Posted by: constantinakatsari | February 2, 2010

Slavery module causes shock to students

I will admit that at first I was worried by the format of this course. The social media side of it excited me – this was new, different and interesting. Plus a bit of digital networking wouldn’t harm my academic aspirations. I have nothing to hide really, the few drunken photos on facebook aren’t that bad, and as a student surely they are to be expected! The idea of sharing and discussing sources online through twitter or this blog made sense. Today’s student spends A LOT of time online. Universities began to bridge the gap with the blackboard service, but this is a more user-friendly, organic experience that could really work. Blackboard, despite the discussion feature, is more for downloading the basic module information and the odd PowerPoint presentation lecturers post. Plus, they can see when we log in and how long we stay, which is a bit Orwellian for my taste!

The lack of formal lectures weirded me out at first. I’ve done seminars in various modules before of course, but I’ve never experienced learning without the main component being someone stood at the front, talking information at me. That has been the status quo since pre-school! It’s a way of learning I’m used to and feel comfortable with. An engaging lecture can actually be very fulfilling, it can get you excited about the subject. But the more I looked into this particular module, the more it made sense to lose them. Without the 2hour exam, we do not have to vomit up vast amounts of information at the end of the semester. Exams by their very nature force you to learn all the aspects of a course, whether you personally find them interesting or not. It’s a rare module where you find every single theme riveting, even when the majority of them are fascinating. That’s just how it is. And you can’t get into the themes you enjoy to any real depth because there are so many to memorise sufficiently for the exam. With Constantina’s module, we can choose an essay and project title that interest us and research that thoroughly (as you have to for written projects) and we can fully enjoy learning everything else because we don’t have the pressure of an exam in it. We’re discussing it in a friendly atmosphere, admittedly to an academic standard but that’s what we’re at uni for! So I think this module will be an interesting experience.

And lastly, we students refer to the Attenborough tower, not as ugly, but as ‘The Cheesegrater’. I think it’s interesting looking

Mary Wickenden

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