Accredited Level 3 Diploma in Botany
A botanist specialises and has an interest in plant biology. This course in Botany is aimed at providing a detailed introduction to the subject, the world of plants, fungi and algae and how the subject affects our daily life and its potential for the future. Throughout the course reference is made to human-plant interactions so that we are reminded of the relevance of botany in today's technical world. Historically, Botany arose out of the need to feed and herbalism to identify useful, medical and poisonous plants, and many gardens were found attached first to monasteries and later to universities for research. Today the most powerful microscopes and techniques in the sciences such as cell Biology and Biochemistry have allowed the most detailed investigations of plants and plant cells.
Module 1: Introduction to Botany
Plant life makes up 98% of the earth’s biomass (the dry weight of all living organisms). Plants (with a few other organisms) have the exclusive capacity to sustain life by producing oxygen using the sun’s energy by converting carbon dioxide and water. Botany has many different branches and so its scientific status and the various divisions associated with botany are explored. The second part of the module commences by defining the properties of life, before moving onto examining how life began on Earth millions of years ago. The basic building blocks of life, the cell, including structure and function of cell components unique to plants cells e.g. the chloroplasts that contain thylakoids where photosynthesis occurs will then be discussed.
Module 2: Vegetative anatomy
A detailed examination of the anatomy of the various tissues and structures found in plants is performed. Plants are basically divided into three organs, roots, stems and leaves. A fourth organ, flowers are found in a subdivision of plants. All organs consist of tissues, so an overview of meristematic tissues, which has permanently growing regions, is conducted, e.g. there are trees thousands of years old. Specific topics covered include development, structure and specializations with the roots and the stem. The structure, types, arrangement, specialization, e.g. rolled leaves that reduce water loss or insect-trapping leaves and seasonal loss of leaves is discussed.
Module 3: Plant physiology part 1: Metabolism
If plants produce food and oxygen, using energy for all living things, how do plants maintain life and obtain nutrients? The main processes involved with the movement of water e.g. up a narrow tube to travel up and down the stem, light, nutrients and particles around an organism is explored. The processes of osmosis, diffusion and transpiration will be examined. Humans get many products, apart from food, from plants such as cigarettes, rubber, thatch, medicines, and these are discussed. The second section deals with enzymes and energy transfer, including photosynthesis and respiration which involve the main movement of gases in and out of plants.
Module 4: Plant physiology Part 2: Reproduction and growth
In 1893, the US Supreme courts ruled that tomatoes are legally a vegetable simply because it was used as a salad vegetable. However, Botany considers all fruits, including a tomato, as being an ovary, matured with its accessory parts. Many smaller plants do not have flowers, and the way they reproduce and spread their seeds is covered. We begin by looking at the life of a plant, right from the seed up to maturity. The large range of strategies used by plants to ensure reproductive success is summarised, including a discussion of flowers, dispersal of fruits and seeds, e.g. a coconut, apricot, cereals, nuts or a berry. The development of a plant from a seed/spore is then examined, including discussions of cell division, plant hormones, plant movements, adaptations e.g. for seed dispersal, photoperiodism (seasonal variations), and the link between temperature and growth.
Module 5: Genetics, evolution and classification
Life began with a simple cell, how then have they developed and evolved to form the rich diversity that exists today? The focus of this section is on the processes by which individual plant species change and are changing so that new species continue to develop. The history, methods of research and discoveries e.g. those of Lamark, Mendel and Darwin are explored. Plant genetics on a micro, individual cell level (meiosis) is discussed and the implication of these activities through time by examining the processes of evolution is considered. Finally, the current system of classifying plants is discussed.
Module 6: Diversity; Part 1. Plant like organisms
There are some organisms that are difficult to classify as plants or animals, but are studied under Botany and this topic area of Diversity is split up across three modules. The first section covers a fairly odd collection of life forms, a brief review of bacteria and viruses will be followed by a more in depth examination of algae, slime moulds, Fungi and lichens. The numbers and diversity of each is so enormous, that we are at the present time unaware of each and every type. Also those we do know are constantly developing and changing.
