Psychology, Winter postcards from our modules

A winter postcard from module DE100 Investigating Psychology 1


We continue our series of winter postcards from the School’s modules, written by the academics who work mostly closely with students and tutors, the Staff Tutors. Here the team from DE100 write about the first psychology-specific module on the School’s undergraduate qualifications.

Hello and welcome to our winter postcard for DE100. We are Gillian Ferrier, Janine Liladhar, Paige Cuffe and Rhiannon Edwards,the Psychology and Counselling Staff Tutors who work on the DE100 Module Team. We’re part of a much bigger team of Staff Tutors, but we cover Scotland, East Midlands, South East, and the South West, respectively. We have a range of backgrounds and we’re a diverse, hard-working and passionate team.

What do we do?

We have two complementary roles, both of which relate to students and tutors.

First, as Staff Tutors, we support both Associate Lecturers and students on a range of modules, in the regions we cover. Essentially, we’re the first contact in the School of Psychology and Counselling should you or your tutor need a little further information or guidance. This does mean that no two days are the same for us! Sometimes we’re out in the region visiting you all at day schools, other times we may be ensuring that everything is planned and prepared for an upcoming event, and other days may require our desks to be covered in post-it notes as we timetable the learning events for you to attend!

We all also undertake additional scholarship projects which are linked to teaching and learning. We use our research skills to continue to improve the OU’s delivery of innovative distance learning, ensuring we’re doing the best for the staff and student experience.

 Second, as members of the DE100 Module Team, we’re part of the group of people who produce the module materials and then manage the module while it’s in presentation, i.e. being delivered and studied. We’re a team employed in different capacities. Aongside those of us in the Staff Tutor Role, there are Central Academics and Curriculum Managers on the team.

Of all the Module Team, Staff Tutors work most closely with Associate Lecturers and students. This means that we have a unique perspective on DE100 and we use this to complement our colleagues’ stronger understanding and unique perspectives in other areas.

A further part of our role is to support our Staff Tutor colleagues across the rest of the UKon all things DE100-related.

What’s happening at the moment on DE100?

 As the New Year starts, students learn about behaviourism. As you may know, behaviourism is rooted in the work of B.F. Skinner who undertook research on conditioning rats and pigeons. He then applied his research findings to humans by exploring how human behaviour can be altered or shaped by reinforcement.

Alongside this content, DE100 students are undertaking activities to develop their skills in constructing an argument, as well as in team working, by acting as members of an ethics panel with other students.

What are the students enjoying about this module?

DE100 is an exciting module for both students and Associate Lecturers as it’s the first psychology-specific module our students study. DE100 allows our students to explore well-known psychologists (including household names like Skinner and Freud) and psychological concepts, but the module also allows students to think in a more critical way.

DE100 also develops students’ study skills further. The module builds strong foundations from which students can investigate their curiosity in psychology and the way the brain works. For students who aren’t sure what module to take next, DE100 offers a taste of what psychology is, helping them to shape their future decisions.

What do you enjoy about the module?

As a group of Staff Tutors, we have the pleasure of watching students develop throughout their study. We also see our Associate Lecturers and students bond.

At the beginning of DE100, students are often new to the OU. This may also be the first time they encounter the concepts underpinning psychology. As the module progresses, the students develop the study skills they will require for Level 2 study. Watching the students enjoy psychology and develop their critical approaches to the subject is something which we enjoy year on year!

What message would you send to current and future students?

Sometimes, on any module, the going can be tough and we won’t pretend that you won’t have challenging times on DE100. However, the module is so varied, interesting and well written, with lots of activities woven in throughout, that it holds your interest from start to finish. So, if you are struggling now, things may well improve very quickly and if you keep going you’ll be rewarded. If things don’t improve very quickly, contact your tutor and/or the SST and ask for help.

If you would like to have a free taster of DE100 please go to




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