How will I be taught?
As a Birmingham student, you have the privilege of learning from world-leading experts in their fields. Our approach to the study of Theology is to learn to look at many different sides to a question and at the very wide range of approaches which may be explored. Irrespective of your starting-point or presuppositions, you will need to examine and test prejudices of all kinds, sympathetically considering other points of view. So be prepared for your own views to be challenged; to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject, and to find things out for yourself. It is likely to be a new way of working for you, but we will help you to make the transition and you will soon be benefiting from some of the most highly regarded teaching in this subject in the country.
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 you may feel you need extra support to make the most of your potential and your time here at Birmingham.
Student Mentor and Buddy Scheme, and Peer- Assisted Support Sessions
Our enthusiastic established students act as mentors to our new Theology students. This provides you with a friendly face to help you settle in. You will also be supported by Peer-Assisted Support Sessions, knownas PASS, which are weekly study groups run by established students who have already successfully completed the module you are studying.
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.
We offer relatively high levels of contact time with academic staff, including guaranteed tutorial time each week.
Lectures are valuable opportunities for you to be taught and inspired by someone who is both an expert in the field and research active. Lectures include interaction, with frequent opportunities for discussion, and question-and-answer sessions.
Tutorials and small group sessions run alongside lectures in some modules, providing you with an opportunity to prepare individual presentations, debate a topic and analyse primary sources in depth. This will give you a toolbox of transferrable skills. All tutorials and group sessions require advance preparation and active student participation.
Supervised self study. In your final year you will undertake your dissertation, a substantial piece of independent research. We support you in this through 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 throughts on assignments with other students via the discussion group facilities, and even submit your work electronically.
Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) means that 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. We believe that this is the best way of learning while you are at Birmingham as it is 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.
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 part take in a formal review discussion 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. Most modules are assessed by one or two essays, often of between 2,500 and 3,000 words, though some modules have a 90-minute examination as well. Full three-hour formal exams are quite rare but are used on occasion. We do also rely on other assessment tasks such as multimedia portfolios, presentations, reflective practice assessments, blogs and take-home exam papers, making sure in each case that you have an excellent opportunity for demonstrating your knowledge and skills.
In our Department we use assessment as a tool for learning much more than just a way of measuring performance. So in many modules you will have both formal and informal opportunities for feedback on your performance. In fact, our feedback for formal assessment exercises has frequently been praised by our external examiners for being comprehensive, constructive and offering clear and specific suggestions for future improvements. You will receive feedback on each assessment task within four weeks.