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    An undergraduate course in Science.

The geological record of environmental change

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This course explores how we can track environmental change through the geological record. It begins with the sedimentary sequences produced by changes in relative sea level, and the likely role of climatic and tectonic processes in producing these changes. You’ll also examine the greenhouse world of the Cretaceous and its tropical/subtropical marine environments; high latitude terrestrial environments; the effect on the environment of large igneous provinces and meteorite impacts; and the mass extinction event at the end of the period. Finally, the course documents the Ice Age, offering possible explanations for the natural climatic changes during the last 2.6 million years.

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
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£985.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£985.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

An additional fee for the examination may apply.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£865.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2015.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
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 2015.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

This course comprises three books with associated study guides, DVDs and a home kit of rock specimens.

Book 1, The Sedimentary Record of Sea-Level Change, considers a relatively new development: sequence stratigraphy. This explores the nature of sedimentary sequences produced by changes of relative sea level and the likely roles of climatic and tectonic processes in producing local, regional and global changes. The book takes examples from the geological record, including Carboniferous, Jurassic, Cretaceous and Neogene successions in Europe and the USA.

Book 2, The Cretaceous World, applies the skills in palaeo-environmental interpretation developed in Book 1. It has three parts. The first examines selected tropical/subtropical marine environments; the second high-latitude (but not cold) terrestrial environments; and the third the extent and effect of large igneous provinces and meteorite impacts on Cretaceous environments and the mass extinction event at the end of the period.

Book 3, The Great Ice Age, documents the natural climatic changes that have occurred during the last 2.6 million years and explores possible explanations. Some of the biological effects of the climatic upheavals are examined, including palaeo-ecological changes that affected plants and insects.

Entry

This is a Level 3 course. Level 3 courses build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from previous 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. 

This course builds directly on Geology (S276) and we strongly recommend that you study it and other Level 2 science, such as Our dynamic planet: Earth and life (S279), before this course. 

It is essential that you establish whether or not your background and experience give you a sound basis on which to tackle the course. The Science Faculty has produced a series of Are You Ready For Science? booklets, to help you to decide whether you have the appropriate background knowledge or experience to tackle your chosen course successfully. There are individual booklets for most 30-credit and 60-credit science courses and for some science residential courses. These can be viewed or printed as a PDF from the Are you ready for science? website. 

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

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

You will occasionally be required to observe and interpret small-scale features of rocks in the home kit and on DVD, so good visual acuity and, preferably, the ability to distinguish colours are required to fulfill the learning outcomes. Alternatively, use of a sighted assistant may be appropriate. The study materials are available in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), with screen readable versions of the three main texts available on request only from the Disability Resources Team. Components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and mathematical, scientific, and foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. Written transcripts are available for the audio-visual material. You may need to draw diagrams or to annotate by hand diagrams that you download, and then use either a scanner or a digital camera to produce files of these diagrams for inclusion in your assessment. 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:

  • 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

Course books, other printed materials, DVDs, home kit, a website (where you can download the assessment and many of the study materials).

You will need

You will need access to the website at least once a week during the course to download online materials, including the course assignments, and to keep up to date with course news items.

You may need to draw diagrams or to annotate by hand diagrams that you download, and then use either a scanner or a digital camera to produce files of these diagrams for inclusion in your assessment.

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 who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. Tutorial support will be available online.   

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 can be found 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.

Assessment is an essential part of the learning process, so you are expected to complete it all.

Professional recognition

The course may help you to gain recognition from a professional body. Geoscience students are currently entitled to apply for Candidate Fellowship of the Geological Society. See The Geological Society of London website for further information. 

Future availability

The details given here are for the course that starts in February and October 2014. It will be available again for the last time in October 2015.

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

“S369 was most definitely my favourite OU course to date. I particularly enjoyed book 2 on The Cretaceous World, which ...”
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“I had a number of difficulties during this year and might have skimmed over the study material to a certain ...”
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“As is expected for level 3 university courses, students needs to read and engage with the module materials. In level ...”
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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 S369
Credits 30
OU Level 3
SCQF level 10
FHEQ level 6
Course work includes:
3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
Examination
No residential school

Course satisfaction survey

See the satisfaction survey results for this course.

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