|About this course:|
|Course work includes:|
|6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)|
|No residential school|
In this interdisciplinary course you’ll cover key areas of international development. These include: different models of development; shifting power in the international system; the relationship between poverty, inequality and livelihoods; the impact of conflict and insecurity; and the role of technology and the environment. The history of development as a process of change, the power relationships in that process and the different scales at which development takes place from transnational to local, are themes running throughout the course. These themes integrate the material – using a mix of case studies, interactive activities, text and DVD – to provide a central narrative encouraging critical appraisal and curiosity.
Modules at Level 2 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.
International development highlights some of the most pressing challenges facing us in the twenty-first century. This course introduces you to the context of development, its contested nature, its links to global processes of economic and social change, and everyday choices and uncertainties. It is open to anyone with a professional or personal interest in international development, international relations, social and political sciences.
A unique feature of the course is its focus on critical reflection and on understanding development from a personal level, as well as its global and policy implications. You will use a variety of teaching media: video and audio, podcasts, websites, computer-based interactive resources, online forums, and two books that make up the core of the course. The content is divided into six blocks.
Focusing on the rise and decline of two cities, Shanghai and Detroit, Block 1 introduces you to the key debates and theories in international development and international studies. It identifies new centres of power, state and non-state actors, and focuses on understanding new forms of organisation and public action in the context of development. You will begin to develop historical awareness by working through a timeline for Shanghai and Detroit mapped against global and national events, and examining the development of these cities in the context of shifting international power relationships. You will also have an opportunity to begin to reflect on your own understandings of what development means.
Block 2 is concerned with the changing world system and how we conceptualise development, as well as teaching contemporary material on the economic rise of countries such as Brazil, India and China. It combines debates in international political economy, international relations and development as well as geographical concepts of scale. The block is designed to introduce you to the changing economic and political balance (hegemony) of the international system – including the power of non-state actors such as transnational corporations and cities – enabling you to examine the drivers of development in emerging economies in the context of power shifts over time. You will also begin to analyse data and understand its potential to conceal as much as to inform development policy and debates.
One of the most contentious areas of development studies is the debate about how to address the mass poverty that still afflicts many parts of the world. Block 3 critically analyses contemporary debates on poverty and inequality in the current changing world context. It looks at concepts and measures, why they are contested, and why they matter for policy and practice. Using case studies, the block also reviews different frameworks for analysing livelihoods and ways of making a living for people on low incomes, and critically appraises different initiatives to improve livelihoods. The block ends with a debate on the focus and content of aid, how it is changing, and whether aid is 'doing the right thing' to alleviate poverty.
Do we need security to have development? Do insecurity, conflict and vulnerability hamper development goals? How can the most vulnerable people protect themselves or at least prepare for the future? To answer these questions, Block 4 builds upon discussions and conceptual tools developed in previous blocks and looks at how security concerns have entered development policies and actions. It explores the ‘security-development nexus’ with a focus on different forms of insecurity: from national to individual, and from global to local. The block offers you the opportunity to understand how security and development have become interconnected and to critically assess current policies as well as reflecting on what should be done. In this block you’ll further explore the role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), campaign groups, communities and movements for change within developing as well as developed societies.
Block 5 is taught entirely online because its focus is the link between technology, resources and the environment in relation to development. It asks how equitable development can be sustained in a world of finite resources, where demand for energy especially is pressing and where issues such as climate change threaten past, present and future gains. The block analyses in a hands-on way – via an online role play – how diversity and difference across the world might be turned into a source of knowledge and appropriate action.
Finally Block 6 concludes the course through revision and integrating course material, and encourages you to think critically about ‘ways forward'. It provides you with the opportunity to reflect upon and consolidate your understanding of:
On completion of the course, you are expected to gain an understanding of the contested meanings and challenges of contemporary international development, taking into account the history of the international system, the role of power and agency, and processes of development at different scales. You will examine in detail major development issues through case studies focusing on a country, programme or policy. At the same time as studying international development, this course will also develop your reading, writing, analytical and communication skills. It will help you evaluate information and arguments, interpret and use data in a variety of graphical and numerical forms, and use particular software applications and computers for information-searching, communication and collaboration. The course is also designed to heighten your ability to become an independent learner. Such skills and attributes are highly valued by employers and can be applied to a wide variety of contexts.
While open to anyone with an interest in the issues covered, this course has particular vocational relevance to those working, or wanting to work, in the development field. You will gain knowledge and understanding of international and development issues, and be able to apply this to problem solving within professional practice, including informing policy debates and report writing. You will work in a variety of settings including independently and in collaboration with colleagues from diverse backgrounds, demonstrating effective communication skills and adaptability. Critical reflection is a key component of the course, enabling you to develop an understanding of the origins and impact of individual viewpoint, your own and that of others, on policy formulation and decision-making. Also importantly for development debates is to consider how equality, social justice and inclusion might be incorporated into development practice alongside established concerns such as economic growth and environmental sustainability.
This is a Level 2 course and you need to have some knowledge of the subject area or social sciences in general, obtained either through Level 1 study with the OU, or by doing equivalent work at another university.
Either of the Level 1 courses Introducing the social sciences (DD101)) or Environment: journeys through a changing world (U116) would be ideal preparation.
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.
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.
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:
Course books, other printed materials, DVD, and website including activities, resources, podcasts and optional supplementary materials.
A DVD player.
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 will have a tutor who will help you with the course material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. We may also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the course.
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 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.
The details given here are for the course that starts in October 2013. We expect it to be available once a year.
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.
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:|
|6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)|
|No residential school|
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