This course aims to enable students to: develop and acquire the productive and receptive language and study skills needed for successful participation at graduate level in a British university. These include both linguistic and communicative competence, oral skills, academic writing, reading efficiency and the ability to work independently; develop an understanding of critical thinking, including how to construct coherent arguments and enhance reflexivity skills; develop knowledge and understanding of the major conceptual and theoretical foundations, and current issues, of the discipline of art history and theory; provide the opportunity for an in-depth understanding in two major areas of art history such as Italian Renaissance art, European modern art and contemporary art; introduce students to a variety of interpretative methods and forms of questioning appropriate to visual artefacts; including historical inquiry, theory of representation, aesthetic approaches to the value and function of visual art, and critical approaches to the conditions of the production, consumption, interpretation or reinterpretation of visual artefacts; encourage both critical engagement with and enjoyment of the visual arts, particularly through first-hand observation; provide the knowledge and skills (critical inquiry and argument, imaginative understanding, written, spoken and visual interpretation, communication and presentation) that will not only stand students in good stead for more specialised academic careers, but will also enhance their opportunities for employment in a wide range of other careers; develop in students the research skills appropriate to the study of visual artefacts, and to art history as a field of study, and to provide the basis for them to develop the necessary levels of skill and knowledge required to progress to masters degree level.
This course is designed for those who need to improve their language and study skills and their subject knowledge in Art History and Theory before going on to a Master's programme. Successful completion of the Graduate Diploma at the required level will normally qualify students for entry to an appropriate Master's level programme in the Department of Art History and Theory.
Teaching and Assessment Methods
A: Knowledge and Understanding
A1 : Improve language accuracy and fluency to B2 level
A2 : Recognise and use the appropriate lexical and discourse structures of their subject area
A3 : Understand the concept and importance of critical thinking in an academic context
A4 : Knowledge of different conceptual, theoretical and normative perspectives within the discipline of art history and theory
A5 : Knowledge of developments, issues and debates in the field of art history and theory
A6 : The basic methods of critical analysis and argument appropriate to visual artefacts
All modules are taught through informal lectures, seminar discussions, tutorials and student presentations, with both peer and tutor feedback, and for students taking the module in Renaissance art there is also an optional study visit to Florence (an additional fee is payable).
Where feasible, input in the EAP modules will be based on material provided by academic module teachers, and some classes may be team-taught, for example, A4-A6 are taught in academic modules which include weekly readings and this material will, where possible, be included in EAP input.
Art History lectures demonstrate skills of visual analysis and theoretical understanding in the context of a particular historical/geographical framework. These skills are developed further on compulsory gallery visits and through seminar discussions and presentations with oral feedback.
Assessment will be based on class presentations, written assignments and examinations.
Assessment tests both basic understanding of concepts and issues and a range of approaches and interpretations.
A1-A4 outcomes are assessed via an extended project in EL933. This is designed to examine students' ability to produce an extended piece of writing which demonstrates the ability to present a coherent argument based on a range of sources drawn from key texts in the target academic discipline.
A4-A5 are assessed by means of the coursework and examination requirements of AR modules. The examinations include questions on visual material in photographic form.
B: Intellectual/Cognitive Skills
B1 : Use language accurately and appropriately, using a variety of lexis, grammatical structure and communication strategies
B2 : Demonstrate an awareness of the language and discourse structure of their subject area
B3 : Synthesise information from a variety of sources with appropriate acknowledgement and integrate this into presentations or written work
B4 : Create a structured argument based on appropriate research methods
B5 : Respond to unfamiliar artefacts, issues or ideas with an open mind
B6 : Develop the ability to be reflective, independent learners and to organise their time in an efficient and effective manner
B7 : Acquire a knowledge of key concepts, principles and methods of argument which have been important in the western tradition and globally influential
Intellectual/cognitive skills B1-B7 are practised in discussion and presentations, as well as through assessed written work. Students are given advice in tutorials on research skills and have the opportunity to analyse model assignments. The ability to develop a coherent argument, supported by evidence, is practised in group discussion and is also a requirement of all assessed written work.
All of these skills are taught and re-enforced continually by a variety of methods - classes involving pair and group work, individual tutorials, taped lectures and student-led workshops. Input ranges from print to audio and video materials. Students also use interactive web-based teaching materials. Oral presentations are video-recorded and students are given group and individual feedback, from peers and tutors.
