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Student and tutor module reviews

Human biology

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  • Points: 30
  • Code: SK277
  • Level: 2

Student reviews

SK277 has been my favourite course in over 10 years with the OU. The materials are challenging but engaging and I had several 'Wow' moments over the year when learning about how the human body works.

My tutor was fantastic and provided support over and above anything I have had before. The TMAs were nicely structured and the exam was fine as long as you had revised properly.

The only disappointment - I finished and can't do it again!

Katherine Jane Smith

Course starting: October 2014

Review posted: March 2016

I found the course challenging as I have no previous experience of studying Human Biology. However I really enjoyed the experience and thought the course materials were excellent, as you would expect with the OU. I went to a couple of tutorials, which I found helpful, as I gained some useful tips for the exam. Overall I would recommend this module!

Lorna Joy Davies

Course starting: October 2014

Review posted: January 2016

A fantastic course with excellent resources and brilliant tutor. The exam at the end was not bad, there were no hidden surprises.

Course starting: October 2014

Review posted: September 2015

I absolutely loved this module!
I hadn't studied any biology at school so everything was completely new to me.
There was a lot of reading, and some parts of the module took more reading - and re-reading - than others.

There are four books in the module with four chapters in each. Some chapters are easier to read and follow than others, presumably due to the different authors of each.
It was all incredibly interesting though. I particularly loved the endocrine system and also the immune system.

I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I spent quite a bit of time on the 3 TMAs, but these don't actually count towards your final module grade. That is based solely on the exam score.
I would recommend starting exam revision early. It might seem a bit daunting, but if you put in the work it should all be fine! I would not have done as well without the past papers so I would really recommend getting those. I also found the revision support from other students invaluable.

I was delighted to get a distinction in this module and it has sparked my interest so much that I am now going on to study a human biology based degree at university.

Course starting: October 2014

Review posted: August 2015

This was the first course I had ever done with the OU and I thought it was absolutely fantastic. The course books were comprehensive, well-presented and really interesting. The Tutor Marked Assignments with their deadlines kept me focused on the course when I could easily have been distracted by work and home life.

Attending the day schools was a big motivation. The tutors were interested in their subject and us and speaking to other students was great. We even swapped career ideas. When I needed help from my tutor it was always forthcoming and I felt that the feedback I received from her on my TMAs was relevant, precise and constructive. This has not been the case when I have studied at other universities in England.

Although I submitted my assignments electronically, the end-of-course exam, which ultimately determined my mark for the module (the TMAs only serving to qualify me to take this exam) was on paper. As a way to study and be tested this suited me. I like to have a book to flick backwards and forwards through rather than be clicking an icon on a computer screen and waiting for it to respond in its own time! A fantastic course. I recommend it whole-heartedly!

Nicola Hawkins

Course starting: October 2013

Review posted: March 2015

This was my most favourite course to date! It carried on nicely from the level one module SDK125. The materials are extremely well written. The TMAs were challenging, but with the work put in good grades are possible. The only advice I can give is, buy all the past exam papers as they really help with revision for the three hour exam at the end of the course. It worked for me, and I got a distinction. No nasty surprises in the exam, so as long as you put the work in you will be fine.

Louise Groom

Course starting: October 2013

Review posted: October 2014

I loved this course, but it WAS challenging and there is a lot of material to get through. Compared to a social science subject the amount of reading isn't particularly onerous, but it does demand that you fully engage with the material in order to understand it. I found that just a few pages of text and one or two diagrams could often take a good hour of study (or even more), but the effort paid off and it was always very rewarding to feel that I was starting to grasp a difficult concept or understand how a number of different variables interact in a feedback system.

This kind of learning is valuable in any field of knowledge - making sense of complex systems is a skill you will very likely use whatever kind of work you do, and whether you hone it through studying human biology or another topic, it's a very worthwhile thing to practice. In this case the topic itself is fascinating and very relevant. All of us have a body, so knowing a bit about how it works has got to be useful!

The textbooks are very well put together, with good use of diagrams. A few more interactive simulations/animations would have been nice on the website. The quizzes were good practice for the exam.

On the subject of the exam, I did think it was an odd decision to put the entire burden of assessment on the exam alone. There's so much material to remember, and testing students' memories for this material might not be the best way to test their understanding of it. Anticipation of the exam did force me to work harder, I expect, towards the end of the course particularly, so there was a discipline in it, but it was also quite stressful, and I wouldn't have liked for anything unexpected to have come up during the exam week which might have thrown me off course.

