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Adulthood, ageing and the life course

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In the twenty-first century many more adults will live for longer than in previous generations. The emergence of an ageing society can be celebrated, but it also poses many challenges. As workers, carers, or as people receiving health or social care support, this course will enable you to explore diverse individual, environmental, policy, and practice perspectives for adults and for adulthood. It will focus on later life, mental health, long-term conditions, learning disability, and drug and alcohol use. The course incorporates a rich blend of multi-media learning resources, including stimulating case material and opportunities for online collaborative learning.

Modules at Level 3 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£850.00
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Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1700.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£850.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£850.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£850.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1540.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£850.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

There are four blocks of study in this course.

Block 1: Approaches to adulthood and ageing

Starting with an overview of adulthood this block draws upon your views and experiences, to consider the multi-layered theoretical and practical areas of adulthood, ageing, and the life course. The block will engage you in questions such as ‘What does it mean to be an adult?’, ‘How does ‘ageism’ impact on people of all ages?’, and ‘How does quality of life change over the life course?’.

Block 2: The environments of adult support

Block 2 explores the environment in relation to individual, social, and physical factors. For example, environments of the person and their relationships; the significance of housing and physical environments to health and wellbeing; and how communities can be developed to assist and sustain individuals and families. You also examine the impact of living in poverty and deprivation, drawing on a range of perspectives in this respect, and you consider the question of how to manage some of the conflicts and tensions that emerge.

Block 3: The impact of policy on practice

In this block you examine issues, themes, and trends in modern health and social care policy. You consider how, in the rapidly changing context of political, financial, and international events, policies are constructed and implemented, and the nature of your role in this context. You explore how the law fits into wider social policy in providing the framework of rules and requirements that govern practice interventions, and the ways in which governments arrange the funding of services to adults who need support. A key feature of current practice in health and social care is working collaboratively and you will examine the realities of this approach including studying and working collaboratively with students in your tutorial group. Finally in Block 3 you consider some international dimensions of health and social care beyond the UK. 

Block 4: Frameworks and skills for adult support

The course concludes in Block 4 with a focus on frameworks and skills for adult support. Drawing on your experiences in health and social care you identify and evaluate some of the principal skills required to work effectively in a caring and supporting role with adults. These include skills of communication; the processes and skills required for the effective assessment of need; and the nature of promoting health and wellbeing within the context of health and social care. You also consider how a range of skills may be used to support and empower individuals, groups and communities, including the particular context of safeguarding adults where individuals may be vulnerable to exploitation, neglect or to abuse. Finally you explore and evaluate the academic skills involved in conducting and appraising research in the process of supporting adults and in developing resources.

You will learn

Your learning will take place principally through the online learning guide via the website. This is a structured and guided online teaching environment where you engage with academic readings, websites, journal articles, video and audio clips, and a range of other learning elements that constitute the combined teaching materials for the course. The student learning activities in this context encourage you to rehearse and to develop your own lines of enquiry as a Level 3 student. Alongside this there is online communication with other students studying the course and with your tutor. On a regular basis you can share and discuss your experiences and ideas about the material you are studying.

The video and audio materials are integrated into the online learning guide. These are also supplied to you on separate DVDs for offline use if required. You will receive as part of the set of study materials a course guide and a course Reader to stimulate and support your learning.

In this course, you learn how to evaluate and communicate many of the important issues in adult health and social care. You will also develop your facility to appreciate some of the contested areas where there may be significant differences of view about the causes and solutions to problems, or about the allocation of resources. This learning takes place in the context of developing your knowledge and your critical understanding of adulthood and ageing, and of how this enhanced facility can make a significant and positive difference to your role as a carer, a service user, or to your role as a professional. You will be encouraged to reflect upon your own learning and how this may be applied positively in practical ways, exploring, developing, and at times perhaps being encouraged to challenge your own values, assumptions, and beliefs.

The course includes a wealth of material in relation to many of the commonly occurring categorisations and groupings within modern health and social care; such as: older people; mental health and wellbeing; long term conditions across the range of adult ability and disability; drug and alcohol use; and offending behaviour. These groupings, however, are not dealt with in fixed divisions but rather they are drawn upon throughout as illustrative and tangible examples in the process of learning about adulthood and ageing through the life course.

The course also incorporates many of the perspectives and ‘voices’ of people working in practice and of people who as adults are receiving support themselves, or have a role in supporting others. These voices are included as text items, and as video and audio clips, where people comment on particular ideas illustrating issues from their personal or their professional experience. These diverse perspectives bring an immediacy and variety to the study process as you learn to engage with and evaluate directly the opinions and the contexts of a rich variety of adults, their supporters, carers, and professionals. As students, you also join in this collaborative process by learning and sharing with your fellow students studying the course.

Vocational relevance

Some of your reasons to study this course may be linked to enhancing your employment prospects, or you may simply be curious to expand and develop your knowledge and understanding of the adults with whom you have some supporting or caring role; or you may be receiving support services yourself. Whatever your background and motivation, this course is designed to widen your horizons and to deepen and sharpen your facility to think holistically about the issues, structures, and the forces that create and shape adult lives and may lead to people needing additional support. This course will help you consider critically how problems may be addressed and how services may best be provided and sustained, individually, in groups, and through formal organisations.

Entry

This is a Level 3 course. Level 3 courses build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from studies at Levels 1 and 2. They are intended only for students who have recent experience of higher education in a related subject, preferably with the OU. However, you are not required to have studied before in this subject area.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Outside the UK

This course has learning content and case material that relates principally to students in a UK and in a Republic of Ireland context. This does not preclude students outside of the UK studying the course, however, and no additional equipment will be required.

Preparatory work

You will receive guidance of how to get started online in your first course mailing. This will provide you with information on using your computer for OU study and working with the Computing Guide. For example, it explains how to access and use your website and online discussion forums. If you have time before the course starts, you can work through this and explore all the online services available to you.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.

You can also find information about accessible course materials, the Disabled Students' Allowance, equipment and other services on our Services for disabled students website. It also includes our contact details for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

You will have access to a website, online forums, and the online library. You will receive information about how to access the website, a printed course guide, DVDs, a published Reader, and a range of online readings. On the website there is a course map which explains how the course content fits together and electronic versions of most of the printed study materials. These electronic versions, which are compatible with screen-reader software, may be useful if you wish to read on a mobile device where you do not have a Wifi connection, or you want to search for specific references and topics.

You will need

You will also need a headset, with a built-in microphone and earphones, to talk to your tutor and other students online during some of the course activities. 

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2007 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.6 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor to help you with the study material and to assess your on-going progress by marking and commenting on your written work. You may ask your tutor for advice and guidance online or by phone as the course progresses. The contact with your tutor and other students will be through email, online discussion forums, and by telephone. 

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this course, displayed in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

Future availability

The details given here are for the course that starts in October 2014. We expect it to be available once a year.

Students also studied

Students who studied this course also studied at some time:

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

“This is a very sensibly written and stimulating module throughout. The somewhat daunting volume of work is very cleverly made ...”
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“This was a very good course and I must say I enjoyed the first half better than the second. The ...”
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Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code K319
Credits 60
OU Level 3
SCQF level 10
FHEQ level 6
Course work includes:
4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
Examination
No residential school

Course satisfaction survey

See the satisfaction survey results for this course.

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