B5-B7 are addressed explicitly in classes and included in oral or written feedback. The seminar-based work in art history encourages critical discussion arising from the analysis and interpretation of texts or visual artefacts with an emphasis on being able to reason cogently, argue coherently and present one's own viewpoint persuasively. Students translate the skills acquired there collectively into individually assessed essays. In turn, the essays prepare students for the exam. As the summative assessment for any given course, the exam tests their ability both to demonstrate and to sustain the same skills in controlled conditions.
B1-B4 students are assessed by two end of module examinations on knowledge of grammatical structures, listening and note-taking, and there is an integrated English for Academic Purposes skills examination covering reading, vocabulary and writing.
The EAP coursework portfolio also requires demonstration of learning outcomes B1-B4.
B1-B4 outcomes are assessed via an extended project in EL933. This is designed to examine students' ability to produce an extended piece of writing which demonstrates the ability to present a coherent argument based on a range of sources drawn from key texts in the target academic discipline.
B4-B7 are assessed by means of the coursework and examination requirements of AR modules, including questions on visual material in photographic form.
C: Practical Skills
C1 : Demonstrate a range of academic skills, including effective note-taking, accurate listening skills and active participation in class discussion
C2 : Find relevant information from a variety of sources including books, journals and the Web
C3 : Read and evaluate sources critically and offer views based on evidence
C4 : Present an argument in oral presentations and by planning, drafting and revising written assignments in an appropriate style, referenced according to academic conventions
C5 : Acquire visual skills, including observation (recognition of materials and techniques but also other aspects of works of visual art such as formal organisation or narrative structure), description (using ordinary as well as specialised language) and analysis
EL 931-933: students practise these skills using audio and video materials. They are also expected to make notes during classmates' presentations. They are then required to write up a selection of these notes at a later date, to check their accuracy and effectiveness the teaching materials and methodology place great emphasis on pair and group work and student participation - this is explicitly addressed in tutors' reports and students are encouraged to discuss these reports in tutorials.
EL932: students select texts from a variety of sources for class discussion - these texts are then read for content and also critically evaluated for the quality and reliability of the evidence they contain and the structure of their argument. There is also some analysis of the varying requirements of specific academic genres.
EL933 preparation for project work in plenary sessions and in 1:1 tutorials and feedback on process, editing and drafting.
All of these skills are also practised, both directly and indirectly, in EL931 and EL9322, and in relevant AR modules. Guidance on visual skills.
C5 is given in lecture, seminars and on site visits through dialogue among students and with staff in front of particular artefacts.
Assessment is based on a mixture of oral and written assignments which test students' ability to implement these skills effectively. Essay questions in art history are designed to test all skills.
D: Key Skills
D1 : A fundamental aim of the programme is effective communication in English; orally, through class participation and presentations, in writing and in critical reading. Skills in the communication of arguments and ideas cogently and effectively in a range of different contexts is a specific objective.
D2 : Students perform a variety of word-processing operations and use the Internet for research. Students use PowerPoint or 35mm slides for presentations. They also communicate with tutors by email e.g. sending drafts of work as attachments.
D3 : N/A
D4 : Identification and evaluation of various source materials, analysis of tasks and working out objectives and priorities. Students should be able to apply knowledge and understanding in order to make judgements and offer solutions in a range of contexts.
D5 : Pair and group work are an integral part of the programme, and peer evaluation is also built in. There are opportunities for group projects in some subject modules.
D6 : Students are encouraged to keep both learner diaries and records of their own learning and to work independently. Students should have the ability to work to briefs and deadlines; take responsibility for their own work; reflect on their own learning and performance and make constructive use of feedback.
D1 There is a continuous emphasis on effective communication. Awareness of audience and appropriate linguistic and discourse choices is a focus of all work, specially in writing.
D2 Students are trained in the use of PowerPoint for presentations and in using the Internet for research purposes. Visual media skills are developed in art history modules through personal instruction to students using slide projectors or DVDs/VCRs in class, and through drawing attention to the media whereby visual images are presented to us, both in terms of informing students but also developing a critical appreciation of the relationship between image and context in any medium.
D4-D5: In all classes students are expected to work in pairs and groups on a variety of information- and opinion-gap tasks and analysis of texts. In presentations students give and receive peer feedback, both oral and written. Students are encouraged to reflect on their learning, especially in individual tutorials. Reflective tasks are also part of the portfolio requirement.
D1-D5 are also implicit in all AR modules.
D1-D6 are assessed as an integral part of class work and assignments.
EL modules: Students are required to word process their work and to use PowerPoint for oral presentations. Peer evaluation and feedback are an important part of the informal assessment of students' performance.
D6: EL931-EL933 include reflective tasks in the portfolio of assessed work.