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The University of Southampton

HLTH6133 Open Learning

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To give you the opportunity to demonstrate autonomy and innovation by compiling a detailed profile of a healthcare/ health sciences topic demonstrating appraisal of relevant evidence which may lead to recommendations for practice. This is an open, flexible independent learning module. You will be allocated an academic coach who will be available for up to 10 contact hours. These contact hours may be face to face (in person or via Skype), by telephone and by email depending upon need, preference and availability. You will work with their academic coach to: • Identify and negotiate a Healthcare/Sciences subject / project. • Apply and develop the module learning outcomes to their subject of study. • Select an appropriate method of assessment from a list of those deemed suitable to the nature of the topic or project. • Agree a learning contract which details the points above and a proposed schedule for attainment including mode(s) of contact between student and coach. NB Where students undertaking the MSc in Health Sciences select to undertake more than one open module they must demonstrate to the Programme Lead that the topic of each subsequent open module is relevant to the overall aim or trajectory of the programme of study.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an ability to work independently and autonomously to either create innovative solutions to practice based problems ­or to subject a contentious health-related topic to critical analysis.
  • Demonstrate an ability to think strategically as well as operationally and to interpret, analyse and present highly complex data and information related to your identified topic or work-based problem and to critically appraise literature relevant to it.
  • Demonstrate an extensive knowledge of the current health and social care policy relevant to your selected topic or field of practice and the ability to critically apply this with initiative, and originality, to the development of local services or to your identified focus of study.
  • Demonstrate critical analysis of influences on professional practice or ideology including research, legislation and governance.
  • Demonstrate synthesis of Learning Outcomes 1-4 in an innovative assignment.
  • Demonstrate the development of your programme of study by building on preceding modules (depth) and by justifying diversification from them (breadth).*
  • Demonstrate three additional learning outcomes relevant to your topic of study, identified through negotiation with your academic coach.


There is no taught content to the module. Content will be determined at initial learning contract and developed iteratively as the study progresses. It must demonstrate consistency with the applied learning outcomes. It is anticipated that your independent learning will be spent in some of the following: searching for and accessing relevant academic sources, critically appraising these and applying them to your focus of study, reading generally and widely, discussing with colleagues from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds, undertaking evaluations of practice, and determining how best to disseminate your findings including facilitating professional conversations or drafting presentations/materials for formal or informal publication.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module will be delivered using an Independent Learning model. You will be supported in your learning by an academic coach. Using a comprehensive, detailed and clearly defined learning contract, you will identify the aims and objectives of a specific practice based project or academic topic and the methods by which successful achievement and underpinning knowledge will be assessed. The contract will be agreed with your academic coach and, where applicable, professional practice mentor.

Independent Study490
Total study time500

Resources & Reading list

There are no set books and students access literature according to their learning outcomes. University electronic resources (library, module Blackboard site) can be accessed following registration on the module.. 

Access to the module Blackboard site will give you: • Information about the module processes • Advice from the student learning advisors and module leader regarding academic writing • link to the study skills package • Exemplars of good assignments from previous students • Exemplars of learning contracts • Assessment assistance guidelines. 


Assessment Strategy

Formative assessment: Negotiation of a learning contract including the method of summative assessment, and submission of records of meetings with your academic coach. Summative assessment: Through the negotiation of a learning contract with your academic coach (and if applicable including input from a professional practice mentor) you are required to identify a method of assessment equivalent to a 3500-word assignment Examples of potential assessment methods are as follows: • A strategy document • A business plan • A change management project report or proposal • A clinical or practice guideline • An economic evaluation • An Investigation of an incident or complaint • A presentation to a Trust board or sub committee • A professional conversation • A ‘conference’ poster and supporting paper • An educational package • An academic essay of 3,500 words Once the method of assessment has been identified you will determine, with your academic coach the component parts which will be required to achieve the learning outcomes and generic master’s level assignment criteria. Guidance on level descriptors is provided in the module handbook.


Negotiation of a learning contract


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: External

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