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Science & Research

Marine Biology Diploma

The Marine Biology Level 3 Diploma course in Marine Biology aims to give a comprehensive grounding in the fascinating subject of life in the sea.

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Level 3 / ABC Awards / ODL79

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over 12 months and £ deposit

over 12 months and £ deposit

 

Course summary

tutor

Course support

12 months access to course

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24 hour access

Unlimited Submissions

qualification

Accreditation

Fully accredited course

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Awarding body

ABC Awards

Course introduction

Throughout the 10 fully illustrated modules, the student will learn about many aspects of oceanography and marine biology such as how oceans are born and die and how life began and evolved in the sea over the past 4 million years.

We look at the ocean as an ecological habitat and the amazing evolutionary adaptations of aquatic animals to the harsh marine environment. The course looks at ocean habitats from the poles to the equator and from the sunlit surface of the sea to the dark depths of the deep ocean. Finally the human impact on the marine ecosystem is discussed.

The course comprises of ten detailed modules covering all aspects of Marine Biology and concludes with an online examination. Materials can be studied online or students have the option to have the printed materials delivered for an additional charge of £65.

There is a list of publications for further reading and a glossary of terms at the end of the course.

Required knowledge

No previous knowledge or experience is essential to study this course.

Assessment

Final online multiple choice examination counts for 100% of the final grade. Throughout the course there are ten SAPs (coursework) and a thesis. The course clearly states that this is not mandatory to complete as it has no bearing on the final grade. We do suggest that students complete these as this will not only assist them in examination preparation but also will give the student the skill set should they wish to continue their studies (continuous professional development) at a higher level.

Awarding organisation

At the end of this course successful learners will receive a Certificate of Achievement from ABC Awards and a Learner Unit Summary (which lists the details of all the units the learner has completed as part of the course). 

The course has been endorsed under the ABC Awards Quality Licence Scheme. This means that Oxford Learning College has undergone an external quality check to ensure that the organisation and the courses it offers, meet certain quality criteria. The completion of this course alone does not lead to an Ofqual regulated qualification but may be used as evidence of knowledge and skills towards regulated qualifications in the future. 

The unit summary can be used as evidence towards Recognition of Prior Learning if you wish to progress your studies in this sector. To this end the learning outcomes of the course have been benchmarked at Level 3 against level descriptors published by Ofqual, to indicate the depth of study and level of demand/complexity involved in successful completion by the learner.

 The course itself has been designed by Oxford Learning College to meet specific learners’ and/or employers’ requirements which cannot be satisfied through current regulated qualifications. ABC Awards endorsement involves robust and rigorous quality audits by external auditors to ensure quality is continually met. A review of courses is carried out as part of the endorsement process.

Course units

Module 1: Ocean formation
This module sets the scene by looking at how the oceans are created and destroyed by sea floor spreading and plate tectonics. Students discuss continental drift and the configuration of the oceans and continents through geological history with a speculative look into the possible future configurations should the continents continue to move as predicted. We study the major oceans of the present day with their geological features and follow an ocean as it progresses from birth to death.

Module 2: The Ocean as a Habitat
In module 2 we study some basic oceanography and the structure of the physical ocean from the continental shelf to the abyssal plain. We also descend into the deep ocean trenches. We look at the chemistry of seawater and how it gets its physical properties as well as the physics of light and sound propagation in the ocean. We look at the dynamics of tides and major currents and the large scale movements of seawater in the ocean basins. We discover how waves are formed and how temperature, density and salinity work together in the marine environment.

Module 3: Biological evolution in the oceans
In module 3, we look at how life evolved in the ocean and discover the fascinating hydrothermal vents which were found in the 1970s. We meet the peculiar animals that live in these habitats and discover how they are able to live in such extreme environments. We look at the evolution of animals in the ocean from the tiniest 1-celled animal to the largest marine mammals and discuss the mass extinctions and radiations that have punctuated the geological history of life on Earth.

Module 4: Food webs in the sea
In module 4, we discover the secret unseen world of the microscopic marine phytoplankton and zooplankton and discuss the primary productivity and the trophic food webs which support all life in the sea. We discover the incredible migration patterns of tiny zooplankton and how other marine animals exploit them. We look at how some of the smallest animals in the sea support some of the largest such as the great whales. Finally we look at the global distribution patterns of the tiniest organisms in the sea.

Module 5: Adaptations to life in the sea
In this module, we look at how life is adapted to the harsh marine environment. We discover how animals from the smallest fish to the largest whale are able to live in the ocean. We look at biological systems such as osmoregulation, thermoregulation, locomotion, respiration, reproduction, sensory systems, diet and foraging strategies. As a case study, we follow the extraordinary evolutionary adaptation of the whales and dolphins as they evolved from being land animals, 50 million years ago to the fully adapted marine creatures we see today.

