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- Learning outcomes

Educational aims

This qualification aims to give you:

  • a life-long interest in biology through modules that are accessible to people of all educational backgrounds
  • an understanding of the roles of different scientific subjects and their relationship to biology
  • a breadth and depth of contemporary knowledge in a range of biological areas, covering molecular, cellular and whole organism levels
  • opportunities to apply and demonstrate knowledge and learning and develop a range of professional skills, including practical skills from undertaking biological investigations
  • an understanding of how scientific knowledge develops, with an appreciation of the limits of biological knowledge
  • opportunities to practise and develop creativity and innovation through problem solving
  • support and guidance to develop as an independent learner, with the acquisition of a range of transferable employability skills relevant to a wide range of careers within education, research, development and industry.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this qualification, you’ll have knowledge and understanding of:

  • the fundamental concepts, principles, theories, methods and language used in the main branches of biology and their role in the world around us
  • the inherent variability of biological systems
  • at least one selected area of biology at the forefront of the discipline, informed by independent research.

Cognitive skills

On completion of this qualification, you’ll be able to:

  • apply conceptual understanding of biological knowledge to devise and implement research strategies, develop and present reasoned arguments, and solve problems in both familiar and unfamiliar contexts
  • identify, interpret, analyse, critically evaluate and synthesise biological information from a variety of sources
  • review, consolidate and extend your knowledge and understanding of biological subjects.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this qualification, you’ll be able to:

  • conduct practical investigations in a responsible, safe and ethical manner, taking proper account of risk assessment and health and safety considerations
  • obtain, record, collate and analyse data derived from practical investigations and/or fieldwork using appropriate numerical skills and statistical methods, and interpret and report their significance, taking into consideration underlying theory, practical issues and relevant information from other sources
  • initiate, design, conduct and report on investigations that may involve the acquisition of primary or secondary data
  • take personal responsibility to identify goals and organise your tasks effectively, recognising the necessity for continuing development personally, professionally and in your studies.

Key skills

On completion of this qualification, you’ll be able to:

  • communicate biological data, information, arguments and ideas accurately and effectively using written, oral, visual and numerical forms in a style that suits purpose and audience
  • select and apply appropriate quantitative methods and tools, appreciating the limits of accuracy and precision in biological measurements
  • use a range of digital practices and tools to retrieve, use, create, analyse and share relevant data, information and knowledge from a variety of sources
  • apply the methods and techniques you’ve learned, to initiate and carry out research projects, developing your project management skills
  • work effectively with others to explore aspects of biology, enhance your learning, and achieve joint outcomes, developing your team building and leadership skills.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course materials; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and student community forums.

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