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Student and tutor module reviews

Exploring history: medieval to modern 1400-1900

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  • Points: 60
  • Code: A200
  • Level: 2

Student reviews

A200 is a very well produced module, covering 500 years from medieval to modern it gives a useful insight into why and how modern world developed.

The wide range of topics meant it was easy to maintain interest. However, this does mean there is a lot of content to absorb. Though not essential, it is definitely helpful to have at least a limited understanding of events in time frame before starting.

The Assessment schedule was well paced, with six TMAs of increasing difficulty and length, plus an Exam at the end. The feedback on TMAs was consistently helpful and was a useful tool for improving assessment skills.

Despite these positives, my overall experience on the course was ruined somewhat by the final exam. The exam is weighted heavily, counting for 50% of the module grade. Poor performance on it can drag down final pass grades very easily, as happened with me. It was incredibly disheartening to see months of hard work and six TMAs tarnished by a three hour exam at the end.

Overall, the content is interesting but it has put me off doing modules with exams in future.

Adam White

Course starting: October 2014

Review posted: November 2015

A200 is a real challenge. It covers over 500 years of history and there is a terrific amount of online reading. However,I found the course fascinating and extremely enjoyable. By the end of the module I was exhausted but achieved good exam and module results. You do have to be focused from the very beginning and keep up with the study calendar but if you are able to do this and are prepared for the exam there should not be any problem.

Course starting: October 2014

Review posted: August 2015

I really enjoyed this course. I felt it improved my analytical and critical skills and enhanced my ability to scrutinise historical events.

I liked the fact that it covered an overarching view of a long period by concentrating on specific themes and how these changed over the period. It gave a very broad based overview and a deeper understanding of how events in one period affected the next and the chain reaction of events which can lead to events from several hundred years ago having knock on effects right up to the present day.

Constructive and enjoyable, very good teaching and support.

Sally Larkin

Course starting: September 2014

Review posted: August 2015

This module is an abundance of historical knowledge. It commences with France, England and Burgundy in the fifteenth century which includes the hundred years war between France and England and the Wars of the Roses, moving onto the European Reformation, the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, slavery and Freedom, the creation of nations etc. A very intensive course with many hand-outs available on the module website aside from the books to read.

Medieval to modern focuses on the historiography rather than mere narrative of events from history. This requires analysis of arguments offered by different historians.

The student also has the privilege of reading primary sources which in themselves are an education regarding the evolution of the English since the fifteenth century I thoroughly enjoyed it and found that it demanded a strict timeline in order to keep up with each week of study.

In addition, it is important to note that for students who prefer to read hard copies of historical material much printing is required. I have no hesitation in recommending this module to students whose academic interest is history. It is a compulsory module for those taking a pure history degree or history combined with another subject as it equips students with research techniques.

The hallmark of the module for me is that it inspired me to want to read more about the areas it covered and this is made possible due to the info provided at the end of each block for further reading. All in all, highly recommended.

Course starting: October 2013

Review posted: August 2014

This is a great course. This has been my favourite course so far. It helps if you have background knowledge but it is not the end of the world if you do not! Do not be put off by the negative comments, this is an informative course and if you manage your time well you will be fine.

Kirsten Marie Sullivan

Course starting: September 2012

Review posted: May 2014

This course is a lot of work, don't underestimate the amount of reading you will have to do and I say that because many people choose to study A200 alongside other level 1 & 2 modules. You will not be learning about history - you will be learning HOW to study history and analysis of historical sources is something you will do from start to finish in A200.

The TMAs are a challenging level 2 standard however there was one real 'brain burner' mid-way through focusing around the English State.

The issues regarding the Slave Trade will be covered and you are required to view this as an historian and place it within the context of its time rather than with the view of how it is regarded in today's times. Very thought provoking.

The course materials are excellent and if you have an enthusiastic, supportive tutor you will find that A200 will both challenge and satisfy you. I enjoyed A200 very much, it was hard work no doubt, but if you keep on top of the reading and make good use of your tutor's support and knowledge then A200 will be a very worthwhile journey.

