Teaching, learning and assessment methods
Although some aspects of the teaching, learning and assessment methods change over the two years of the qualification, there are common elements. In the first year, you'll work through four units of module materials which include some embedded exercises. Each unit is assessed by written assignment. Once submitted, these are sent to your tutor who will annotate them and return them with a cover-page of further written comments. In addition, you will have access to a number of online forums, although participation in these is voluntary. These will include a conference open only to you and other members of your tutorial group and a national conference open to all those on the module.
The second year begins by following the same pattern of four units each with a written assignment. Once this is complete you will work on a dissertation. You can choose what to write about – although the topic needs to be agreed with your tutor and connected to something you have already studied on the MA. In writing your dissertation, you will employ the skills you have acquired of independent research (finding materials in the library); your tutor will be there to offer advice.
You will acquire knowledge and understanding by working through the module material and your independent research. Your cognitive skills and your practical and professional skills, which will be acquired in the first year, will be developed in the second. The way in which the module is taught (feedback on written work that you will use to inform your subsequent writing) encourages you to write effectively and to improve your learning and performance. Through practice, you will also acquire the skills to use IT both in finding research material and as a means of communication.
The first year is assessed on the basis of the four essays. To pass, the average of the marks on the first three essays must equal or exceed the pass mark for the course, and the mark on the fourth essay must equal or exceed the pass mark for the course. The second year is assessed on the basis of four essays plus a dissertation of 12,000 words. To pass, the average of the marks on the first four essays must equal or exceed the pass mark for the course, and the mark on the dissertation must equal or exceed the pass mark for the course.