Module 6: Tropical environments
In module 6, we look at the beautiful coral reefs and mangrove swamps of the tropics. We study coral anatomy and growth and look at their global distribution and ecology. We discover the geological aspects of coral reef formation and look at how the simple coral animals evolved throughout their geological history. We look at the delicate symbiotic relationships between the tiny reef organisms and their coral hosts and at the marvellous array of coral reef fishes and their ecology.

Module 7: Polar environments
In this module, we look at the physical environment of the polar regions and at the fundamental geological differences in the Arctic and Antarctic. We discover the ecology of polar environments and the different species found in the Arctic and Antarctic, along with the extraordinary evolutionary adaptations they show to life in such extreme environments. We look at animals such as the fish with antifreeze in their blood and at the way that warm blooded animals are able to survive in such extreme cold.

Module 8: The intertidal
In module 8, we study the physical environment and the animals of rocky shores, sandy beaches and muddy estuaries. These are all very different environments yet are all at the mercy of the daily tides. We look at the amazing adaptation of animals to such desiccating intertidal environments and at the physical and biological factors for zonation of animals and plants on the shoreline. As a case study, we look at the biology of a rock pool and the array of fascinating animals that are found there.

Module 9: Beneath the tides
In module 9, we venture into the depths of the abyss, a place we know less well than the moon. We study energy transfer and the surprisingly abundant animals of the deep sea. We discover the strange looking deep-sea fishes and invertebrates that are adapted to such incredible pressures exerted by the water column in this harsh environment and at the animals, which create their own light: bioluminescence. Then we finish the module off with a study of the ecology of a kelp forests in Alaska with its vitally important keystone species.

Module 10: The human impact on the sea
The final module looks at fisheries and the food we obtain from the sea and discusses the main food species along with the impacts of over-fishing. We look at ocean pollution; the toxic pollutants, sewage and marine debris which are degrading the ocean and how the animals of the sea are coping with it all. We look at oil spills and their aftermath and discuss whether we make things worse with our well intended clean up operations. We look at global warming and its implications for life in the sea by looking at the geological history of climate change over millions of years and comparing it with the predictions of some of the climate models for the future.

Learner support

12 months tutor support. Tutors are available to answer student questions relating to course materials and to comment on the assignments that are sent in to state how well students have understood the unit content.

FAQs

What is distance learning?

Distance learning is the most flexible and convenient approach to studying. There is no need for you to attend college and, therefore, you can study anytime, any place, anywhere that fits in with your lifestyle. Distance learning programmes are ideal for people who may have a full-time job, or other commitments, that won’t allow them time off to study.

What do I need to do to get started on a course?

You need to be able to commit your time to the course. To help you understand the commitment needed, each of the course descriptions estimates the amount of time it will take you to complete the course. This is based on an average study period of approximately 10 hours per week.

It is best to choose a course you think will interest you, and help you to achieve your ambitions. If you would like some advice, or further information, please call our helpline free on 0333 3445 690.

To purchase a course, simply click on the ‘Buy Now’ option against your chosen course and follow the on screen instructions. Alternatively if you would prefer to purchase the course over the phone or by post, call our helpline free on 0333 3445 690.

How does the distance learning/home study method work?

The course operates through a study pack and access to your own personal tutor. Once you have chosen your course we will send you your study pack, which you will be required to work through before completing the course.

Depending on the course you have chosen, you will either be required to complete assignments and submit these for marking as the course progresses and/or be required to sit an end exam. The end exam could be in the form of multiple choice questions, or be an invigilated exam at a registered test centre.

Your completed assignments will need to be sent to your tutor for marking/assessment, you will then receive written feedback and guidance. It may be possible to submit your assignments by email, however you will need to check this with your tutor. Please be aware that your assignments will be maintained by NCCHL for moderation and audit purposes.

These requirements will always be listed on the course description page, so please refer to this for details of what is required for each individual course.

How long should it take to complete a course?

Depending on the course you have chosen, and the amount of time you can commit, it could take from six weeks to nine months to complete your course.

The duration of the course is largely down to you though. The beauty of home learning is that it allows you complete flexibility to fit your studies around your lifestyle and other commitments. You can dedicate as much, or as little, time as you want to your studies - no one will be chasing you for your work or asking why you haven’t submitted an assignment.

We do strongly recommend, though, that before you purchase a course you assess your ability to commit the necessary time to completing the course in a timeframe that will not leave you losing your motivation.

How quickly will I receive my course material?

We guarantee that you will receive your course materials within 5 days of purchase, but for many courses we would anticipate that you will have to wait no more than 48 hours.

The course materials are always sent to you via a tracked courier service, to ensure that you receive your study pack within our stated period.

How much will it cost?