Wendy June Reid

Course starting: September 2012

Review posted: February 2014

This is a demanding and very enjoyable course. Its thematic structure is helpful, its materials excellent and its range exhilarating. I came away with an awareness of the links between different periods and a sense of history that will enable me to read more widely and with greater understanding. Thoroughly recommended.

Sarah Ozanne

Course starting: September 2012

Review posted: August 2013

A200 is a great course for those with an interest in history and, in particular, for learning how to study history. I enjoyed the breadth of the period covered and have gained enormously from studying the module as well as reading around the OU materials for those areas of particular interest.

The feedback that I received on TMAs helped me to progress through the course feeling reassured that I was developing good essay writing skills as well as understanding the materials provided.

Your module result for A200 relies heavily on the outcome of your examination. My only advice would be to those who haven't taken examinations in recent years. Just to make sure that you have revised well, to make clear any worries that you have about the exam to your tutor (purely because the level of advice appears to vary somewhat)and to get the best possible advice on how to approach the exam. Good TMA results do not always result in a good pass level.

But, overall, a great course.

Course starting: September 2012

Review posted: August 2013

This is an excellent course. What makes it excellent is the way it is constructed and the underpinning themes which run throughout the course. I was incredibly lucky in having such a supportive tutor, and the tutorials I felt were an essential aid to study.

If one delves further into the history books concerning the period covered, many of the topics highlighted resurface as key areas of historical importance. For instance the history of Burgundy, also social upheavals such as the effects of the Reformation and the English Civil Wars (British Civil Wars of the Three Kingdoms). Furthermore, the emphasis on historiography (the history of history itself) provides a superb contextualisation to how each of the periods studied have been perceived by past historians, which helps shape the way in which we study history today.

Do not be fooled, this is by no stretch of the imagination an easy course, but anything worth working at is rarely easy. A200 is "History Boot Camp". If you love history, you might well love A200. This course contains many of the skills required of a historian such as: constructing arguments based on evidence, from a variety of perspectives. Quantitive and qualitative analysis of datum. Recognising shifting trends such as the emergence of states to modern nations. The rise of liberalism and emancipation.

Perhaps the best thing about this course is its rich variety. There is something for everybody. Personally I prefer mediƦval history but found the modern history thoroughly enjoyable. In the years of my having studied with the OU, this is undoubtably the best course I have studied yet, and would recommend it to any would-be historian.

Maxwell Lewis Latham

Course starting: September 2012

Review posted: August 2013

Very interesting topics and great tutor support.If only all my modules were like this one.

Jonathan Kendall

Course starting: October 2011

Review posted: June 2013

I enjoyed this course. A lot of people found it heavy going especially the reformation set book (I read this before the course started, which I recommend that you do, as you are then able to dip in and out, when required, as the course progresses with a deeper understanding of the authors views).

As it is a compulsory course for history, it is good in guiding you into the world of histography - a must for a history student; a non history student would probably find this section a bit boring.

Margaret Weston

Course starting: October 2011

Review posted: May 2013

I was really apprehensive about taking this course as there were so many negative comments about its difficulty. Please do not be put off by them!

Yes, the course is a step up from Level 1 and it does take some time to adjust to. But I am studying for a degree to learn more about the world and broaden my horizons, and this course certainly does that and I soaked it all up like a sponge!

The topics on slavery and the Belgians in The Congo deeply affected me and after the course I bought books on both of these subjects to further my understanding. These were subjects I had never thought about (slavery) or heard about (Belgians) before.

Now I am studying at level 3 I am grateful to A200 for the grounding it has given me and look back on it with great fondness. Although there are areas which are difficult, like all the different historian's points of view for example, the course is great and certainly not as intense as a Level 3.

