Teaching and assessment
The programme uses a range of teaching and learning methods aligned to the University’s Teaching and Learning Strategy, the QAA framework for national qualifications, the work of the Higher Education Academy. The learning and teaching methods embrace a range of approaches that have demonstrated effectiveness in postgraduate management education. These include traditional lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops. Academic staff use a variety of innovative approaches to assist with the delivery of the programme and to encourage student participation. Material on a typical module is taught through a variety of means. These typically include interactive lectures, debates, group work, document analysis, presentations, e-learning tools, visiting lecturers, practitioner master-classes and class discussions. Class discussions are a key aspect in the delivery of modules as it provides the opportunity for students to engage in challenging discussions that promote independent critical thinking.
In addition, we make wide use of the e-learning platform Blackboard in order to encourage increased student participation and involvement. Blackboard is used as an integral part of the teaching and learning experience at DMU. All of the modules will have a Blackboard site, which Module Leaders will use to post information to support formal, face-to-face teaching. Student work will be submitted through Turnitin via the specific module Blackboard sites.
On this programme, it is expected that participants should take major responsibility for their learning. Participants are expected to engage in their learning environment in a meaningful and proactive manner in order to aid learning. This learning approach aims to utilise the valuable learning opportunities provided by the diversity of knowledge and experience within the cohort. The teaching philosophy is one of mutual commitment to the educational process from both the faculty and the students.
A key element of the MA programme is that core staff teaching at the programme are research leaders within the institution, meaning that teaching is research-led. Staff are linked into extensive professional networks that help to inform their teaching, and for whom the teaching also provides a key context to the work of the network. The application of the Research-Informed Teaching Approach in its four dimensions:
- Research-led learning: a key aspect of the delivery of the programme is the use of primary documentation and case studies. Especially relevant is the module “Alternative Urban Futures”, where the students will have the opportunity of engaging with different stakeholders and practitioners.
- Research-oriented learning: a 30cr core module “Participatory Research in Action” is designed for research processes and methodologies learning and provides an understanding of advanced research design and data handling.
- Research-based learning: the dissertation provides students with the opportunity to display advanced research and critical thinking skills in an extended piece of work. But the students will also have the opportunity to learn as researchers through the design and development of a participatory action-research project. The project will allow the students to complement the theoretic and methodological knowledge with practical training to use and contrast the concepts introduced with in the master on the terrain.
- Research-tutored learning: the learning and teaching methods designed for the programme are thought to facilitate the critique and the discussion between themselves and the teaching staff.
The programme is taught through a diet of core and option modules as set out in the list above. The taught core modules provide students with knowledge and understanding of key concepts, theories and issues that are of relevance to the urban studies, studies, here understood as comprising urban politics and urban governance.The University’s Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy, the QAA framework for national qualifications, the work of the Higher Education Academy and the UDL approach have all informed the development of our assessment strategy.
The assessment provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they have met the objectives and achieved the learning outcomes to the standard of an MA degree. As part of the programme design, the course team have paid particular attention to achieving an appropriate balance of assessment strategies. Over the whole programme, there is a varied mix of assessment including group presentations, group reports, case study analysis and individual exercises. Part of the rationale for this mix is to assess different skills that enable candidates to collect, prioritise, assimilate and disseminate information in different contexts, develop self-critical and reflective practice skills and professional skills. This approach also allows the opportunity to explore specialist topics in greater depth, partly in preparation for the dissertation. However, we have made the deliberate decision to set more conventional written-based activities, e.g. essays and reports, as the substantive summative assessment piece.
The students will be issued in advance with a proposed timetable of assessments to ensure that academic work is timed appropriately and that students are provided with an opportunity to plan and manage their time and workloads effectively