Everything Dinosaur Scores 100% in Open University Fossil Study

Palaeontology as a science is always moving forwards, a new dinosaur species is named and described approximately every 6-8 weeks for example, and new methods and techniques are being used all the time to help scientists discover more about existing fossil finds.

With this in mind, it was decided that some of the team members at Everything Dinosaur should take a quick refresher course in fossils or a related subject – but which course to choose as there are a number available.  Eventually it was agreed that some team members should sign up for a science short course with the Open University.  Team members had studied with the Open University before, the courses offered are of a high standard and the flexible study programme fitted in with the busy schedules of staff.

The particular course chosen was S193 – Fossils and the History of Life.  Drawing on expertise from within the Open University as well as from a number of other university Earth Science departments and British museums, the course would help team members refresh their memories over fossils and an overview of Life on Earth.

This course explains how organisms become fossilised, helps students to identify the common fossils they are likely to find in the UK, and shows them where they fit into the story of evolution. The course books also cover (in colour) spectacular fossils such as dinosaurs and other vertebrates; rare fossils that have soft parts preserved; human evolution; mass extinctions, and other key events in the evolution of life.

A set of replica fossils are provided on which students can learn to make and record observations on specimens. The course encourages people to think critically about reconstructions of prehistoric animals and plants, and the environments in which they lived.

As well as the course materials and course handbook, the study materials also included a hardback copy of the excellent book “Atlas of the Prehistoric World” and a DVD of a programme related to the subject.

There were two options that could be followed, a fast track option where the course had to be completed within 10 weeks or a longer format where the same work had to be covered but at a more leisurely pace.  The course was both enjoyable and helpful and, as with all good courses there was a formal assessment at the end.

Candidates were challenged throughout the course with questions set to test understanding and learning.  At the end of the course there was an on-line examination consisting of a set of tricky questions designed to test candidate’s knowledge.

It is pleasing to note that we received our results yesterday, team Everything Dinosaur scored 100% with all answers wholly correct and no partially correct answers.

So top marks to Everything Dinosaur, the course itself is not to a degree standard but it does provide a useful refresher and is an excellent course for people to study who have a passing interest in Earth Sciences.  Besides, other team members are studying Geology with the Open University, this exam result sets the standard for them to beat.

To learn more about the Open University and the courses they offer: The Open University Website

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