Course starting: October 2011

Review posted: April 2013

I found this course almost unbearable and was actually loking forward to the exam as it meant the end. The content in itself was sometimes interesting, but could be mind-numbing elsewhere. As this is a compulsory course, I felt an extra effort should be made to make it interesting and enjoyable. The workload was enormous and, as it was a new presentation, there were a lot of errors in the material. There was a lot of confusion over the aim of the TMAs and their guidance notes. The worst thing about this course was the forum. It was negative and bad-tempered. I avoided it because it was demoralising and often made insecurities much worse. I wouldn't recommend it if it's not compulsory.

Course starting: October 2011

Review posted: February 2013

Faculty response

This presentation of the module followed a rewrite. There was some confusion over TMAs that have been addressed and some minor errors have since been corrected. Some of the forums were bad tempered at times however we have clarified the purpose of the forums and they have since been much more positive. There was some negativity in this presentation of A200, however, the overall student satisfaction survey demonstrated that 89% of students were satisfied with the quality of the module and their study experience, and 83% would recommend this module to other students.

A200 Module Team

I had a a great helpful tutor for this course, he was always there offering advice if needed via email or phone. I could not get to the tutorials, so he would email me the notes, which was really helpful!

The course materials were heavy going at times, especially the Reformation (religious) aspect. I hate reading about it and believe me there is a lot of it, which overshadows most of the blocks, it goes to show you that religion has a lot to answer for through the ages, it was cruel and dictated how people had to live.

I found the slavery block very interesting, but small in comparison to the religious aspects.

The TMA guidance was constantly confusing, and very unhelpful, as were the example exam questions of what to expect in the actual exam, to me they were way off! So try and revise a few blocks for the exam so you have more choice.

I just passed the exam which for me was awesome as I was sure I'd fail due to being constantly confused.

Be prepared for spending a lot of money on printer ink and paper.

Overall even though at times I hated the course and most of the blocks, it's not that bad.
If I hadn't had the tutor I had I would have given up. I wish I had him for my current course!

Be aware that recently for every history course the tutors all want a different style and structure for the assignments so make sure you know what "they" want early on so they don't slash your marks!

Course starting: October 2011

Review posted: January 2013

I really enjoyed this course. I have always enjoyed history, but never had the chance to study it at this level. It was a steep learning curve, but after the first 2 TMAs, I realised how I was expected to construct my answers. I was very clear about the 3 concurrent themes of the module - by far the most interesting was the development of the nation state, but the reflection on how this intertwined with religious change and commerce was fascinating. I feel that I have a wholly different perspective on the EU and its current struggles!

Most of all the course proved addictive, to the extent that I am now studying A207 and hope to progress to history at Level 3. There is a lot of work and huge breadth - fortunately my professional background is such that I wasn't fazed by that aspect.

The problem was getting inside the historian's head and realising that this course is as much about studying the historians and their interpretation of events(historiography)as it is about the history.

Elizabeth Lynne Jones

Course starting: October 2011

Review posted: October 2012

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 October 2014 presentation of A200. The survey was carried out in 2015.

336 students (a response rate of 38.3%) 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 88.9 296
Overall, I am satisfied with my study experience 84 279
The module provided good value for money 70.9 232
I was satisfied with the support provided by my tutor/study adviser on this module 88.4 297
Overall, I was satisfied with the teaching materials provided on this module 85.5 283
The learning outcomes of the module were clearly stated 89 292
I would recommend this module to other students 75.7 249
The module met my expectations 76 250
I enjoyed studying this module 78.7 262
Overall, I was able to keep up with the workload on this module 73.4 245
Faculty comment: "We are very pleased that the majority of students studying this module were satisfied with the teaching materials and the support provided by their tutor, and that so many of our students would recommend the module to others. We have noted from survey feedback and individual student comments that the workload was not always as expected, although the workload is in accordance with university norms. The study calendar has been designed to help students to organise their time, but we will continue to monitor this issue closely. Overall, it is particularly gratifying to see that so many students had a good study experience and highly rated the quality of the module, as we believe it offers a solid grounding in the knowledge and skills required for the study of history at OU levels 2, 3 and beyond."
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