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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

FOAR1000 Introducing Liberal Arts

20 creditsClass Size: 100

Module manager: Prof Mark Wynn

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module aims to do three things: [1] introduce students to the idea of inter-disciplinary study, and to explore its fruitfulness; [2] to consider various ideals of personal and intellectual formation and their relation to different visions of the nature of a worthwhile human life; [3] to examine theories and practices of rhetoric and communication, and their relevance for different audiences.


Students taking this module will learn:
- To combine the perspectives of different disciplines to consider a focal theme or question
- To appreciate the opportunities and challenges of cross-disciplinary study
- To articulate different ideals of education and their relation to different conceptions of the good human life, drawing on historical and contemporary sources
- To relate classical and medieval conceptions of a Liberal Arts education to their own course of study
- To understand the contribution of the Humanities and Social Sciences to the study of contemporary life
- To present their ideas clearly and effectively in oral terms
- To vary their style of communication to suit the needs of diverse audiences

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module, students will have learned how to combine the perspectives of different disciplines to analyse a focal question or theme. They will be familiar with some central accounts of the personal and intellectual formation of human beings, and the relationship between those accounts and different conceptions of individual and societal well-being. They will have reflected on the appropriateness of a various styles of communication when addressing different audiences.


The module will be divided into 3 blocks of material.
[1] Students will examine a central question or theme, drawing on the perspectives of different disciplines. Examples of possible themes include: justice, poverty, the environment. The methods of various Humanities and Social Science disciplines will be used to understand the different dimensions of this focal theme.
[2] Students will review various ideals of personal and intellectual formation, drawing on historical and contemporary sources. The traditional ideal of a Liberal Arts education will be introduced, and students will also reflect on the relationship between contemporary ideals of education and various understandings of individual and social well-being. Representative figures whose work may be discussed include Paolo Freire, Zygmunt Bauman, Martha Nussbaum, and Roger Scruton.
[3] Students will consider how to communicate effectively with diverse audiences, and will have the opportunity to develop their own 'voice' through oral presentations in class.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Contributing to a weekly log; researching, preparing, and writing the essay; undertaking set reading, and self-directed reading around the essay topic; preparing the research proposal; preparing material for the weekly workshops.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

1 x 2,000 word summative essay at the end of second semester.
1 x weekly reflective log
1 x 1,500 word research project

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,000 words50.00
Research Proposal1,500 word proposal, plus presentation30.00
Reflective logWeekly posts on the VLE20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Research Proposal resit - project of 1500 words plus a written account of what would have been presented orally. Reflective log resit - written responses to the VLE exercises - as required of students completing the posts on a weekly basis.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 03/10/2018


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