Module 7: Diversity; Part 2. Simple green plants
This unit examines the most 'primitive' of those organisms commonly considered as simple green plants. Liverworts and mosses are plants with no vascular systems, and ferns are considered to be the most primitive vascular plants. These plants developed early on in the earth’s life (pre-Cambrian) and it is thought that all modern organisms arose from these basic-type of organisms. Structure, reproduction, evolution and classification of these 'primitive' plants are examined, as well as their current importance to humans.
Module 8: Diversity; Part 3. Seed plants (Gymnosperms) and flowering plants (Angiosperms)
The non-flowering seed vegetation are discussed in terms of their evolutionary position and when they first appeared within the plant world. Their structure, life cycle and classification is explored. How seeds differ to spores, the reproductive vessel of earlier organisms is discussed. The differences between gymnosperms (translated as ‘the naked seed’ or seeds not enclosed in a fruit) and angiosperms (‘seed in vessel’), the flowering plants which are the most widespread group of land plants is examined. They are considered in depth by looking a few key examples by studying their evolution, life cycles (including animal pollination) and classification of the flowering plants.
Module 9: Ecology and Phytopathology
The ninth module is in two parts, ecology and phytopathology. Ecology is defined as the relationships of living organisms to their organic and inorganic environment. Producer, consumer and decomposer relationships (food chains and pyramids) and how the flow of energy and chemicals within the biosphere is investigated to show the distribution of organisms. This is linked to the morphology and physiology of plants in the way they survive, grow and reproduce. The second topic is a brief overview of phytopathology defined as plant diseases. It can be categorized into two main divisions, infectious organisms and physiological disorders. The impact of plant diseases and their management affects humans greatly and gravely, so the study of critical issues such as pathogens, life-cycle and the environment where their flourish is covered.
Module 10: Ethnobotany
The scientific study of botany arose out of the needs, relationship and usefulness of plants, herbs and their products to humans, and this is referred to as Ethnobotany. This is the complete study of relationships between (uses of) plants and cultures. A brief history of Ethnobotany is given. The focal point is how plants have been or are used, managed and perceived in human societies and includes plants used for food, medicine, divination, cosmetics, dyeing, textiles, for building, tools, currency, clothing, rituals social life and scientific study. How this has changed in modern times, biodiversity, plant domestication, cultivation and conservation is explored.
The coursework is assessed through continuous assessment with no formal exit examinations. Through assessment you will cover certain criteria such as:
- Theoretical Knowledge/ Understanding
- Practical Implications
- Integration of Theory and Practice.
The course has TWO Tutor Marked Assignment (TMA); which are graded: Pass or Fail. The grading procedure if Pass or Fail. Your grade will depend upon if the criteria set ha been met and the decision of your tutor. If you Fail an assessment you have the opportunity to amend where your tutor has highlighted and resubmit.
Study Hours (Per Unit)
Approximately: 20 hours personal study time per unit, which is supported by the ODL Course Tutor, but we greatly encouraged students to access support from their tutor throughout the course.
The whole course MUST be completed and both assignments graded PASS to gain the “Oxford Learning College Level Three Diploma in Botany”
Course Fee: £850.00 Fees can be paid by instalments.
Entry to this level three course requires that potential students have gained GCSE/IGCSE or equivalent qualifications and have, good English oral, reading and writing skills.
Advice on enrolment and guidance of prior learning (APL) can be obtained through out contact centre. The course is a rolling programme and can be started at any point in the year. Successful students can go on to Higher Education, including remaining as students at OLC to complete courses in our portfolio of higher awards.
This course has been developed by the College’s professional team of tutors to meet the needs of sector based employers and employees. It is also part of the College’s validated level three Diplomas’, recognised internationally, as verified and moderated Centre for Interactive Education (CIE Global). Further details of our accreditations are provided on our website.