The cost is largely dependent on the size of the course. The longer the course is the higher the cost will be, due to the size of the study pack and the nature of the qualification.

All prices are clearly stated on the course description page and will always be displayed prior to you committing to purchase a course.

Please note that postage and packaging is charged in addition to the course price.

What support will I receive?

You will be allocated your own personal tutor who can be contacted via e-mail, telephone, fax or post for help and advice on any aspect of the course.

Many courses require that you submit work to your tutor during the period of study and your tutor will assess your work and pass comments back to you. Your tutor is available to you as much as you need them.

Please be aware that officially the tutor support provided with the course is for a period of 12 months, although if you need longer let us know and we’ll endeavour to extend that.

Will I have to sit an examination?

All of our courses are accredited, so you need to show that you have acquired the knowledge to pass the course – this may involve sitting an examination, but it depends on the course you have chosen.

Some courses require you to be continually assessed throughout the course, while others may require an end of course exam or assignment (which may be completed at home) to be submitted to your tutor.

Certain types of qualifications, A-levels and GCSEs for example, do require you to sit an invigilated exam at a registered test centre. You will need to organise the examination yourself, however full details of what you need to do will be included in your study pack.

The details of what sort of exam/assignment (if any) is required for a course will be stated on the course description page, so please check these for full details.

Can I study from outside the UK?

Yes, there are no geographical limits to where you can study.

You just need to be aware that all tutors are based in the UK and work may need to be submitted to them via post, although in most cases e-mail can be used.

Where the course requires that you sit an invigilated exam at a test centre, there are many exam centres outside of the UK. However, we would advise that you check with us before purchasing one of these courses if you want to study from abroad.

Will I receive a qualification when I complete the course?

All of our courses are accredited and you will receive a certificate upon successful completion of the course.

For more information about this please see the section of the website that details how awarding bodies work and what the different types of qualifications are.

Can I take more than one course at a time?

Yes, you can take as many courses as your time allows. But we would recommend that you clearly evaluate how much time you can commit to your courses of study.

The good news is though that if your circumstances change you can always take a break and come back to your studies.

Additionally, discounts are available if you buy more than one course at the same time.

How long will it take for my work to be marked by my tutor?

Your work will be marked and feedback returned to you within 12 working days after submission. This is because our tutors are required to provide detailed, considered feedback to our learners that may take a while to formulate. We find that by working this way, our learners actually complete their course in less time, as they rarely need to submit an assignment more than twice.

Whilst it is possible to submit multiple assignments at the same time, we advise that our learners submit only one at a time. We want our learners to develop as they progress through their course, and find this is best achieved when a student embarks on a new module having taken into account tutor feedback from the previous submission.

Do I need any additional books or equipment to do my course?

No, we provide everything you need to pass your course.

How do I enrol?

Once you have chosen your course, you can either purchase the course online which will enrol you, or you can call our helpline on 0333 3445 690 who will sign you up for the course and arrange to have all your learning materials sent to you.

What if I’ve chosen the wrong course?

If, after receiving the course, you decide it isn’t the right course for you, you can simply return the goods within 14 days and we will send your money back in full for the majority of courses (excluding postage and packaging) or you can choose another course that you feel would suit your needs and ambitions better.

What is the difference between the online and paper versions of courses?

Our online courses are completed through our online learning system after receiving login and access instructions. You will not receive any course materials through the post. The paper based version is posted out in a binder to your home or place of work and requires completion of a portfolio of work that is submitted to your tutor for marking.

Where can I find your Equality and Diversity Policy?

All NCC policies and procedures can be provided on request from NCC directly by emailing enquiries@ncchomelearning.co.uk or calling 0333 3445 690.

Can reasonable adjustments be made to help reduce the effects of a disability or difficulty that may place me at a disadvantage?

A reasonable adjustment is any action that helps to reduce the effect of a disability or difficulty that places the candidate at a substantial disadvantage in the assessment situation. Reasonable adjustments must not affect the integrity of what needs to be assessed, but may involve:

Changing standard assessment arrangements, for example allowing candidates extra time to complete the assessment activity Adapting assessment materials, such as providing materials in Braille Providing access facilitators during assessment, such as a sign language interpreter or a reader Re-organising the assessment room, such as removing visual stimuli for an autistic candidate.

Reasonable adjustments are approved or set in place before the assessment activity takes place; they constitute an arrangement to give the candidate access to the assessment activity. The use of a reasonable adjustment will not be taken into consideration during the assessment of a candidate’s work.

Awarding organisations and centres are only required by law to do what is ‘reasonable’ in terms of giving access. What is reasonable will depend on the individual circumstances, cost implications and the practicality and effectiveness of the adjustment. Other factors, such as the need to maintain competence standards and health and safety, will also be taken into consideration.

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