‘Open Box’ curriculum at the Open University – How we are helping students to make their learning count

Curry, George and Robson, Linda (2021). ‘Open Box’ curriculum at the Open University – How we are helping students to make their learning count. In: 5th Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching conference, 15 Apr 2021, Warwick.


Making you Learning Count (YXM130) is an online, innovative 30-credit undergraduate module at the Open University, UK. It enables students to plan, curate and undertake their own personalised curriculum. They do this through selecting a range of learning resources, for example OERs, across as many discipline areas as is appropriate for them. The module is designed around a series of assessment tasks and associated skills-based material. Students are required to take what they have learned from their curated suite of OERs (or other courses) and use it to complete the assessment tasks. These tasks include creating a poster, a blog post and a video as well as opportunities to reflect on their choices and study or career aims. The final assessment task is an opportunity to reflect on study choices and future plans, and to improve previous work in light of tutor feedback

The ‘open box’ module is designed to allow interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary study which supports students in developing cross-disciplinary thinking and approaches, as well as giving an opportunity to experience a range of discipline areas prior to committing to a specific degree pathway. This innovative module design allows every student to have an individualised learning experience tailored very precisely to their specific motivation and goals.

This presentation delivers a case study of the module team’s experiences of the first three presentations of the module to specific cohorts of students including young students in Scotland, corporate students sponsored by their employer and ‘standard’ students. The presentation will include reflections from students and staff who participated in the module on what has worked, and what challenges are presented with this type of module.

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