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Student and tutor module reviews

Exploring science

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  • Points: 60
  • Code: S104
  • Level: 1

Student reviews

S104 was not easy but very interesting with lots of reading material. It was my first module with OU and my confidence was a bit low. My tutor was excellent though and very supportive and I surprised myself at how well I did in the exam.

The exam was intense but I highly recommend getting the past papers and timing yourself. That way you know exactly how long you need to spend on each question. The Day Schools were very good and I found them very useful. It was also good to meet the other students in the same boat as you. The OU Lives (on-line) were also good.

Highly recommended to anyone who likes science or interested in a scientific pathway.

Course starting: January 2015

Review posted: June 2016

This was my first module with OU and to be honest one of the best I have done so far. The help you get online from tutors, the course materials, the online classes absolutely brilliant. If I had the option to do this module again for 60 credits I'd do it. There is an exam at the end of module and you do have to go through a lot of books, I mean 5 thick books but the way it's written and along with residential schools and online classes is very easy and interesting. If you are just starting studies and taking a science route I cant recommend this module enough.

Munazza Khan

Course starting: January 2015

Review posted: March 2016

A fascinating journey through many branches of science and overall a very enjoyable module.

Some of the content on Chemistry I found to be overcomplicated and not very clear in parts, however it didn't stop me enjoying myself and a little extra reading around difficult subjects helped tie up loose ends.

Basically, be ready to commit yourself to get the most from this course. It's slimmer in content than previous years but it certainly cranks up the difficulty as you get to later stages. Obviously it's broad by nature to cater for everyone who requires a base knowledge of science, but I can honestly say the skills and knowledge it has taught me have already been implemented in my next module which has been satisfying to see.

A big thumbs up all round. Believe me, I was nervous before I started but the Open University really do provide you with everything you need to make the most of the course and give you confidence to tackle difficult subjects. I can even say I continued to read the module texts that weren't relevant to my chosen subject they were that interesting!

Richard Rickell

Course starting: January 2015

Review posted: January 2016

To me this this was a life changing module, though that sounds dramatic. It inspired me to change from an environmental degree to a science degree. It provides a good all round foundation of science, with a range of interesting topics. I had never been particularly interested in biology, but this course opened my mind. It has further reinforced my enthusiasm for chemistry and physics!

I had a great tutor and I never felt pressured to attend tutorials. I thought the textbooks were great and easy to follow, with useful online resources to help too. Personally I found the course stressful due to my lifestyle and commitments, studying 60 credits with a full time job. Without taking this course, I'm not sure that I would have changed careers.

The Open University definitely shows you what you are capable of. Before taking this course I had an interest in science, had A Levels in humanities subjects, taken Environment: Journey through a changing world and hadn't studied science since school.

Course starting: October 2014

Review posted: September 2015

This course was both enjoyable, interesting but challenging, especially due to the fact I hadn't studied science since leaving school 15 years ago!

However, I found this module offered a great introduction to the many areas of science and a great way to discover the areas of science which I would like to study further. I started the module with an interest in Biology and I have finished with an interest in physics and geology (I didn't see that one coming!)

The books and study material was clear and easy to study, the TMAs where challenging but interesting and the tutor support and study days were brilliant. As my tutor said during my times of panic, study with the OU is not a sprint but a marathon! I have thoroughly enjoyed this module and recommend it highly, just one word of prepared for the exam at the end, having not sat an exam for 15 years it was a shock to the system, my advice would be to practice past exam papers.

Course starting: September 2014

Review posted: July 2015

A great starting module for anyone who is interested in science. A gentle start but the pace of study picks up towards the end. Covers a very broad area including physics, chemistry, biology, and geology. Not much depth to most of it, but gives you a good idea of what each branch of science is about.

Course starting: February 2014

Review posted: June 2015

Although having worked in science related areas all my working life this was the first time I had studied science formally since leaving school some forty years ago. The course content was fascinating especially in the areas that were newly discovered since I had been at school. In particular, the sections on DNA, some of the astronomy and fundamental particles were new to me. I found the mathematical content relatively easy at around the standard of O level mathematics in my school days.

The course material was excellent as was the tutorial support and TMA feedback. What I really liked about the course material was not only was it clearly explained and illustrated but the worked examples were laid out in such a way they were easy to follow, allowing one's misunderstandings or misconceptions to be quickly corrected.

The final examination was a bit of a rote learning experience but the available past papers were a great help during the revision process.

If you like me you are a returner to formal education, I can thoroughly recommend this course either as the foundation for further study in the OU or just to keep your brain ticking over. However, to do it justice you probably will require the average of sixteen hours of study each week that is recommended.

Alan Keith Sully

Course starting: September 2014

Review posted: June 2015

This was a brilliant module - I thoroughly enjoyed it. Most of the books were well written but book 4 could have done with a rewrite. On the whole I am really glad this was my first module.