Exam concerns aside, I would highly recommend this module.

Course starting: October 2013

Review posted: August 2014

What a challenge! I despaired at times and throughout the course was convinced I would fail the dreaded exam. However, I found the subject fascinating and often studied longer than intended because I had become so engrossed in a chapter. A well presented module together with a supportive tutor enabled me to achieve a Grade 2 pass and a huge sense of satisfaction.

Sharon Taylor

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: October 2013

A thoroughly well written and enjoyable course. This was my fifth Level two course. This is no doubt the best OU course I have done. The workload is as it should be. The exam is demanding but very fair. You do need to keep up with the planner as the TMAs are quite demanding on time.

My only slight regret was that I was struggling with a Level 3 course at the time and as a result I could not give this course the time it deserved.

The science involved is quite basic and nowhere near as hard as other Level two OU science courses (not that there are many pure science courses left nowadays). I feel that we could have made far better use of online tutorials. However the course books are very comprehensive.

I would recommend this course to anyone with an interest in the biology of the human body.

Gregory Adam Finch

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: August 2013

This was my first level 2 course and I loved it! Had a great tutor and tutorials were really helpful!

TMAs were challenging but not impossible and really consolidated my understanding of the course materials.

Exam was good and followed similar format to the TMAs, 30% given for an essay chosen from 1 of 2 subjects that were disclosed in advance. 40% short answers 2 from each of the 4 books and 30% data handling.

I allowed a lot of time for revision, attended a revision day school with my tutor, completed lots of past papers and met separately with some of my tutor group also. Delighted to have passed with distinction.

Tracy Hickson

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: August 2013

I studied this module as part of the BSc in Health Sciences. The text materials were very well written and easy to understand. The assessments were fair and were useful in consolidating the material. There is a lot of rote learning involved, so I found it useful to revise throughout the year by making myself flashcards rather than leaving it all to the weeks prior to the exam. All in all, one of the better modules I've studied so far.

Course starting: October 2012

Review posted: August 2013

I loved this course and would happily recommend it to anyone studying a science/life sciences/natural sciences degree. It's in-depth enough to be fascinating but holistic enough to be a broad learning curve. The exam was true to the specimen paper and didn't contain nasty surprises (thankfully). I was supported by a lovely tutor and a great tutor group.

Sheilagh Margaret Rawlins

Course starting: October 2011

Review posted: December 2012

I thoroughly enjoyed studying this module, it was interesting and relevent to my job as a midwife. However, preparing for the exam was tough as there was a lot of studying and a lot to remember - but, I got a distinction so it was all worth it in the end!

Course starting: October 2011

Review posted: October 2012

Great module! Loved it from start to finish. The module material was well written and the depth of information given was fantastic but not too over bearing.

The exam topics are vast but the essay element is narrowed down so you can pick a topic from four choices which allows you to concentrate on the other two elements of the exam.

Overall my favourite module, passed with a grade 1 and the information I have learned has given me solid basis for my Level 3 biology modules.

Amy Willey

Course starting: October 2011

Review posted: August 2012

I thoroughly recommend this course to anyone considering biology / life sciences or psychology studies. The materials were good (and in book form) and my tutor was great. I can't get to tutorials because of work commitments but my tutor responded to my emails very promptly and efficiently and that makes a big difference.

I panicked a bit over the exam but managed a really good grade and am over the moon. Well worth the money and the effort and a really good launch pad for further study.

Sheilagh Margaret Rawlins

Course starting: October 2011

Review posted: August 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 SK277. The survey was carried out in 2015.

238 students (a response rate of 26.9%) 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 92.4 220
Overall, I am satisfied with my study experience 89 210
The module provided good value for money 78 181
I was satisfied with the support provided by my tutor/study adviser on this module 84.8 201
Overall, I was satisfied with the teaching materials provided on this module 89.5 213
The learning outcomes of the module were clearly stated 94.9 222
I would recommend this module to other students 90.7 215
The module met my expectations 85.7 203
I enjoyed studying this module 92 219
Overall, I was able to keep up with the workload on this module 80.4 189
Faculty comment: "The module team would like to thank all of the students who took the time to take part in the survey and provide feedback on their study experience. We are pleased that overall students express satisfaction with the quality of the module and would recommend this module to other students. This remains a popular and highly regarded module. Students continue to perform well with over 85% of those who sit the exam achieving a Grade 4 or above.
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