We continue our series about the School’s modules under lockdown with a post from Prof. John Dixon, Module Team Chair for the very important second level module DE200 Investigating Psychology 2.
DE200 Investigating Psychology 2 is one of three modules that form the core of our BPS-accredited psychology qualifications. It builds on work completed in D100 and prepares students for their independent project work on DE300. This year we had the largest student intake in the module’s history, with over 3200 students registered. This makes us one of the most important modules offered by the Open University, and also, we believe, by far the largest Level 2 psychology module in the UK.
The module team often describe DE200 as doing the ‘heavy lifting’ of our main psychology qualifications. DE200 covers a wide range of core topics in biological, cognitive, developmental, and social psychology, focusing on the relevance of psychology to everyday questions such as ‘why do we help one another?’, ‘how does my brain work?’ and ‘are boys and girls born or made?’. In so doing, it invites students to think about how different areas of psychology might complement or differ from one another. It also invites them to consider how these different areas might be integrated. Indeed, the theme of integrating psychological knowledges runs throughout the module. At the same time, DE200 lays the foundations for our students’ core methodological training in psychology, introducing them to a range of fundamental techniques in quantitative and qualitative methods. For example, we cover key forms of statistical analysis such as t-tests, Analysis of Variance, and regression, as well as key forms of qualitative analysis, notably thematic analysis. Broader methodological issues such as research ethics, reflexivity, and the development of good research questions are also covered.
In short, DE200 is a rich, exciting, but also pretty challenging module. It is designed to help students to bridge the gap between introductory level training in psychology and more advanced undergraduate level psychology. Students who complete the module successfully will have developed a more sophisticated understanding of psychology as a discipline. They will also have developed valuable skills in research design and methodology, which they will extend and apply in DE300.
All of this means that DE200 is a step up in terms of difficulty from Level 1 psychology! Students can expect a period of adjustment in the beginning and then, for most of them, a period of growth, intellectual excitement, and success.
In the current circumstances of the Covid19-pandemic, the module team recognizes that DE200 students race numerous challenges, including financial, health, mental and familial difficulties. We face those challenges ourselves. The pandemic has also affected how DE200 is delivered and assessed. Teaching research methods without face-to-face tuition events, for example, has been difficult. We have also had to move to a remote, online, examination rather than a standard ‘sat’ examination and to adjust some of our assessments (e.g. we cannot yet ask students to collect data face-to-face with participants). Without minimizing the impact of these disruptions, the module team would also highlight that they can and have been overcome. Indeed, last year we had some of the best performance statistics in the module’s history in terms of pass rates, student evaluations, and overall performance levels, despite the ravages of COVID. We are working hard to ensure that our students continue to enjoy the module, to develop as psychologists, and to progress successfully in their qualifications and future careers.