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Student and tutor module reviews

Science project course: science in society project

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  • Points: 30
  • Code: SXN390
  • Level: 3

Student reviews

Excellent course, well worth doing!

You should be advised that this is essentially a review of literature in the field of science in society. There is a theme within the module that picks up from the second level module S250:Communication; Risk; Ethics; and Decision making (CRED). You should familiarise yourself with CRED since it is a major component of SXN390.

This module will develop your analytical and synthesis skills such that you will be better prepared to undertake a research degree. You will come up with a project title and objectives, you will manage your project from start to finish with guidance from your tutor (you will have a similar relationship with your tutor as that of student/supervisor akin to a research degree). Your tutor will provide you with excellent support and will critically evaluate your work with the aim of developing your academic skills. You will finally present your work in the format of a scientific paper, which is part of the EMA.

In order to gain a top grade, you will need to ensure that you really do put the work in; this is a very time-demanding module that requires excellent time and project management skills. You will develop the skill of extracting information from key peer reviewed literature (and other sources) and develop the skill of scrutinising that literature looking for inconsistencies in data etc.

As you flow through your project, you will undertake a series of TMAs with the aim of developing skills within your chosen area of research that will, hopefully, provide you with a very well-polished EMA at the end. The TMAs build on each other and are not independent of the EMA; the EMA therefore is a culmination of all your developing effort built through the TMAs.

If you are serious about undertaking a research degree after your OU first degree, then I thoroughly recommend this module, since it will provide you with an insight into the activities of a research degree student. If you intend to complete your academic studies after this module, I still recommend SXN390 because it develops many transferrable skills that employers seek.

The module is unlike other modules; you truly become a 'research student' that does not have the same level of 'hand-holding' as you get from other 3rd level modules.

I loved this module and gained a distinction. This gave me a real sense of achievement and satisfaction and not to mention a great deal of confidence. It is possible to do well, if you are prepared to put the effort in!

Nigel Patrick Fox

Course starting: February 2014

Review posted: December 2014

I thoroughly enjoyed this module. I liked taking responsibility for my own work and producing an end product. The most difficult part was finding a topic with sufficient impact on society that had the required element of controversy.

There were many negative comments on the SX forums this year regarding the perceived hoops that we were made to jump through and many felt too much time was spent getting formatting of references correct, producing a project plan and log to the detriment of the actual research of their project. I can only say that I am used to working this way and it suited me and my methods, and an element of planning is necessary to drive the project forward.

A skills assessment was also part of the first TMA and it makes you take stock of what you can do and what areas require improvement. The project guide was extremely useful (one or two amendments were posted on the module page) and gave detailed directions of what was required.

I had an absolutely brilliant tutor who had endless patience, was fully supportive and whose comments were fully justified and completely constructive. We were made aware of when she was unavailable but queries were answered very promptly. I was very sad when I finished my project and submitted it as it was my last ever module. I can highly recommend doing a module like this.

Dawn Marion Reynolds

Course starting: February 2014

Review posted: December 2014

Excellent course. Being able to choose a subject of personal interest made research and completion of project easier. More about researching and writing a project rather than the actual content itself. Many useful research skills gained.

Course starting: February 2005

Review posted: October 2006

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.


Module satisfaction survey

The figures below are taken from a survey of students who sat the exam/completed the end-of-module assessment for the February 2014 presentation of SXN390. The survey was carried out in 2014.

23 students (a response rate of 37.1%) responded to the survey covering what they thought of 10 aspects of the module.

Please note that if the percentage of students who responded to this module survey is below 30% and/or the number of responses is below 23 it means that only a small proportion of students provided feedback and their views as shown here may not be fully representative of all students who studied the module.

See this page for the full text of questions and more information about the survey.

% Count
Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of this module 73.9 17
Overall, I am satisfied with my study experience 69.6 16
The module provided good value for money 47.8 11
I was satisfied with the support provided by my tutor/study adviser on this module 87 20
Overall, I was satisfied with the teaching materials provided on this module 50 10
The learning outcomes of the module were clearly stated 87 20
I would recommend this module to other students 60.9 14
The module met my expectations 65.2 15
I enjoyed studying this module 60.9 14
Overall, I was able to keep up with the workload on this module 77.3 17
Faculty comment: "The S390 Module Team would like to warmly thank all students for their feedback and comments via the recent survey. Although S390 has been running successfully for many years (especially SXG390, which started in 2003 and is the longest-running strand), we always look seriously at the feedback from students for common patterns/issues with a view to making incremental changes each year to improve the learning experience for future cohorts of S390 students. So your feedback is both valuable and useful, as it’s an essential part of this reflective and evolutionary process undertaken by the Module Team. What you have experienced in studying S390 is a module that has evolved since its early days via exactly the sort of feedback with which you have provided the Module Team.Although there are great many positive scores and comments, naturally we focus on clusters of critical scores and feedback to ensure that we capture areas that have caused difficulty for students and that we may be able to ‘fix’ for future cohorts. And to ensure that we don’t miss anything important we look at areas across all six strands, as well as within individual strands,. For example, we note that across all strands the aspect that gained the lowest overall score was “The module provided good value for money”. And in detail, three-quarters of the students in some strands felt that the module was good value for money, and yet in other strands this figure was just over half. Given that all students get the same version of the Project Guide etc, we need to understand why these inter-strand differences exist and (more importantly) what we can do to make improvements.On a wholly positive note it was pleasing to see that the vast majority of students were satisfied with the support provided by their tutor, and also satisfied with the quality of the module.Finally, here’s a comment that is broadly typical of how many students felt about S390, and also encapsulates the Module Team’s view: “I feel this module is reflective of the true world of science and academia more than many I have encountered throughout my studies, and it was a fitting end. I completely understand why it is recommended this is the final module you study in your degree. Overall I really enjoyed this module even though it was very challenging and at times overwhelming, but I felt I learned so much through the experience.”"
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