Starting from Autumn 2012 the Open University’s science degree qualifications are being replaced by a single degree, Q64 BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences, with a choice of pathways for different science specialities. There is a required 30 credit level 2 practical module corresponding to each speciality. An additional qualification is Q71 BSc (Honours) Health Sciences.
For Q64 BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences: Biology and health sciences pathway and Q71 BSc (Honours) Health Sciences: Standard pathway the 30 credit level 2 practical module, SXHL288 Practical science: biology and health, is mandatory. SXHL288 is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Of the four practical activities included in SXHL288, the only one which looked as though it might be problematical was “animal physiology: cold adaptation”. Enquiries to the Open University gained the following response:
"The whole topic ‘Animal Physiology: adaptation to cold’ - makes use of new virtual material, ranging from computer-generated rats and animal facilities to video material and digital microscope images. Within the topic materials and resources, there is one library photo of laboratory animals as well as photos of wild animals and some short archive video clips of both. There are some short new video sequences showing small amounts (thumbnail size) of real brown and white adipose tissues samples that were taken from one animal that had already been culled for another purpose. The topic is based on an underlying data set and microscope images from tissue taken from real animals used on previous (and now discontinued) OU Residential Schools SXR374 that were carried out under HO licence and with ethical approvals. This topic has been produced as a genuine alternative to animal use and makes good educational use of previous animal work and thus advances the 3Rs of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement.”
For both Q64 and Q71 the final study is a project module, SXL390 Researching biology and health science, undertaking individual investigations within a range of defined topics, which should allow students to complete their study without causing harm to animals.
For an overview of undergraduate science qualifications see the Science Faculty Undergraduate Qualifications.
Also see OUSA Science forums.