Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Education


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To enable students to appreciate critically the issues and debates with regard to widening participation in higher education (UK context).


  • The course will centre on a number of key issues, such as: History of higher education (chronology).
  • Higher education and social access - to the Robbins Report.
  • Higher education and social access - inclusion for the masses.
  • Purpose and value of higher education.
  • Theories of exclusion.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students should be able to demonstrate: an ability to understand and evaluate different views on the way in which social class, gender, ethnicity and disability have been seen as (both historically and currently) impacting upon patterns of participation in HE.
  • an ability to engage critically with a range of theories that seek to explain why certain groups in society have not only been traditionally excluded from HE, but have differential experiences of the system (and potentially therefore have differentiated labour market experiences).
  • an ability to discuss such questions as, what is the meaning of higher education? To what extent is higher education a vehicle for social change?.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • the analysis of complex situations concerning human learning and development in particular contexts, including their own learning;
  • to reflect on their own value systems and development;
  • to question concepts and theories encountered in their studies of education;
  • to interrogate the assumptions underpinning theory and research;
Key Skills:
  • think critically and independently;
  • acquire complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way;
  • construct and sustain a reasoned argument;
  • communicate effectively with appropriate use of specialist vocabulary;
  • use ICT and a variety of library and IT resources;
  • improve their own learning and performance, including the development of study and research skills, information retrieval, and a capacity to plan and manage learning, and to reflect on their own learning;
  • work to deadlines.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching will consist of a mixture of lectures and seminars.
  • Lectures will introduce key ideas and knowledge.
  • Seminars will provide opportunities for discussion and detailed exploration of key issues.
  • Much of the work in seminars will be student-led, using a range of structured and supported activities.
  • Students will have the opportunity to take part in, and receive feedback on, a range of activities.
  • Students will be provided with a study guide which will contain some key readings, guidance on the activities to be undertaken throughout the course and provide links to further references and sources of information.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 22 Weekly 2 hours 44
Preparation and Reading 156
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
1500 word assignment 100%
Component: Project Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
2500 word project 100%

Formative Assessment:

Students will be encouraged to submit an outline essay (maximum 2 sides of A4) prior to the summative assessment.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University