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Student and tutor module reviews

Signals and perception: the science of the senses

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  • Points: 30
  • Code: SD329
  • Level: 3
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Student reviews

I loved every bit of this module. The first two blocks introduced the nervous system in general and subsequent blocks covered each of the senses in turn. There is a lot of science (biology, chemistry and physics are all covered here) and a huge amount of detail to learn however the online support and guidance through the tutorials and forums was the best I've ever had with the OU. Throughout the module the tutors steered us towards considering the senses in terms of the overall themes of the module, comparing and contrasting how the senses worked and the key components and pathways of each sense.
I cannot praise this module or the teaching staff highly enough - if human science/health is your thing, this module is amazing.

Sally Green

Course starting: October 2019

Review posted: July 2020

The level of detail and complexity in this module was quite unexpected. As much as I anticipated in depth content on anatomy and physiology, I did not expect the neuro-science, which was part of the module materials and also included within the research papers that students were directed to read. Some content of the research papers does not make comfortable reading.
It was a bonus getting printed materials, that were also available online, as I like to make annotations alongside the text.
There were some very interesting video presentations and fact files that accompanied the module materials. I found that my tutor was very thorough in criticism and feedback on the tutor-marked assignments, which were helpful in reinforcing the learning.
There is a lot of material, far too much to re-read prior to the exam. This is a well structured and interesting module.

Daniel Hignett

Course starting: October 2018

Review posted: April 2020

Faculty response

Please note that this module no longer uses an examination as a method of assessment. This module is assessed through a series of assignments and an end-of-module assessment.

This module is assessed entirely on the exam so perhaps that is something to consider. Although the TMAs do not count towards the overall module grade, they are excellent preparation for the exam as the format is very similar; short answer questions, an essay and a research component. I really enjoyed studying this module although I found it challenging at times.

I didn't envisage that each sensory system would be covered in so much depth and detail. I found transduction of sensory signals to be fascinating and the cross-modality that exists between systems was an eye opener for me. Impairment is a prominent theme for many sensory systems.

The exam requires huge preparation due to the breadth and depth of knowledge required. I found S294 (Cell Biology) to be pretty good preparation for SD329 although I'm sure that students with a Chemistry or Physics background would be equally well prepared. I would definitely recommend studying!

Charlotte Golshetti

Course starting: October 2014

Review posted: September 2015

A tough but very enjoyable course. This was my first level 3 module after completing a credit transfer from a degree in a completely unrelated subject (so if you haven't done a science module before, it is possible to do this if you have an interest and a good understanding already in this area so long as you put in the effort and apply yourself).

I found that there was an awful lot of information provided with this course and it is extremely interesting but very challenging. Tutorials were online, which worked very much in my favour.

The downside to this course was that the TMAs didn't count towards the final grade, it was based purely on the exam (I did extremely well in the TMAs but not as well as I would have liked in the final exam).

Course starting: October 2013

Review posted: March 2015

A very detailed fascinating course that was very difficult to revise for. I felt completely overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of information I was expected to learn. More guidance on which areas are most relevant in the final exam would be useful.

Course starting: October 2013

Review posted: December 2014

A super course; utterly fascinating. I threw myself in at the deep end by transferring credits from my nursing qualifications in order to start at OU level 3. This is probably not wise as it was hard going after many years of not studying! The module team are fabulous and if you ask for help you will receive it.

I failed the exam initially, but my advice is never give up as I passed on the resit with the help and guidance from my fabulous tutor. Even failing was good experience as reflecting and learning new methods of revision has helped me to move forward and take my new skills with me.

Good luck to you and stick with it, the knowledge is astounding!

Dawn Horan

Course starting: October 2013

Review posted: December 2014

The course systematically goes through the different senses - the stimuli that lead to a sensory response, the receptors, the pathways to the brain, the different brain regions involved and similarities and differences between different sensory systems. Material is covered in considerable detail. I was mainly interested in the biological ideas, so the relatively large amount of physics (e.g. sound waves and light waves) and chemistry was less interesting to me.

There is a huge amount of material to learn on the course and as the final grade is entirely down to the end-of-course examination (the three TMAs only provide a "threshold" for entering the examination), students need to revise the whole of the course material for a single examination assessment. The difficulty of this should not be underestimated - good revision and examination skills are certainly required for success.

John Rogers

Course starting: October 2013

Review posted: August 2014

I loved this module. It is probably my favourite of all the ones I've completed en-route to my BSc(Hons) in Natural Sciences. I did SD226 and S294 beforehand to ensure I had the right background and was glad that I did, they were good preparation.

The material is diverse, which I enjoy. There's physics in understanding the auditory system; and chemistry in understanding the gustatory and olfactory systems. There's a little bit of health systems in the pain/somatosensation section.

It has books which are well written. the course team were great and very fast at responding to messages on the forum. The TMAs were tough but that helps to ensure you keep your standards high. They were formative though, so they didn't count towards the final grade, which is entirely exam based.

There is a lot of information. It would be a good idea to keep an electronic template and fill it in for each sensory system as you go so you can compare across them at the end. Part 1 of the exam asks questions from every area of the module so you need a good grasp of all the basics.

I worked hard because I loved the material and was rewarded with a distinction. I would recommend this module to anyone who has enjoyed SD226, S294 or SK277.

Course starting: October 2013

Review posted: August 2014

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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