Studying at the Open University

31 Aug 2011 - 4:54pm
4 years ago
3 replies
2275 reads

I am about to start studying at the Open University (opens in new window), and picking modules that will increase my knowledge and progress my career as a UX designer. The modules cover cognitive psychology, technology and design. This is what I am looking at so far:

Level 2 modules

  • T211 - Design and designing
  • DSE212 - Exploring Psychology
  • T215 - Communication and information technologies


Level 3 modules

  • DD303 - Cognitive psychology
  • T324 - Keeping ahead in information and communication technologies
  • MYT364 - Fundamentals of interaction design
  • Innovation: designing for a sustainable future


I am carrying across credits from previous study in graphic communication so I don’t need to pursue level 1 modules. Has anyone else here covered these modules, and if so did you find they compliment your day-to-day work as an interaction designer?

The module I am most in a quandary about is Exploring Psychology. I am encouraged that it will explore statistics and producing qualititative and quantitiative reports, as well as a grounding in what I will need to know for the level 3 cognitive psychology module. I am worried that it will cover a lot wider spectrum of pyschology which will not be of relevance. If there are others here who have studied psychology, I would be interested to learn if you think this is the case, or if my concerns are unfounded.

I work full-time, so I will be studying these on a part-time basis.


3 Sep 2011 - 12:23pm
Caroline Jarrett

If you're not sure of the path you should take at the Open University, I'd strongly recommend booking a session with an educational adviser at one of their open events at regional and national centres.

(Disclosure: the Open University is my main consultancy client).

I've done various sessions of work observation and also met their advisers in other sessions, and I have always been very impressed with the quality of the advice they give.

Even though you have credit to carry across, you might also consider U101 - Design thinking: Creativity for the 21st Century because it looks like it's very relevant to designers and would ease you into distance learning. It is also the recommended preparation for T211.

I'm not exactly sure how the rules for credit transfer work in the context of named degrees, but note that U101 is a compulsory module in the degree in Design and Innovation, and that might make a nice target to aim for.

Another option for easing yourself into distance learning would be Y183 - exploring psychology.

DSE211 seems like a good general introduction to psychology. If you want to be sure it's covering the right topics for you, that's another reason to talk to an educational adviser. You can also view the course materials at a regional or national centre.

One major tip: don't try to study too much at a time. 60pts of study = 16 hours a week i.e. three solid evenings plus 8 hours study over the weekend - every single week from February to October. Don't underestimate it. 120pts of study = 32 hours a week i.e. full time study.

Good luck and I hope you enjoy your studies as much as I have mine! (I've got an Open University MBA)




3 Sep 2011 - 1:00pm

Caroline, thank you for your reply. I have been reading more in to The Open University and they also strongly advise to take a Level 1 course if you have never studied from a distance before, or you have not studied for some time. It is true for me on both accounts, so probably as you and the OU advise, I will look to do a Level 1 first. It is interesting that you mentioned Design for the 21st Century, as this and My Digital Life were options I have been considering at Level 1.

I will look to talk to an educational adviser and see if there are any open days near me. Thanks again.

3 Sep 2011 - 3:53pm
Caroline Jarrett

TU100 - My Digital Life is indeed another possibility.

I mentioned U101 - Design for the 21st Century because it's a better fit with your other choices in terms of maybe heading towards the named degree. But of course, one of the good things about OU study is that you can make up your own programme (within some limits of number of levels) and aim for an Open Degree rather than a named degree.

Another point to bear in mind is that the fee structure is changing dramatically for students in England, so you might weigh up whether to start soon (fees are lower but you have to pay as you go) or start later (fees are higher but you may be eligible for a student loan that gets paid off over 30 years).



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