My criminology and psychological studies degree, which I am completing with the Open University, requires me to complete 5 compulsory modules and one free choice module. In October 2012 I began DD301 (Crime and Justice) and alongside this I opted to take K115, (Foundations for Effective Practice in Youth Justice) to count as my free choice module. I thought that choosing this would give me an insight into youth justice as much of my experience has been with adult offenders.
So yesterday, 29th May 2013, I submitted my final essay for K115 which was a 3000 word essay discussing ‘what’s hot’ in youth justice at the moment and ‘what’s not.’ We also had to write 500 words explaining how the module has influenced our practice and how we have developed professionally.
I have decided that now I this module is complete (yay!) I will review my experience of the module on here for any other OU students (or youth work fanatics!) When registering for this module it was clear that it would not be the same format that I have been used to for the previous two years as there were no core text books. When my module materials arrived I have 3 Learning guides, a module guide and an update supplement – this did scare me a little! It was made clear that much of the material was accessed online via the student website as being a ‘practice focused’ module it is very much concerned with what is currently going on in the youth justice system and how you, as a youth justice practitioner, should be working. From the onset it was very different to any other module I have completed and it did take me a little while to get used to.
I did struggle throughout the whole module with having no text books, I understand that having the majority of resources online was important for the module as it meant that information was relevant and up to date and it developed research skills and familiarised us with websites important for youth justice practitioners. However I don’t retain information well at all from a computer – I really need ‘proper’ books, and so I don’t know how much in depth information I actually took in.
The themes we studied throughout were extremely interesting and thought provoking and, when I have more time over the summer, there will be articles and books mentioned which I will be checking out.
K115 is a level 1 module (which is equivalent to first year brick university) and in comparison with DD101 (Introducing the social Sciences) which was my first every OU module, another level 1, I found the workload for K115 much greater. I’m not sure if this is because, as mentioned, K115 in a ‘practice’ module but there was two 3000 word essays and I would compare at least 2 of the essays throughout the year to be the same level/style as level 2 module essays.
As always the OU forums and Facebook support groups for the module were fantastic and really helpful when essay time comes round!
I was pleased with my essay results, which increased slightly over the year but stayed steady, and now have to wait for a final module grade – no doubt I will share my results in a separate post! Overall I enjoyed the themes and activities for K115, however in comparison with previous modules I struggled with the lack of set text books and the vast amount of information provided electronically. I would be very keen to hear from anyone else who has studied any area of youth justice particularly those who have done so with the OU.