Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)


Department: Centre for Foreign Language Study


Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Successful completion of Chinese Stage 3 or equivalent level of Chinese. Subject to decision by the module’s language coordinator.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Any Core Language Modules offered as part of the BA Modern Languages and Cultures. Any language module offered as part of the BA Chinese Studies.


  • To develop further knowledge of the Chinese language.
  • To develop students’ skills to do research in Chinese and about China.
  • To enable students to improve their Chinese language skills effectively.
  • To enable students to communicate competently on a variety of general and more specific topics.
  • To deepen students’ understanding of contemporary Chinese society and institutions.
  • To develop further presentation skills in Chinese.
  • To develop further writing skills.


  • Functional and notional topics studied at this level will be partly determined by the course book and partly be informed by up-to-the minute current affairs and will address issues such as Chinese politics, socio-economic aspects of contemporary China, popular culture in China etc.
  • Course book materials will be supplemented with multimedia sources. Independent and individual research on the internet will be fostered. Group discussion exercises will promote the basis for the development of confidence, flexibility and fluency in conversations.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • greater knowledge and understanding of a range of key aspects relating to China’s social, economic and political structures;
  • greater knowledge and understanding of the cultures and societies in China and Chinese-speaking countries gained through the study of cultural products;
  • greater knowledge and understanding of the main Chinese linguistic principles, structures and registers.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • critical skills in the analysis of cultural products, including the expression and discussion of views relating to a wide range of cultural, social or political issues;
  • ability to conduct unprepared conversation covering issues related both to familiar and unfamiliar topics (current affairs, customs and social issues);
  • understanding of, and reporting on, the main points of clear standard speech and using authentic aural passages on current affairs, customs and social issues in China and other Chinese-speaking countries;
  • application of a range of grammatical principles;
  • conducting an independent research project in the target language - including the presentation of an oral and written summary of the research;1
  • effective use of references such as grammars and dictionaries;
  • effective use of a range of language learning techniques and skills by independently developing strategies to extend lexis and knowledge of grammar.
Key Skills:
  • oral communication skills, gained through the delivery of presentations;
  • written communication skills, including the ability to organise ideas in a logical and coherent sequence in sustained prose and analyse arguments critically;
  • skills in the acquisition and interpretation of information from a variety of paper, audio-visual and electronic resources;
  • Information Technology skills, including word-processing, the use of electronic resources, and the use of IT both as a means of communication and as an aid to learning.

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

  • This module is delivered through seminar style classes and multimedia lab sessions.
  • Contact time will be used to introduce new material and provide the students with high quality target language input from the module tutor and multimedia sources.
  • In preparation for each session students will be expected to revise new material and complete formative language exercises.
  • The assessment scheme for this module is designed to test students' level of attainment in language production (speaking and writing) and reception (listening and reading).
  • In order to reflect the continuous nature of the language learning process the module will be assessed by a combination of formative and summative in-course assessment and by formal written examination.
  • As part of this module students are required to complete a small project which will include an oral presentation and a written component.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 40 2 per week 1 hour 40
Preparation and Reading 160
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Reading and Writing Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written assignment (Week 9) 50% No
Project assignment (Week 20) 50% Yes
Component: Speaking and Listening Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Presentation 10 minutes 40% No
Individual oral assessment with pre-prepared listening tasks (Weeks 21-22) 15 minutes 60% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Regular homework/assignments will be given to the students to practise and consolidate what they have done in class and to prepare the following session, some of which will be submitted and marked as formative assignments and regular feedback will be given to the students accordingly.

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