|About this course:|
|Course work includes:|
|No residential school|
At any one time during the year, ice and snow cover over one-third of our planet. This course explores the wonder of the polar world and explains how ice has shaped – and controls – our planet. The frozen planet is one of a series of short, five month 10-credit courses introducing fascinating topics in science. With a choice of start dates it enables you to try out an area of study before you commit yourself to a longer course, or top up your knowledge and skills between longer courses.
At any one time during the year ice and snow cover over one third of our planet: ice has shaped the landscapes, it determines the structure of the ecosystem and the animals that prosper, and it even drives our global climate.
There is more to the two polar regions of our planet than the cold temperatures and hardship we frequently see in the the media. The two poles are very different: a large part of the Arctic is an ocean covered with ice a few metres thick, whilst the Antarctic is mostly covered in ice kilometres thick. But the physical controls on the environment are the same in both cases. In the winter darkness, temperatures decrease and snow and ice advance towards the equator, sometimes leaving the great cities of northern Europe uncomfortable for humans. Yet still, charismatic and well-known wildlife such as whales, walrus, penguins and polar bears flourish in the ecological niches that the polar environment creates. But it is not just the animals – throughout our entire history humans have only known a planet shaped and controlled by ice.
This course is about the science of the frozen planet. It is about the physical controls on the shape and character of our planet over millions of years through to the climate we experience today. You will investigate the different environmental niches where wildlife flourishes, and the strategies some species have developed to exploit them. You will discover the influence of humans on the environment and the motivations and discoveries of the early polar explorers. The poles are justifiably important but also vulnerable and so, throughout the course, you will learn about their current management and fate in the near future.
The course is based on a specially-written OU study book and website which has polar-focused activities and film clips from the spectacular Frozen Planet BBC television series about the environment, the science, and the wildlife.
If you are new to studying science the course will introduce many new concepts and skills as they are needed, showing how the physical and biological worlds link in two of the planets most striking regions.
Please note: this course is only available for standalone study. You cannot count the credits you gain from the course towards any current OU qualification. It may be possible, however, to count the credits gained towards a qualification if you are already studying with us and have declared your qualification intention before September 2012 – see your qualification description in StudentHome for details.
The course does not assume any previous scientific background and teaches the concepts and skills as they are required. It’s designed for people who are new to the subject area.
Although a little basic knowledge of general science would be useful, all you need is an interest in the polar regions and how they affect the rest of the planet. You will have to understand some basic science, such as physics, geology and biology in order to complete the course. If you have read popular books and magazines on the subject you will find the course develops your understanding and introduces topics that you have not met before.
Mathematically you need only to be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide simple numbers. To cope with the printed material, you should be able to understand in outline the sort of articles printed in a broadsheet newspaper (The Daily Telegraph or The Guardian, for example). You should also be able to write your thoughts down comprehensibly.
If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.
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.
A proportion of the course is delivered online via the website, so you will have to make considerable us of a computer and the internet. If you have severely impaired sight you may not be able to achieve some of the course learning outcomes, as the course relies heavily on coloured images, video sequences and visual identification.
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 and scientific materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. 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.
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:
OU study book, study guide, online video and audio activities, interactive map, website.
A basic scientific calculator.
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.
You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.
You can contact a team of expert science study advisers through an online discussion forum, and they will be able to help you with academic questions to do with the course and the assessment. There will also be an online discussion forum that you can use to get in touch with study advisers and other students.
Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.
The assessment details for this course can be found in the facts box above.
You must use the online system to submit your end-of-module assessment (EMA).
You have to submit the single piece of written work for assessment after 21 weeks. There will be no other opportunity to complete the course.
The details given here are for the course that starts in April and October 2014, and April 2015 when it will be available for the last time.
Students who studied this course also studied at some time:
To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.
“Great little course, you will learn a lot about both poles, how they affect our planet and the array of ...”
“Not very intensive as to be expected, but enjoyable none the less. Some of the topics covered here I found ...”
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.
|About this course:|
|Course work includes:|
|No residential school|
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