Continuing our series in which Associate Lecturers introduce modules that they tutor on, Aoife Thornton tells you about DD210 Living Psychology.
Hello. My name is Aoife Thornton. I’ve been tutoring on psychology modules with the OU for eleven years. I’ve worked on DD210 since its first presentation in 2015 – and I’m still a fan! I’m an ex-OU psychology student so I appreciate the trials, tribulations, joys and successes of OU distance learning. This means that I can see DD210 both from a tutor and a student perspective.
What do you like about DD210?
First and foremost, I love that DD210 is all about issues that are relevant to our day to day lives. It makes psychology ‘real’. DD210 takes us on a journey through a wide range of interesting topics which address questions about everyday human behaviours, belief systems, perceptions of our place in the world, and more. Many of its topics are universal ,while people may find others relevant only at specific times or in the past or maybe in the future.
I particularly like that DD210 presents its material in a very structured and helpful way. We have five blocks with a broad theme – like understanding minds, or understanding relationships, or how we make sense of the physical world around us (and sometimes fail to do so!). Each block covers four topics relevant to the theme. There’s also skills development material and each week covers a relevant research method. So you might find yourself learning about presenting psychological concepts non-textually, or developing your critical analysis skills. One block presents methods used to investigate belief in conspiracy theories. Another considers research in robotics and artificial intelligence.
What do students find interesting about DD210?
Students like the variety of subject areas and psychological approaches. Here is a random snapshot of topics: Artificial intelligence, Conflict in close relationships, Nations and immigration, Conspiracy theories, Living online…. the list goes on. You’ll learn that people’s experiences change their understandings and vice versa. You’ll understand your own behaviour better, and that of people around you, and ideas and trends in society and in social behaviour. This module opens the mind.
What’s the particular benefit of this module for a student working towards a psychology qualification?
DD210 focuses on a diverse range of research methods via its many interesting topics so you get to see ‘psychology in action’. There’s a diverse range of assignment types so you won’t get bored writing lots of essays, that’s for sure. One part-assignment that students tend to really like is a presentation using non-textual materials to represent their experiences. That one can be fun!
DD210 broadens your understanding of psychology not just from a theoretical perspective but also as an applieddiscipline. A lot of your focus will be on how psychological knowledge is used to inform understanding of human behaviour and how it impacts on real world scenarios. This means that the module complements the research-focused core psychology modules.
What do some students find challenging?
Some of the topics may be challenging for some students because the topic is personally relevant. (We give you suggestions for how to approach these topics, and don’t forget the availability of your tutor and the Student Support Team.)
The different types of assignments can look a bit challenging at first but don’t worry – the module doesn’t presume prior knowledge. It teaches all the appropriate skills.
What’s your advice for students who are starting?
My top tip is to approach DD210 as a module to enjoy. With its different approaches and diverse topics and applied scenarios there’s something here for everyone and the content overall is eye-opening and deeply interesting.
Another tip is to work through as much of the material as you can possibly manage, rather than being selective. This will help you achieve an overall understanding. It will also be invaluable for the EMA, which addresses topics across the module.
A final point…
If you’re coming to DD210 from DE100 Investigating Psychology 1, you’ll be able to deepen and broaden your learning and skillset via exciting areas of theory and application. Many of you will be moving on from DD210 to DE200 and you’ll really enjoy this interim step. If you’re coming to DD210 without any prior study of psychology, you will find yourselves introduced to what psychology is and does via interesting and well-presented topics and – don’t worry – the online content will support your development of relevant skills.
To all of you, may you enjoy DD210. It is interesting. It is fun. It doesn’t pull punches and it isn’t afraid to take a critical stance. Hooray for that!