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Module KAH-0002:
Arts, Humanities & the future

Module Facts

Run by College of Arts, Humanities and Business

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Eben Muse

Overall aims and purpose

People working in the humanities work on “wicked problems”, issues that have no simple or straightforward solution, problems that require creative, evidence-based, critical application. In this module you will learn to apply critical and creative thinking from a history, media, law, literature, philosophy and other humanities disciplines to the challenges our society faces in the 21st century, including those identified by the United Nations as its seventeen “Sustainable Development Goals”, challenges such as gender equality, energy needs and climate change, peace, justice, and biodiversity. During the semester you will develop an appreciation for the value of studying humanities subjects to your own professional development as well as to the wider society.

Course content

Every two weeks a new topic sprint will be introduced, based on issues included in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Students will engage with those issues by applying theory and critical methods from different disciplines. At the end of each sprint students will prepare a short response in the class forum and engage in online discussion. Weekly specialist sessions by staff from across the academic disciplines will introduce the fundamentals of the discipline. Students will attend a weekly seminar/tutorial to learn methods for investigating the topics covered and applying critical analysis to develop responses.

Assessment Criteria


D- to D+

  • Has developed a basic level of factual and conceptual understanding of the subject; Reading/research is limited to that gained through class contact;
  • There is some evidence of analysis and evaluation but work is mainly descriptive with an uncritical acceptance of information, and unsubstantiated opinions may be evident; Lack of logical development of an argument;
  • Structure is weak and/or inconsistent and lacking in sequential development; Mistakes in grammar or syntax; Immature style; Citations and bibliography poorly or inconsistently presented; Demonstrates few qualities and transferable skills required for employment;
  • Can communicate in a range of formats, including orally, appropriate to the discipline(s), but with evident weaknesses;
  • Can work effectively with others as a member of a group, and meet most obligations to others (e; g; tutors and peers);
  • Able to recognise own strengths and weaknesses in relation to professional and practical skills identified by others, but lacking insight in some areas;


C- to B+

  • Has developed a sound understanding of the subject appropriate to this level; There is evidence of wider reading which goes beyond that gained from tutor contact;
  • Intelligent attempt at analysing and evaluating information; Well argued with appropriate amount of evidence, substantiated opinions are given;
  • Structure is coherent and logical showing progression to the argument; There are few mistakes in presentation or citation; Demonstrates qualities and transferable skills required for employment;
  • Can communicate effectively in a range of formats, including orally, appropriate to the discipline(s);
  • Can work effectively with others as a member of a group, and meet obligations to others (eg tutors and peers);
  • Able to evaluate own strengths and weaknesses in relation to professional and practical skills identified by others;


A- to A*

  • Has developed a broad factual and conceptual understanding of the subject relative to the level through extensive reading;
  • Has analysed and evaluated information using defined techniques & principles; Can collate and categorise ideas and information and can select what is relevant to support analysis and evaluation and develop a coherent argument, appropriate to the level of development; Has developed an early critical approach to information;
  • Well-organised presentation which develops flow and progression in a well-structured argument; Syntax/grammar indicates an appropriate level of maturity; Demonstrates a broad range of qualities and transferable skills required for employment;
  • Can communicate very effectively in a range of formats, including orally, appropriate to the discipline(s);
  • Can work very effectively with others as a member of a group, showing leadership skills where appropriate, and meet all obligations to others (eg tutors and peers);

Learning outcomes

  1. Apply multi-disciplinary perspectives to a range of social, political, environmental and cultural issues

  2. Understand the nature and uses of theory in arts & humanities study

  3. Recognize the range of disciplines studied within the Arts & humanities

  4. Employ skills of critical reflection and metacognition

  5. Identify and use digital tools for locating, assessing and presenting information

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
LOGBOOK OR PORTFOLIO Critical response log

4 critical response logs will be completed during the semester, one every two weeks, and posted to the forum. Each student must respond to at least 2 other entries in a constructive manner.


During the final week of the semester students will provide an online research poster applying academic theory to one of the topics introduced in the module, as well as exegesis of the poster contents.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


Online, scheduled discussion sessions to present and defend responses.

Private study 173

Weekly discussions applying critical theory and practice to issues. Regular invited speakers from across the college will apply their disciplines to the issues under discussion.


Weekly active sessions developing concepts and evidence to support responses.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • The ability to read and analyse texts and other primary sources, both critically and empathetically, while addressing questions of genre, content, perspective and purpose.
  • The appreciation of the complexity and diversity of situations, events, discourses, cultures and mentalities.
  • Awareness of a range of viewpoints and ways to cope with this.
  • Appreciation of the range of problems involved in the interpretation of complex, ambiguous, conflicting and often incomplete material.
  • Comprehension of the limitations of knowledge and the dangers of simplistic explanations, providing an enhanced ability to critically analyse broader claims in public life.
  • Basic critical skills: a recognition that statements are not all of equal validity, that there are ways of testing them, and that researchers operate by rules of evidence which, though themselves subject to critical evaluation, are also a component of intellectual integrity and maturity.
  • Intellectual independence to ask questions, set tasks, pursue structured enquiries and solve problems.
  • The ability to formulate appropriate questions and to provide answers to them using valid and relevant evidence and argument.
  • The ability to gather, sift, select, organise and synthesise large quantities of evidence.
  • Marshalling of argument in written and oral form that is structured, relevant and concise.
  • The ability to xompose written argument expressed in clear, lucid and coherent prose.
  • The capacity to sustain a reasoned line of argument in the face of others, to listen, to engage in sustained debate, and amend views as necessary in the light of evidence and argument.


Resource implications for students

There are no resource implications for students

Talis Reading list

Reading list

Samanowski, R. (2016). Digital humanities and digital media conversations on politics, culture, aesthetics and literacy (Open Access e-Books).

Blewitt, J. (2014). Understanding Sustainable Development (2.nd ed.). Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.

Courses including this module