes were covered and if I had revised using my notes instead I would have fared better because my notes were more detailed.
Overall I found the module all very fascinating and it only reaffirmed in my mind that the Earth Sciences is the route I would like to focus on.

Now for the best part of the module - The optional residential school at Blencathra!
This was an amazing experience and really put everything learnt thus far from the module into reality. I suggest that you don't get distracted with the marvellous views and all the interesting rocks and draw and write everything down! Including photographs, note taking with drawings are essential so I would recommend that if you go, that you are prepared. I had to return after the week was over to one of the sites to gather more data as I had gaps in the information that I needed to complete for my TMA. The week I went, my group were blessed with amazing weather which is always a bonus when you are up the side of a mountain. I met some fantastic people on the trip and it was really interesting to hear our guides (Dave and Andrew) stories and pick at their knowledge. I also learnt a little about moss incidentally during the evenings nightcap!

I would highly recommend this course and my understanding of Earth Science was much improved afterwards. I only wish I could go back and do it all again. Therefore I give S209 the following scores;
The course material 8/10
Tutors 10/10
Tutorials 10/10
Residential trip 100/10 !

Anna West

Course starting: October 2018

Review posted: June 2020

Having only studied bits of Earth science the previous years in 'Questions in science' (S111) and 'Science: concepts and practice' (S112) I was worried about understanding the subject. My fears were unfounded though, the module was presented and laid out in a way that you are eased in to the subject. The first couple of topics give you the basic grounding and the rest follows on from there.

The tutors were very helpful and my group tutor was always on hand to help with anything I did not understand. We also had student buddies, students who completed the module the year before, answering questions and giving help on most things non academic. They were very useful.

There is a four day field trip, which you pay for, to Blencathra in the Lake District. I would definitely recommend going to this. Not only is it very interesting but you get to put into practice all that you have learned throughout the year and interact with your fellow students.

This is a very information heavy module so a well structured study calendar and time is needed. With the help of tutors, tutorials and a well taught module, I managed to pass the module quite comfortably. If you put in the work, you will enjoy this very interesting module.

John Robert Goodman

Course starting: October 2018

Review posted: August 2019

A very interesting course with a HUGE amount of reading, I am pleased I took it because the tutor was superb and it was fascinating with masses of information to take in, I particularly liked the first chapters on mineralogy and using the virtual microscope and the field trip would have been super if not for the rain. Geological mapping was also something I thoroughly enjoyed.

Saying that, I'm sorry to say it has put me off online modules as I personally found it extremely difficult to study from a computer in this manner. I considered deferring as many others did, but stuck it out and just passed. I feel I could have given the module a lot more than I did if only it was a traditional OU module, revision would have been easier and I wouldn't have had to deal with migraines. I believe to make the most out of this course you should study 4 hours a day 5 days a week at least, it's not necessarily difficult just very very time consuming.

Course starting: October 2014

Review posted: August 2015

S209 is an online module and this was its first presentation. The materials are excellent but the pace I found to be very challenging. It felt at the time like being bombarded with more and more information. You really do need to keep up. unfortunately, due to illness, I fell behind and was close to giving up but I'm glad that the student support services encouraged me to keep going. My tutor was wonderful, always supportive and encouraging. I used to be quite phobic about computers so was rather nervous about this module but the digital kit, the virtual microscope and the digital glossary were fantastic. The module itself is well presented with great photos and videos.

There are choices available for the project. I didn't choose to do the residential option for various reasons. I chose to do the project on weathering of gravestones. I had no idea that gravestones could be so fascinating. I really enjoyed the project and also found information about local history very interesting.

We also had a compulsory question on fracking in the exam and needed to prepare for this. At the start I knew nothing about fracking but I rapidly increased my knowledge. Fortunately we have a local annual science festival and I attended both the debates on fracking. This really helped me and I was able to achieve a grade 1 on this exam question. I was very anxious about the exam. It was my first science exam for 50 years and my first university exam in over 40 years but I passed.

Susan Angela Morris

Course starting: October 2014

Review posted: August 2015

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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