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Student and tutor module reviews

Cell biology

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  • Points: 30
  • Code: S294
  • Level: 2
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Student reviews

Before beginning this module, take note that is it incredibly detailed and it's not at all like OU level modules. Around 80% of the content was brand new and most is only ever mentioned once. A lot of the information is quite complicated and it took me a while to get my head around some of the ideas.

Anyone electing to take this module needs to ensure they begin revising from week 1. If the uni is still opening up the course material prior to the official start date, take that opportunity to get a head start. I often found myself rushing and having to reread to take things in.

That said, it is a very useful topic to have under your belt. There appears to be a lot of work in cell biology and a lot of roles involving multicellular organisms depends on a good understanding of cellular biology.

Course starting: October 2019

Review posted: August 2020

I really enjoyed this module, the tutor support was brilliant, it was brilliant having books - so much easier! The module was very interesting, the exam wasn't too different from the SEP and the downloadable ones, having one tutor-marked assignment as part of the score made it so much better!

Course starting: October 2017

Review posted: June 2019

By far the most difficult of all the science modules I studied at level 2 and not nearly as engaging as SK277 in my opinion.

Despite the large work load I managed to do this course along side another 30 credit course and get a good grade - although it was pretty stressful at times!

Unless you have a strong biology background I recommend making this course your last at level 2, so that you do not feel too out of your depth.

However, on the plus side, this course is an excellent (and in my mind) essential preparation for level 3 biology. I recently completed SK320 and the difficult nature of S294 course made the step up to level 3 seem relatively small.

Course starting: October 2014

Review posted: July 2016

Not an easy 30 credits or first module to study but an enjoyable course.

The pace was fast and there was a great deal of information to learn and a lot of reading to do - many frustrating nights were spent not quite understanding some trickier elements but I had a few 'penny drop' moments which were motivating.

I scored well in the TMAs but they sadly didn't count anything towards the overall module result. The exam was tough and I do feel that it was more a test of memory than understanding. I think I could have chosen easier modules for my first study experience with the OU but I did enjoy it and it would have perhaps been a smoother transition from stage 1 modules. I started stage 2 after being awarded credit transfer from a course I started 10 years ago so I made it harder on myself! I am now awaiting results from my module this year with my fingers crossed.

Sally Maxine Hinks

Course starting: October 2014

Review posted: June 2016

A very interesting and engaging course that is well worth studying. There is however an incredible amount of information to take in, and getting ahead of schedule is a must. The exam is tough but a fair test of subject knowledge. I would recommend this course to anyone that is interested in biology, not an easy 30 credits but a rewarding one.

John Messer

Course starting: October 2013

Review posted: August 2014

I enjoyed this module, although the detail is dense. I think I learnt a lot of relevant information that will assist me in future studies.

Be warned though, the module result is entirely based on your exam score. Your TMA results mean nothing, not even if your exam score puts you on a grade boundary.

A worthwhile module to study, but not an easy 30 credits.

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: December 2013

I enjoyed this course, and learned many worthwhile things. It is good because it shows the connections between physics, chemistry and biology, giving you a more complete understanding of the subject.

The books are well written and being non-electronic helps me make notes/mark important bits. Protein structure is well explained through interactive diagrams.

The videos of dynamic processes are very helpful as the animations make things clearer, although these resources should be available after completing the course (i.e. on youtube or equivalent).

There is a bit too much emphasis on mammal cell biology, presumably this is more helpful for medical students, but it would be more balanced if there was more on plant and fungi cells. This is a problem because some of the material was far too detailed in regard to different types of proteins, etc. with the examples given, and were very hard to remember. It would be better if the general principles were covered in the books and then one was given options for examples that they could investigate, looking more at particular kingdoms, phyla, etc. (i.e. signalling in plants, animals or fungi, etc.). It's also not made clear what career opportunities there are stemming from this module.

The TMAs are delivered via the website, which was not very user friendly. The PDF style document would be better as it is easier to print out and consider.

None of this module was delivered face to face, which can be disheartening and disengaging because there is little social contact on this module. This module is far more isolating because of this; it felt like "distant" learning rather than "distance" learning. There are Elluminate sessions but you can't ask questions at the end or in the break like at a real tutorial. It is difficult to revise with someone else studying the course, because you have no idea who anyone is.

Please note - it isn't clear from the module description, but from the course presentation I completed (Oct 2012), whilst one needs to pass the TMAs (i.e. obtain 40% or more grade) the overall grade is determined only by the exam result, so if you are concerned about getting high marks then you might struggle if you are not good at exams, and getting above 40% in TMAs won't get a higher overall grade.

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: September 2013

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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