How will I be taught?
As a Birmingham student, you are joining the academic elite and have the privilege of learning from world-leading experts in their fields. Throughout your studies, you'll be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, thriving on challenge and opportunities to think for yourself. At first, you may find these new ways of working and learning a challenge, but we'll help you to make the transition and you'll soon be benefiting from some of the most highly regarded teaching in this subject in the country.
Lectures explore a particular text, topic or context, often involving brief factual descriptions and outlining major questions and interpretations. Their main purpose is to challenge and stimulate, encouraging you to come to your own conclusions based on further reading and seminar debates.
Tutorials and seminars run alongside the lecture course, addressing any individual problems you may have and allowing you to consolidate lecture material, engage in constructive debate and expand your understanding.
Workshops fall somewhere between a lecture and a seminar. After a short lecture, the workshop takes the form of group activities and project-based work. Working from previously circulated material, you will approach critically different aspects of a problem or issue, developing and deepening themes and questions raised in the introductory lecture.
Supervised self study In your final year you will undertake your dissertation, a substantial piece of independent research. We support you in this through a series of workshops, as well as one-on-one supervisions with a tutor who will be an academic expert in your chosen topic
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is an excellent tool for supporting our academic modules, allowing you to share thoughts on assignments with other students via the discussion group facilities, and even submit your work electronically.
Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) is when learning is driven by the shared enquiry of students and tutors. This places you, the student, at the centre of your own degree: you learn through involvement and ownership, not simply by being a passive recipient of information thrown at you. We believe that this is the best way of learning while you are at Birmingham as it's very effective in enabling you to acquire the key skills and attributes that are valued by employers: creative and independent thinking, self-motivation, self-organisation, team-working, goal-setting and problem-solving.
From the outset, you will be assigned your own Personal Tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies, providing academic and welfare advice, encouraging you and offering assistance in any areas where you need extra support, to make the most of your potential and your time here at Birmingham.
Academic Writing Advisory Service
The Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) will provide you with individual support from an academic writing advisor and postgraduate subject-specialist writing tutors. You will receive guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level which can be quite different from your previous experiences of writing. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, feedback through email and tutorials.
These vary slightly according to your choice of modules. However, contact is timed carefully and we're very clear about what you should do during your independent study hours. During contact hours, you will have the opportunity to work in small groups, to build relationships with your tutors and fellow students, and to receive one-to-one feedback on your assignments.
As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.
Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).
To begin with you may find this way of working challenging, but rest assured that we?ll enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues, and a formal transition review during your first year to check on your progress and offer you help for any particular areas where you need support.
Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching; you will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject, and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make the change to this new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time here at Birmingham.
During your first year you will take part in a formal 'transition' review with your personal tutor to see how you are getting on and whether there are particular areas where you need support.
At the beginning of each module you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed for that particular programme of study. Feedback is an essential part of learning and we use a wide range of methods, such as essays, group and individual presentations and formal exams. You will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, highlighting the positives of your work as well as any areas that need more attention, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done.