T Cleaver

Course starting: February 2014

Review posted: May 2015

A fantastic introduction to Science. If you haven't chose your specific field of interest. It has been a great foundation for the courses I am doing now. As it is so varied you may find yourself more motivated and interested by some sections more than others. All in all a great course for introducing you to study.

Stephen McDade

Course starting: February 2014

Review posted: March 2015

Fantastic course ! If you are interested in all aspects of science this is the course for you. Eight amazing books, So varied, you will study everything from quantum physics to earthquakes and from organic chemistry to photosynthesis. There really is something for everyone. I enjoyed it all but if you only like say, physics, then you might only like a small section of it. Day schools were really good too, I went to the ones in Birmingham where the tutor was really good. Can't recommend it enough, I have learnt so much about the world in which we live.

Lee Saunders

Course starting: October 2013

Review posted: February 2015

This a very varied course that covers a wide range of subjects. In this respect it is intense and will take a lot of study time. My advise is to not get bogged down with the TMAs and skip one if you have to. The exam was hard but is designed to give you the very best chance of passing!

You can pick up most of the pass points from the multi-choice questions from part 1 and the graph question from part 2. Part 3 requires answering 2 questions from 4 so really concentrate on your two favourite subjects as you progress through the books.

This is a good course, frustratingly varied at times but overall enjoyable and a wonderful sense of achievement on passing!

Adrian Smart

Course starting: October 2013

Review posted: August 2014

I found S104 really interesting. I know a lot of people thought that there was too much information, but I enjoyed the varying subject matter and pace. The only thing to keep in mind is that there are a lot of TMAs/iCMAs (about one of each per month). That said, if you keep up with the reading, these should not be an issue.

I did not enjoy studying biology, but simply because it is not an area I have ever enjoyed studying, but the material was not particularly difficult. The rest of the material I found enjoyable and I really enjoyed learning about the different aspects of sceince. I love astronomy (and that is what my degree is going to be in) but there wasn't very much of it, which is my only real criticism.

My tutor was excellent; really helpful and always e-mailed back promptly.

All I would say is that the exam is a lot harder than the specimen paper. When I sat the exam there had been no previous exam and there was a specimen. I found the specimen quite easy but when I went to the actual exam I was stunned that it was nothing like it! So if you are starting S104 I would suggest purchasing previous exam papers from the OUSBA shop. They are cheap and will help you get a real flavour of what the exam is going to be like.

Laura McCafferty

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: June 2014

S104 for a level one module is very intense and will probably nearly break you, as it did with me. I wouldn't suggest that anyone takes this course in conjunction with another because it does eat up a lot of time for studying and writing TMAs.

However, that said - I had the best tutor you could ask for who took the time on many occasions to help me understand sections of the course I was unsure of. And the information in S104 is invaluable as you progress on to level 2 modules.

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: May 2014

I really enjoyed this course and this is what started the OU addiction for me. I found Book 1-3 easy going and the concepts introduced were stimulating.

Book 4 and 5, I knew from reading past comments, were tough but I didn't feel I couldn't keep pace with the course. By engaging more with the material I found that the results for TMAs were my best on these. I would definitely make sure you plan your time well as doing so, pays dividends.

I would recommend this course to anyone wanting to see where their strengths lie in science if that is your chosen path. It might surprise you what you think you liked and what you are actually good at. It did me.

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: May 2014

This is a great course covering many subjects of science and makes for a solid foundation to build on no matter what discipline you wish to follow. The work load and pace is demanding but very rewarding and some key maths skills are a definite prerequisite to understand and work through much of the material. There are a few home-experiments to carry out and report your findings. I found one in particular fascinating, the light-bulb experiment...almost magical!

The TMAs reflect the numerous books as you would expect and the exam is a combination of the various TMAs so it's important to keep up and submit all of them on time as feedback from your tutor is paramount.

We had a specimen exam paper (with solutions) and I found it especially useful to time myself as a mock exam. I didn't have enough time to finish the exam as before you know it, its over, so I would stress the importance of timing yourself in advance of the actual exam! The face-to-face tutorials are encouraged but really depend on where in the materials you are up to. Help, encouragement and feedback from my tutor was excellent.

Revision is a must as there is an awful lot of material to work through and learn, but by the end of it, you certainly feel as though you have achieved something.

Andrew Whitworth-Barlow

Course starting: February 2013

Review posted: April 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.


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 S104. The survey was carried out in 2015.

351 students (a response rate of 24.7%) 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 91.3 316
Overall, I am satisfied with my study experience 90.1 311
The module provided good value for money 73.4 248
I was satisfied with the support provided by my tutor/study adviser on this module 93.9 321
Overall, I was satisfied with the teaching materials provided on this module 88.7 306
The learning outcomes of the module were clearly stated 92.5 319
I would recommend this module to other students 88.6 304
The module met my expectations 86.9 299
I enjoyed studying this module 87.9 304
Overall, I was able to keep up with the workload on this module 77.6 266
Faculty comment: "Overall students expressed satisfaction with the quality of the module as well as their study experience, learning outcomes and tutor support. We continue to monitor survey data as part of our quality assurance processes. "
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