HS1SSH-Study Skills in History

Module Provider: History
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Level:4
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites: HS1HDS Directed Study in History
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2014/5

Module Convenor: Dr Jeremy Burchardt

Email: j.burchardt@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module is compulsory for all SINGLE SUBJECT and JOINT History students with the exception of joint Archaeology students where this module is optional.

Aims:
This module provides students with the essential skills for the study of History at degree level. It also prepares students for the Directed Study in History (HS1HDS), a co-requisite module that students take in the following term.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:
- locate appropriate information including books, articles and online resources
- demonstrate familiarity with bibliographical conventions and mastery of library skills
- write good academic English
- understand and be able to avoid plagiarism and poor academic practice
- organise material and articulate arguments effectively in writing and orally

Additional outcomes:
The module also aims to:
- develop IT skills through the use of relevant resources
- familiarize students with a range of time-management and self-directed learning resources
- assist students with note-taking and rapid reading techniques

Outline content:
This module has a two-fold aim: to provide students with a firm foundation for the study of History at degree level and, more specifically, to prepare them for the Directed Study that they will write in the Spring term. At the start of the Autumn term, students are introduced to the distinctive features of historical thinking, such as source criticism and contextualization, and to core concepts such as primary and secondary sources/historiography. The next session equips students to use the library effectively, including the use of electronic databases and other online resources. In week 3, academic writing is introduced, with an emphasis on the vital importance of accurate spelling and grammar [dyslexic students will be assessed separately]. You will choose your Directed Study topic and begin work on the Research Outline (20%) for your Directed Study this week – to be submitted to the History Office by 12 noon, Monday of Week 5. The Research Outline explains what topic you have chosen, why you are interested in it and the questions you hope to answer in your research (one side of A4). As well as helping to focus your thoughts for the Directed Study, it is also intended to assess the academic writing skills you have been learning. Weeks 4 and 5 focus on good practice in referencing, understanding and avoiding plagiarism and poor academic practice. Meanwhile you will be beginning work on the Critical Bibliography for your Directed Study. This is a 2,000 word review of the most relevant books and articles on your chosen topic (due for submission to the History office and on Blackboard and Turnitin by 12 noon on Monday of week 9).

We next look at two skills that first-year History students often report that they need help with: note-taking and rapid (skim) reading. In week 8 we progress to more advanced academic writing, with a focus on sentence structure, prose and style. You will also have a one-to-one meeting with your Directed Study supervisor for feedback on your Research Outline in this week (please note your supervisor may not be the same person as your seminar tutor). Weeks 9 and 10 provide a grounding in essay planning and will teach you how to avoid narrative in your essays and how to construct a compelling argument. Finally in Week 11 there is a Careers Advice session – increasingly, work experience is necessary to get the job you want at the end of your undergraduate studies, and this session will help start you off on the right track. You will also meet your supervisor again this week, again on a one-to-one basis, for feedback on your Critical Bibliography.
Directed Study topics: all topics that lie within the period from the fall of the Roman Empire to the present day are available although overlap must be avoided with your work on the four Landmarks in History of 1066, 1492, 1776 and 1945, and with any project carried out at A level or equivalent. Your supervisor will advise on this. You may change your topic after submitting your Research Outline if you wish but you cannot do so once you have submitted your Critical Bibliography.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Teaching is by one-hour lectures and one-hour seminars in alternate weeks. There will also be two supervisions/tutorials with your Directed Study supervisor. Students are reminded to email their Directed Study supervisors for help and advice whenever needed.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 6
Seminars 4
Tutorials 2
Guided independent study 88
       
Total hours by term 100.00
       
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Portfolio 100

Other information on summative assessment:
Research Plan Outline = 20%; To be Submitted on Blackboard and as a Hard Copy to the History Office, by latest 12 noon on the Monday of week 5 of the Autumn term.

Marking criteria: academic writing (spelling/grammar/style/presentation): 50%; ideas/evidence: 50%. [Registered dyslexic students: ideas/evidence 100%].



Critical Bibliography = 80%; To be Submitted on Blackboard and as a Hard Copy to the History Office, by latest 12 noon on the Monday of week 9 of the Autumn term.

Marking criteria: bibliographical skills: 25%; selection of sources/critical commentary: 25%; academic writing (spelling/grammar/style/presentation): 50%. [Registered dyslexic students: bibliographical skills 50%; selection of sources/critical commentary 50%].

Formative assessment methods:
The key to developing good historical skills is practice so this module provides extensive formative assessment through in-class exercises and tests. The module also makes use of an array of online formative training platforms (including teaching videos, quizzes, exercises and tests) that students undertake in their own time in preparation for lectures and classes.

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with University policy. The following penalties will be applied to coursework which is submitted after the deadline for submission:

•where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10 marks of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark;

•where the piece of work is submitted more than one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded. You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

•(Please refer to the Undergraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:
http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guideUG.aspx)

The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.
  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    N/A

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Where a re-sit is permitted, students will be assessed on the failed element(s) only in August. Any element(s) already passed will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Any element which is re-sat in August is capped at 40%. Failed coursework must be re-submitted by 12 noon, on the last Friday of August.

    Last updated: 8 October 2014

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