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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LDES1100 Introduction to Interdisciplinary Study

10 creditsClass Size: 200

Module manager: Scott McLaughlin

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module aims to give you the knowledge and tools to help you work across different disciplines: including STEM, Social Science, Arts, and Humanities disciplines, as well as differences in theoretical, applied, and practice-based methodologies. You will be introduced to interdisciplinary learning through an online course on FutureLearn featuring case-studies, exercises and discussion on the varying assumptions and expectations that are core aspects of disciplinarily. You will then choose and explore four different two-week open online courses on the FutureLearn platform as case-studies to reflect on knowledge-production across different disciplines. Throughout the module you will engage with set texts accessed via Minerva and engage in seminar discussion to help you reflect on and consolidate your learning. For the final assignment you will produce a reflective report that draws on your experience on the online courses, and on appropriate texts on disciplinary and inter-disciplinary study.You will need a FutureLearn account in order to access the course material. Upgraded access to the FutureLearn courses you choose will be funded by the University.


This module will provide students with the tools to think critically and reflectively across the boundaries of a range of discipline areas. The module familiarises students with the spectrum of epistemological norms across a variety of disciplines and methodologies; including STEM, Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities, as well as differences in theoretical, applied, and practice-based methodologies. The module provides students with a toolkit of knowledge and strategies for recognising and adapting to norms outside their discipline, as well as reflecting back on their own discipline. Students will reflect on a range of two-week open online courses across different disciplines.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
LO1: Reflect on how different disciplines have standardised methods for researching and solving problems (normative methodological approaches), and what those methods focus on.
LO2: Articulate the ways that different disciplines create knowledge (e.g. by measuring, testing, writing, creating), and the type of knowledge they create (modes of knowledge-production)
LO3: All disciplines focus on slightly different ways of “finding-things-out”, and this always requires disciplines to treat some types of knowledge as more important than others. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different discipline-specific “epistemologies” (ways of knowing).
LO4: Reflect on the impact of your learning in this module on your own sense of a “discipline centre”: how does your understanding of your own discipline change when you compare it to the methods of other disciplines and the way those disciplines create and share knowledge.


• Wks 1–2: Students work through an online course on FutureLearn which introduces interdisciplinary learning through the use of case-studies, exercises, and online discussion. They also engage with set-texts accessed via Minerva and are supported through seminar discussion to gain insight into disciplinary norms and methodologies.
• Wks 3–10: Students take 4 x two-week open online courses on FutureLearn—across different disciplines—to compare and reflect on examples of discipline-specific knowledge-production.
o This is supported by further exercises and set-readings on Interdisciplinary study.
o Fortnightly discussion seminars allow reflection and consolidation.
o Each course finishes with an online assessment that will provide formative feedback to students to support their understanding of that topic and discipline.
• Wk 11: students prepare final assessment.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours50.00
Private study hours45.00
Total Contact hours5.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Independent online learning will be working through five 2-week courses on FutureLearn (10hrs each): the first is a compulsory module on Interdisciplinarity, the other four ar chosen by the student. The FutureLearn courses will include a series of different styles of material, including recorded short talks, animations, video interviews with researchers, on-line exercises etc.
In private study time, students will consolidate understanding of disciplinary norms and methodologies with reading (20hrs): core reading of set-texts, and reading lists for both specific disciplines and texts that cross disciplinary boundaries. Private study time also includes time spent preparing the summative assignments (25hrs).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Seminars and monitoring of online logs will allow tutors to provide generic feedback, and to identify and respond to student questions. Online tests at the end of each FutureLearn course will also provide formative feedback on that content, supporting student understanding of the topic and discipline.

Students should ideally complete each FutureLearn course and its internal assessment since this will be very important in achieving module aims of understanding disciplinary specifics of studying in any given domain. Completing assessment in these Futurelearn courses is not in itself part of the module credit, but going through the assessment process is invaluable for understanding how that discipline assesses and values particular forms of knowledge.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course MCQ[formative] Online tests at end of each Futurelearn course provide formative feedback0.00
EssayIndividual essay, upto 1500 words, supported by background reading and asynchronous online tutoring100.00
Reflective log4 x Minerva-based logs (upto 300 words each)0.00
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: 28/04/2023 14:57:08


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