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2018/19 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST2570 History in the Media

20 creditsClass Size: 28

Module manager: Dr Catherine Coombs

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2018/19

This module is approved as a discovery module

This module is approved as a skills discovery module

Module summary

This module will engage students with public history and careers using historical skills. Over the course of the full academic year, they will:- Look at the representation of history in the media - Discuss and research how academic and public history interact- Develop skills in presenting history arguments to different audiences, through assessed class debates, reflective and academic writing- Link academic history research to contemporary debates through research and preparation for assessed class debates and a final project essay- Hear from a range of history graduates using skills gained from their degree in their graduate roles (e.g. in TV, as journalists, in the civil service, law etc.) and gain practical advice on how to package their own skills and plan / apply for future careers


This module seeks to engage students with the relationship between history as a university subject and history / historical skills in public life. To look at this interaction in the broadest possible terms, students will:
- Use a wide range of media sources to investigate how history and historical issues are used to inform public discussion (for e.g. in newspapers, online, in politics, entertainment etc.)
- Conduct academic research and reading into the uses and philosophy of history
- Prepare for two assessed debates in which contemporary issues will be placed in a historical perspective, requiring the linking of their current affairs and academic research
- Maintain a reflective log to accompany the year's workshops and activities, allowing them to draw out the skills gained and apply them to future study and career planning
- Design their own essay question and complete a final written piece on a topic tackling a historical question current in the public arena
- Meet past history graduates now working in graduate careers using their historical skills and be able to develop practical plans for expressing and building their own skills to enhance their employability

Learning outcomes
As a result of taking this module, students will:
- Develop an ability to reflect on the nature of history and its role as both an academic subject and a part of wider society
- Recognise and develop their own skills as history students, with an enhanced capacity to package those skills in applications for graduate careers
- Develop their skills of verbal communication, listening and reasoning with countering claims, increasing confidence and articulation
- Have enhanced confidence in their independent research skills and ability to prepare a case for a variety of audiences
- Have been exposed to a range of employability routes and the skills involved in accessing them, preparing them for life after university
- Have handled a range of source materials and enhanced their skills in synthesising public and academic perspectives
- Have experienced designing their own research essay and completing it with supervision, resulting in preparedness and confidence ahead of the final year project


As a block C 'History in Action' module, History in the Media will run across both semesters, through bi-weekly workshops. These will combine discussion of history as a subject (academic and popular), historical skills for career planning, preparation for and completion of debates, and training / advice sessions with visiting history graduates, colleagues in history etc.
Semester 1
Week 1 - introductions, with students asked to bring some examples of history-related material they have found in the media and launching of the reflective logs
Week 3 - what is history? And what is its role? Academic / philosophical reading in preparation for a discussion of the relationship between academic and popular history
Week 5 - training on debating and introduction of the first of four popular / academic crossover topics for the assessed debates
Week 7 - training on debating and introduction of the second of four popular / academic crossover topics for the assessed debates
Week 9 - assessed debate on topic one, with half of the group involved, followed by visiting careers speaker
Week 11 - assessed debate on topic two, with half of the group involved, followed by visiting careers speaker
Semester 2
Week 2 - introduction of the third of four popular / academic crossover topics for the assessed debates, and initial guidance on designing the essay question
Week 4 - introduction of the fourth of four popular / academic crossover topics for the assessed debates, and further guidance on the essay assignment
Week 6 - assessed debate on topic three, with half of the group involved, followed by visiting careers speaker
Week 8 - assessed debate on topic four, with half of the group involved, followed by visiting careers speaker
Week 10 - conclusions, final preparation for the reflective log summaries and assessed essay deadline

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours177.00
Total Contact hours23.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Each fortnightly workshop will require preparation in advance and reflective writing afterwards. The nature of this work will vary through the year:
Semester 1
Weeks 1-4: independent time spent exploring history in media sources and preparing them for presentation; directed academic reading for workshop discussions
Weeks 5-11: semi-guided research in preparation for the first assessed debates; reflection and action on careers and skills-related talks
Semester 2
Weeks 2-8: semi-guided research in preparation for the second assessed debates; reflection and action on careers and skills-related talks; independent research to support design of assessed essay question
Weeks 9-11: research and writing of final reflective log summary and essay

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will be required to come prepared with different types of academic reading / material sourced from the media in each seminar, and their progress and reflection will be monitored within these sessions. At several points in the academic year, students will be asked to bring in a section of their reflective log to share with the group (and ensure that this is being regularly completed). Contributions to assessed debates once in each semester will allow an opportunity to monitor student preparation and engagement. Ahead of each one, students will be offered a 15-minute supervision meeting. Two supervision meetings will be provided to each student in semester 2 to monitor progress, advise on reading and guide plans for the assessed essay.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayStudent-designed question, 2000 words, due Monday week 11 of semester 240.00
Reflective log1000-word summary due Monday week 11, semester 220.00
Group DiscussionDebate contribution, held throughout the year: each student contributes to 2 debates40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/03/2019


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