Introducing Public Health
Most of you are likely to be working in the public health sector, be it as part of your country’s national department of public health, a non-governmental organization or a sector which has some linkage with Public Health. This means that you have valuable experience to bring to your studies. On the other hand, you probably have not had the opportunity to engage in much depth with the field of study which we call Public Health (with capital letters). The issues and debates that are central to this field or discipline (Public Health) are important in strengthening the health systems of “developing” countries, which are now more commonly described as “Lower and Middle Income Countries”.
This module is regarded as an orientating process – through it we hope that you will become familiar with the conceptual vocabulary and the tools you’ll need for the programme. As far as is possible, we plan to engage you in active learning, even though you are studying at a distance, and to this end you will be required to write two assignments, and to prepare a portfolio. The assignments must be submitted during the course of this module; the portfolio must be submitted by the end of your programme which may be at the end of Year 1 or 2 of study, depending on your chosen pace of study. You need to work consistently on the portfolio, as it is an important component of your learning, but will hopefully also provide you with a helpful addition to your curriculum vitae. There is more about the portfolio in section 3 of the Module Introduction. Note that it is an e-portfolio, i.e.it is lodged online: you will be guided through this process.
By reading through this Module Introduction you will get a clearer picture of the topics that will be covered, the activities you will engage in, the assignments and portfolio requirements of the module and the outcomes we hope you will achieve. It will therefore be of great benefit to you to read through it carefully. As a distance learner, this is our main way of orientating you: if you skip over it, you will probably be lost. In addition, acquaint yourself with the contents of the SOPH Programme Handbook straight away. In it you will find all the information you need regarding contacting us, assessment, library usage, student support, and Summer and Winter Schools. We have prepared this for your support: the onus is on you to find out how we operate. In addition, the Introducing Public Health (IPH) Module will also have an online learning site –which UWC calls iKamva, and this Module Guide, Readings and Additional Resources will be lodged on that platform.
Having explored these resources, if you still have questions, please be in touch with us – we are there to help and we often find that it is the students who ask questions about their studies and make demands who succeed best.
All the contact information that you may need is contained in this introduction. You will also find a Student Details Update Form in your SOPH Programme Handbook and on your USB flash drive. If your contact details change, please inform the Student Administrators at the School of Public Health straight away as well as the UWC administration (details in Programme Handbook).
As we see you as a vital player in programme improvement, we ask you to give us feedback on your experience of this module. An evaluation form will be sent to you on completion of your final assignment.
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