Psychology, Winter postcards from our modules

A winter postcard from DE200 Investigating Psychology 2


We continue our series of winter postcards from the School’s Staff Tutors, about the modules they support. Marianna Latif, Tracey Elder and Malik Refaat write about the important Level 2 module, DE200.

 We are three Staff Tutors that work on the module team for DE200.  We act as the point of liaison between the tutors and the University. We will often hear about any issues that students and tutors are experiencing and help to find solutions. We strive to ensure students get the best possible experience while studying this critical module in the Psychology and Counselling programme.

What’s happening at the moment on DE200?

DE200 is the compulsory Level 2 module for the Open University’s BPS-validated Psychology and Counselling qualifications. The module provides a critical overview of psychological knowledge in the areas of social, cognitive, biological and developmental psychology, as well introducing as a selection of psychological research methods. At the end of the module, the students will have gained knowledge and skills that are required to become a professional psychologist.

So far, students have submitted two assignments. They are currently working on their first of two projects – the experimental quantitative report.  This is a critical point when students become researchers by running an experiment with their own participants, analysing the data and then writing it up in the form of a practical report.  These activities are the crux of psychology.

What do students gain from studying this module?

Students particularly enjoy the practical aspects of the module. Currently they are designing experiments, collecting data and conducting analyses using SPSS. Although these are useful skills, they can be challenging when attempted for the first time, as is the case on DE200. However, there is a lot of help and support available. For example, we have a dedicated Method support forum for the project.

For many students this project is a significant and rewarding milestone in their academic journey because they acquire the key transferable skills of collaboration, report writing, data analysis and independent literature research.

Later on in the module, students get the opportunity to explore qualitative research methods too, which allows them to develop the skills to analyse different kinds of data. They will gain practical experience of the thematic analysis of interviews.

What do we like about DE200?

Marianna: My key role on the module is to help to design and help implement tuition strategy. This means that I advise on the content, timing and delivery of the face to face and online tutorials. The most interesting part of this role is to be able to act on feedback from students, tutors and other colleagues, and to implement improvements to the tuition.

I am also responsible for organising staff development and training sessions for the tutors. We run TMA marking coordination meetings where we discuss consistent approaches to marking; inductions and briefings for new tutors; advice sessions on exam support – in short, we support our Tutors so that they can best support their students. This is a very rewarding role and I thoroughly enjoy interacting with tutors and developing a sense of community amongst colleagues who work with together at a distance.

Malik: My research interests are in perception. I previously researched visual perception, then completed a PhD in auditory perception, specifically perfect pitch and music perception. I’m interested in cognitive research and how we understand and represent the world around us. I find the DE200 chapter by Jason Rentfrew particularly interesting because his previous work has been useful for my own research. Because I have a strong background in statistics, I manage the quantitative methods forum as moderator.

Tracey: My key role is to assist with the various assessments on DE200.  I have a background in assessment having worked as the subject expert at the biggest exam board in the UK for GCSE and A-level Psychology. I have also published articles in this area.  Therefore, I am keen to ensure that our assessments on DE200 are both valid and reliable.

This means that I work with the module team to help produce the marking guidance that is provided to tutors to assist with their marking of both the TMAs and the examination.  My other research interest is in social identity theory, and this is also covered in the module materials.  Therefore, being part of the module team is a great fit for me as I can use my expertise and knowledge to support tutors and in a role I thoroughly enjoy.

What message would you send to current and future DE200 students?

To current students, we would like to say:

Make sure you are making full use of the support available: your tutor, the learning events, the forums, SST and the module website. At the end of this module you will be one step closer to completing your independent research on DE300 and becoming a researcher in psychology.

To our future students:

Why don’t you try some of the material covered in DE200 for yourself? You can visit our OpenLearn website and you can also take a free course ‘Making sense of ourselves’ here:

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