Do you know what the letters in the module codes mean?

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A. B, D, W … what on earth are all those letters about?

Some of them may be easy – but where on earth do they get the others?

  1. 1 What does "A" stand for?

    1. "Arts"
    2. "Anything" (they are "universal" modules)
    3. "Aviation"
    4. "History" (who said the initial letters had to be right?)
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Some modules even have AA codes. Why's that - are they doubly arty or something?

  2. 2 What does "T" stand for?

    1. "Teaching".
    2. "Technology"
    3. "Engineering" (who said the initial letters have to be right?)
    4. "Teamwork" - it gets into everything these days, so fair enough it gets its own code
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Bit of a trick one? The engineering modules do have T codes as well, but it actually stands for "technology", and engineering is part of that.

    Sadly, no "T" in the code to warn us of teamwork requirements...

  3. 3 What does "D" stand for?

    1. "Development studies"
    2. "Design"
    3. "Social Science" (who said the initial letters have to be right?)
    4. "Digital"
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Maybe another mean one? It is social science - but  "development" modules may be included.
    And then there's psychology being "special" with their DD codes!

  4. 4 What does "K" stand for?

    1. "Health or Social Care" (who said the initial letters have to be right?)
    2. "Knitting" There's a big market for the hobby students these days!
    3. "Korean" There's some new K-pop modules arriving soon
    4. "International Studies" (who said the initial letters have to be right here, either?)
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    K ??  Where on earth did they get that? Is it "Social Kare" do you think?

  5. 5 What does "U" stand for?

    1. "Universe" It's the OU's biggest research area, all that space stuff
    2. "Universal" - i.e.a module not tied to a particular subject area
    3. "Unseen" - a partner module with Unseen University
    4. "English Language" (Initial letters? meh)
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Still being tricksy... one of the English Language modules does indeed have a U code, but it's not the only U. Universal is as close as we can get!

  6. 6 What does "E" stand for?

    1. "English Language"
    2. "Education, Childhood and Youth"
    3. "Sport" (we've given up on those initial letters now, right?)
    4. Any of the others
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    What is it with these E codes?  They hadn't really run out of letters of the alphabet, so why does it mean so many different things?

  7. 7 What does "B" stand for?

    1. "Business"
    2. "Biology"
    3. "Law" (I'm so over this initial letter thing)
    4. "Busking" (It's part of the OU's social mission to improve the quality of buskers on our streets)
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Who knew? It's a nice logical one!  (Biology has an S for science code by the way)

  8. 8 What does "XY" in a module code mean?

    1. It's a combination of the subjects for both X and Y codes (whatever they may be)
    2. It's for blokes (I know my genetics - XY is male, right, and XX female?)
    3. It's a module for apprenticeships
    4. X means it's a project module. Y means it's an Access module. So it must be an Access module with a project
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    And guess what ... YX does not mean the same as XY!


    YX is seen on the module YXM130 which allows you to use learning from OpenLearn and other free providers to gain credit towards the Open Degree

  9. 9 What does "L" stand for?

    1. "Law"
    2. "Life sciences"
    3. "Latin"
    4. "Laboratory" - it's a science practical thing
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Muahahaha!

    The most obvious "right" answer is actually "languages". But who wants boring and obvious when writing a quiz?

    You thought that "S for science" was how it always worked, right? But sometimes they have to differentiate between the different sciences - on the science project module the "L" is used to show it's the life sciences option. That's alongside P for physics, G for geology, E for environment (another use of that E!!!). But hey, nice and logical so far. Oh, and  M for chemistry ??


  10. 10 When a module has multiple different letters in its code (like, say, M and T), is there any logic in how they are arranged?

    1. Yes, it's alphabetical
    2. Yes, it's usually which subject "owns" it.
    3. No, it's taking Scrabble tiles out of a hat
    4. Yes, it's avoiding any unfortunate words being formed, like a BUM course
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    So, SMT359 is owned by science (S).
    MT365 is owned by maths (M)

    Though not all multiple letter codes are from that

Do you know what the letters in the module codes mean?

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11 Comments

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    1. Thanks to a couple of long-standing OU staff on Twitter, I can partially answer that!

      For example, when they were thinking what to use for social science, S had already been taken. So they decided to use D which was the first letter of the surname of the person who was then Dean of the faculty. His name was Drake.

      The doubling up is due to running out of codes.
      That can happen because not only did the first digit in the code mean something (eg in DD310, the 3 means it’s at level 3) but the second one did too. Sixty credit modules had to have a 0 or 1 in the second digit.
      So if you’d, say, used up A100 up to A119, then a new version would end up as AA100 (as reusing codes would create no end of havoc in the database)