Skip to content The Open University

Student and tutor module reviews

Environment: journeys through a changing world

see module description

  • Points: 60
  • Code: U116
  • Level: 1
On this page

Student reviews

This is a great module for anyone interested in environmental issues. I found it challenging but enjoyable. The volume of material could be too much at times, and you really have to stick to the dates on the Study Planner.

I found it was possible to complete the Tutor-Marked Assignments effectively in the time given. The module covers many different countries around the world and I learned about subjects as diverse as plumbing (or the lack of it) in rural Ethiopia, and modern life in what remains of the Amazon rainforest. I wish I had scored more points on the final End-of-Module Assessment, as this was not as successful as my previous assignments.

The tutor answered my questions promptly and the impact of the pandemic did not prevent any of the tutorials from going ahead online. I'll always remember the practical experiment where we had to measure our own water use. Every time I use litres of water to wash hands or clean, I think of the people we learned about who had to make do with 5 litres a day. The early sections on the Earth's geology and fossil record were fascinating too. And I loved the poems about the Arctic ice cores! It's hard work but a good foundation for further environmental or scientific study.

Course starting: February 2020

Review posted: January 2021

I thought this was an amazing module, taking you all over the planet from the Arctic, to the Amazon, to Africa to China. The books supplied with the module were superb and stand proudly on my bookshelf! Not only does it delve into environmental issues allowing you to assess your own carbon footprint, it explores other cultures too. Some basic maths knowledge including an understanding of percentages are an advantage. From the perch of Lake Victoria to the pineapples of Hawaii, my one word description for this module is: "Invigorating".

Anthony Hutchinson

Course starting: October 2018

Review posted: April 2020

'Environment: journeys through a changing world' (U116) is an amazing module. It gave me a really thorough and interesting grounding in environmental science. I felt pushed out of my comfort zone at times, but the pacing meant I didn't fall behind. My only problem was that all of it was so interesting, that I couldn't just skim-read any of it.

Course starting: February 2019

Review posted: February 2020

This module is the perfect starter module to ease you into studying at degree level. It covers a broad range of topics but nothing in too much depth that it is unmanageable. The module takes a multidisciplinary approach to the environment but is based more on the social side rather than science based.

The style of questions vary vastly in order to develop different study skills, meaning you will find some tutor-marked assignment questions easier than others.

Overall I enjoyed this module, and achieved a decent pass rate, despite me missing an assignment out altogether.

Emily Hill

Course starting: February 2019

Review posted: November 2019

This is a very detailed module and has covered some interesting parts to study about this planet and some major ecosystems in it. Tutor support has been great throughout the module, I enjoyed studying all the blocks of this module.

Riddhi Raina

Course starting: October 2017

Review posted: July 2019

Absolutely brilliant re-introduction to study, comfortable pace and interesting topics on a broad range of subjects and a satisfying lack of rocks (currently doing S112 with too many rocks). I was lucky to have an amazing tutor.

Course starting: October 2017

Review posted: December 2018

On the whole I really enjoyed this module. The content was interesting and relevant. However, I did struggle (as did many of my peers) with the wording and inaccuracies of the some of the TMA questions. I gather that this was due to the first running of this rewritten module and that these problems, along with typos etc in the Block material, have been resolved.

Course starting: October 2017

Review posted: August 2018

U116 was a fantastic course, I found it enjoyable and I loved the journey narrative that was present throughout. The assessments where varied, which help to cover a wide range of learning. Excellent tutor and support. Most of the course material worked using exclusively free/libre (Freedom respecting) software, though it required a bit extra work to do so. Being book based was really nice. Was a wonderful start to my OU studies and my Cert HE, I would recommend it to anyone.

Course starting: October 2016

Review posted: July 2018

Without doubt this is the best module that I have studied with the OU.
It's a module that covers a vast amount, yet is so enjoyable that you do not notice how much you are actually learning.
The assignments are straight forward and develop a wide range of skills.
The tutor for this module was exceptional. Her knowledge, support and feedback just added to the overall satisfaction I had in studying.
Would I recommend this module? Without hesitation.

Simon Graeme Ross

Course starting: January 2016

Review posted: December 2016

I was not sure what I would be getting with this course, but was pleasantly surprised. I found it thoroughly enjoyable and eye opening, it was so wide reaching and yet detailed. My tutor was excellent and I wish I had met him 30 years ago!! I could not have asked for a better way to start my study with the OU.

Thomas Philbin

Course starting: January 2015

Review posted: April 2016

This course was great and so interesting. The module format was straightforward with lots of interesting issues and chapters demonstrating our changing world. The assignments were fairly uncomplicated and it all kept my interest right through. It was an eye opener to see what is happening in our world with regards to biodiversity, anthropogenic destruction and the way our environment is changing.

My tutor was brilliant which made the module more approachable which was a big help. Because it was so interesting (though somewhat worrying at times at the way our planet is being degraded) I sailed through to get a grade 1 pass. Thank you!

Carol Williams

Course starting: October 2013

Review posted: May 2015

I loved this course. It was a great introduction to the Environment with some interesting case studies. A good mix of book and online work. I have since studied very book heavy courses and another online activity/dvd heavy course but this had a nice mix. There was no exam but I feel I did very well and managed the work load well. It builds up towards the last 3 TMAs which get slightly harder but generally the course is fun and interesting and a good basis for DST206 and an introduction to Open University study and the Environment. Very diverse too, will definitely keep you busy and engaged!

Irma Rose Pettitt

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: June 2014

Thoroughly enjoyed this wide ranging 'global' course and recommend it.

David Robertson

Course starting: February 2012

Review posted: October 2013

I think this module is great if you want to learn a little bit of everything that is going on on our planet! Starting with the Arctic, where you will have to set up a little museum exposition, passing to the Amazon where you will understand the pros and cons of sustainable tourism and finally studying China, a place from where we are largely dependant on. This course has taught me how to be an effective thinker and how to take into consideration the different stakeholders points of view in any situation.

Definitely recommend it to everyone!!

Sara Iamonte

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: August 2013

This was my first course with the Open University and my first studying experience since leaving school 18 years ago. I was a little nervous to say the least but I couldn't have chosen a better introductory course to ease me back into learning.

Anybody with an interest in the environment will enjoy this course. The study material is broad ranging and very engaging from the first few pages of the first book. The module takes you on a journey through different regions of the world and offers an insight into various environmental issues such as deforestation in the Amazon rainforest to the industrialisation of China. We learn about a selection of natural processes and about how they were discovered. The journey takes you from the UK to the Arctic, Africa, the far east, South America and back to London.

The activities were interesting and encouraged you to really study the material to get the best result for the given task. I particularly enjoyed the task of playing the part of a museum curator to organise an exhibition based on the Arctic following the book studying the Arctic region.

My tutor for the course provided some really good feedback both positive and negative and was always on hand to provide advice when needed, this made all the difference in encouraging me to give my best. The day school was a good introduction to the module and I would thoroughly recommend anybody signing up to this to attend.

On the whole I found the course to be very enjoyable and a good foundation on which to begin my studies with the O.U. If you are still undecided as to whether or not to enrol, don't hesitate just do it!

Dean Harrison

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: August 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.

Enter a module code to find a review

To send us reviews on modules you have studied with us, please click the sign in button below.