Module Provider: School of Politics, Economics and International Relations
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Brian Feltham

Email: b.m.feltham@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module provides an inter-disciplinary approach to the subject of freedom, with contributions from four different departments of the University: Classics, Law, Philosophy, and Politics. Students will explore a range of different perspectives on the idea of freedom, and will examine the different ways in which freedom is valued and regulated in a variety of settings. Students will work both individually and within groups to prepare their assignments, and there are a variety of written and oral assessments.

The aims of the module are to provide students with an understanding of different perspectives on the idea of freedom, as well as the different ways it is understood and regulated in different societies around the world.

Assessable learning outcomes:
At the end of this module students will be able to:
•outline a number of contexts in which freedom exists or is constrained
•identify and critically assess competing interpretations of freedom
•locate, assemble and analyse information on the subject through their own research, using a variety of sources
•organise material and articulate arguments effectively, both orally and in writing
•work effectively in groups to research and present collective findings.

Additional outcomes:
The module aims to develop:
•critical and reflective thinking
•informed and critical approaches to using primary and secondary sources, including web-based information, through preparation of all coursework
•awareness of the distinctions between classical, legal, philosophical and political approaches to freedom.

Outline content:
The following module content is indicative and may be subject to change:
The module will address the issue of freedom from a number of different perspectives. The firm term will involve a series of lectures and seminars that address freedom from classical, historical, philosophical and political perspectives. Topics to be addressed include the question of whether humans have free will, legal debates regarding the tension between freedom and privacy, and the differences between authoritarian states and free societies. The second term will involve a series of student-led seminars in which student groups will develop written content about freedom as well as collaborating on group presentations that address a particular theme concerning freedom.

Global context:
The module addresses a variety of global contexts in which different approaches to freedom are espoused and practiced, and will include analysis of case studies from different regions of the world.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module will entail a series of lectures and seminars led by academic staff, as well as a series of student-led seminars that will involve collaborative work on group presentations. Assessment will be based on written reports and reflections, as well as group-based oral presentations.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 8
Project Supervision 16
Guided independent study 82 84
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 30
Report 30
Oral assessment and presentation 40

Summative assessment- Examinations:
No examination.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

1) A 1,500 word written report (reviewing a book, film or other media with reference to themes of freedom) in the Autumn Term accounting for 30%.

2) A writing assignment (1,500 words) over the course of the Spring Term accounting for 30%

3) An oral presentation as part of a group in the Spring Term accounting for 40%

Visiting students will follow the same assessments to receive full credit. Visiting students attending in Autumn term only for half credit will submit a written report (of 2,500 words). 

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    If a student fails to pass the year at the first attempt there is an opportunity to be re-assessed on one further occasion at the next opportunity in those modules achieving a mark of less than 40%. Students who are eligible for re-assessment have the right to re-assessment in all elements even if they have previously passed one of those elements. It is expected, however, that the majority of students would probably elect not to repeat an element in which they had already passed, in which case the confirmed marks would be carried forward.

    Coursework: Failed or missing coursework should be re-submitted by 1st August, emailed directly to politics@reading.ac.uk, AND submitted on Blackboard.

    2500 word essay on the topic of the presentation

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding: There may be optional costs associated with photocopying or printing sources listed on the reading list relating to this module. Please note that the Library charges approximately 5p per photocopy.
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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