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Diploma of Higher Education in Criminology and Psychological Studies - Learning Outcomes

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Educational aims

This is an interdisciplinary diploma that will provide you with an introduction to the social sciences but will focus on advancing your understanding of criminology and psychology.

The qualification will provide you with the opportunity to:

  • understand and apply social science concepts and theories to complex areas related to criminology and psychology
  • develop an understanding of the relationship between criminology and psychological explanations of behaviour
  • acquire the skills, knowledge and confidence to move to Level 3 study
  • develop professional and practical skills that can be applied to further learning and the world of work.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this diploma you will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • key concepts, theories and debates distinctive to criminology, psychology and/or related subjects
  • the contested and/or social nature of knowledge in criminology, psychology or related fields, including a critical stance towards taken-for-granted understandings of the social world
  • the significance of different value positions that inform competing perspectives in social science, criminology and psychology
  • how the tools and knowledge of criminology, psychology and related subjects can contribute to an understanding of issues of ethical, social, political and public concern.

Cognitive skills

On completion of this diploma you will be able to:

  • identify and review different kinds of evidence in relation to criminology, psychology and related fields
  • demonstrate awareness of contrasting/conflicting approaches and explanations in criminology, psychology and related fields
  • appreciate a range of methods used in criminology, psychology and related subjects
  • present arguments, evidence and conclusions in a way that is suitable to criminology and psychology or related subjects
  • work with conceptual frameworks and be able to engage in discussions of theories in criminology, psychology or related fields.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this diploma you will be able to:

  • use skills that are transferable to broader contexts such as the workplace: e.g. select suitable evidence, make use of critical feedback, analyse critically, write concisely to address a question or a problem
  • plan and manage a sequence of work that meets a deadline
  • apply your knowledge in an appropriately scholarly manner, and take responsibility for monitoring and reflecting on your own learning
  • present information and arguments in a variety of ways using suitable formats, including written, reports, presentations and electronic discussions.

Key skills

On completion of this diploma you will be able to:

  • interact with and apply material from a wide range of sources, including original and primary material, some of which is found independently
  • interpret information presented in visual/statistical data, e.g. images, maps, graphs, diagrams, charts, tables
  • produce written work that coherently integrates a range of materials and concepts in order to create a logical and substantiated argument
  • use ICT for learning and study support so that you can send, retrieve and prepare information using computers, using a variety of formats.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

Knowledge and understanding are acquired in a number of different ways. Through its range of modules the qualification provides published distance learning materials, study guides and module companions, assignment and project guides. Learning is also organised via a range of multimedia material (through DVD and interactive online activities such as self-assessment questions), directed readings, original texts and through feedback on assignments. Assessment is, in the majority of cases, via tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) and end-of-module assessment (EMA) or examination. Structured online discussion forums moderated by tutors and module team members will support your learning and reflection upon your learning.

Cognitive skills are built up through the levels of the qualification and are taught and assessed through TMAs and end-of-module assessment. Assessment tasks include essays, reports, policy analysis, newspaper and other artefactual analysis, web-based exercises and literature evaluation. Cognitive skills progress from developing a critical understanding and an understanding of academic procedures and methods at Level 1, through to an ability to compare and contrast at Level 2.

Key skills are developed and demonstrated at the different levels of the qualification. At Level 1 there is considerable emphasis on reading, writing and note-taking skills and this is reflected in the study materials, assessment strategies and tutor feedback on assignments. Reflective learning is built into Level 1 modules in order to support your awareness of how you are learning and how you can improve your attainment of key academic skills by best use of the resources around you. At Level 1 you are also introduced to a range of ICT skills. At Level 2 skills become more advanced. More complex skills of interpretation, critical judgement, selection and synthesis are required. At Level 2 independent learning is firmly embedded: you will be encouraged and rewarded to search for and deploy information by yourselves, within contexts defined by the module team. Understanding and working with a range of sources and different kinds of evidence at Level 2 will develop key analytic and evaluative skills.

Practical and professional skills are taught and assessed through the qualification and employability and transferrable skills are delivered through reflective learning, which is a key part of Level 1 modules. At Level 2 these skills are developed more explicitly in relation to your journey towards your personal and work/career goals.

At Level 2 practical and professional skills are emphasised in a number of ways depending on the choice of modules made. For example, some modules and subjects will place an emphasis on the application of theory to policy or research documents.

The modules use a range of assessment tools and you will be exposed to the idea that there are different formats for the presentation of argument and evidence depending on audience and institutional setting, such as reports, presentations and team presentations, as well as essays.

Support is provided by tutors and other OU staff, and there are also resources such as the social sciences subject website and other programme and University support that will actively used with the modules to enhance wider engagement with the subjects studied.

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