In March 2019, the Senate approved a paper [SEN/19/06] detailing the introduction of Ruskin modules to the undergraduate curriculum. The paper detailed proposals amended following a formal institution-wide consultation exercise.
The consultation feedback was considered in detail, and a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document was created to address the points raised. View the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document or view specific questions and answers below.
"Ruskin modules creatively develop the capacity for critical reflection and reasoned argument, integrating the acquisition of graduate skills with wider societal concerns and challenges, bringing together students from different disciplines around key challenges," (Education Strategy 2018-2022). Read more.
A paper on the Active Curriculum paper presented at the Education Committee on 7 November 2018 reported research commencing Semester 1, 2016/17 “into the pedagogies and drivers of effective learning, within curricular, co- and extra-curricular contexts” (Education Committee ED/18/10 2.1 p.1). This research underpinned the new framework, characterised by an active learning approach to curriculum design.
Active learning describes a student-centred approach “designed to engage students as active participants in their own learning” (ED/18/10, 4.1, p. 7); section 4 of the Active Curriculum paper articulates the evidence base for active learning. The rationale for Ruskin modules as interdisciplinary breadth units was also included in this paper. Opportunities for learning uniquely afforded by interdisciplinarity was reported in a study commissioned by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) that argued “while disciplines will continue to underpin the foundations of our knowledge, the issue of interdisciplinary learning and teaching provision becomes increasingly relevant for institutions preparing students for a changing world” (Lyall et al., 2016, p.v).
The study reports that the provision of interdisciplinary education was envisioned to increase in Higher Education. Responses from programme directors of existing interdisciplinary provision identified competencies achieved as: ability to synthesise; appreciation of diverse perspectives; flexible, critical thinking (Lyall et al., 2016, p.36). Furthermore, case studies describe that “students are extremely enthusiastic about the experience” (ibid, p.55). It appears, however, that pedagogic “theory has not yet caught up with practice in this field” (ibid, p.x). This view is supported by a systematic review that describes “research into teaching and learning in interdisciplinary higher education [as] limited and explorative” (Spelt et al., 2009, p.365). Read more
Ruskin modules will be taught by our permanent academic staff who are outstanding lecturers and enthusiastic about the concept of developing and teaching cross-disciplinary content to cross-disciplinary groups of students. Professional staff may also contribute to the development and delivery of Ruskin modules. The teaching of Ruskin modules should not be delegated to Associate Lecturers or PhD students.
Yes. While new course and module development is part of the normal workload of academic staff, we recognise that the development of Ruskin modules will require additional support.
We are committed to providing opportunities for staff to come together collectively to develop ideas for Ruskin modules, and to support the full development of these modules.
We will run the first Ruskin module sandpit – a day where everyone who is inspired by the concept of Ruskin modules can come together to share and discuss initial ideas, and begin to form cross-disciplinary groups that can further develop ideas – in June. This event will be facilitated, and supported by Anglia Learning & Teaching.
Yes. The delivery of Ruskin modules will be treated in the same way as any other module delivery. There is no expectation that Ruskin module delivery will be in addition to existing delivery.
This is a good problem to have! Courses of this nature on happiness/positive psychology at both Harvard and Yale attracted international attention (Shimer, 2018). If a member of staff, or a group of members of staff, deliver a module that is inspiring and attracts a large number of students, there will be a range of ways of addressing the issues that arise from it for individual workloads and the allocation of teaching by Faculties:
Shimer, D., 2018. Yale’s Most Popular Class Ever: Happiness. The New York Times [Online] Available here [Accessed: 13th December].
The Ruskin Modules offer is likely to be aligned with the mix of subjects on each of our campuses.
We have been in discussion with our Students’ Union (SU) from the start. The SU is very enthusiastic about the development of Ruskin Modules and has been in talks with the Academic Lead for Personal Development Tutoring about ideas for Ruskin Modules. The SU values the range of additional transferable problem-solving skills that students will obtain through Ruskin Modules, and the positive impact this will have on employability. The Union also notes from the March 2019 meeting of the Education Committee that Ruskin Modules will contribute to making Anglia Ruskin more distinctive in the sector.
There is ample evidence that millennials are committed to social justice, are ‘everyday changemakers’ and millennials are also concerned about whether they have the right skills and capitals to participate in the 4.0 economy. A 2018 Deloitte report, based on surveys of 10,455 millennials and 1844 generation Z respondents note that ‘while technical skills are always necessary, respondents are especially interested in building interpersonal skills, confidence and ethical behaviour’, all of which will be a focus of Ruskin Modules.References
Deloitte, 2018. Deloitte Millennial Survey. [Online]. Available hereFeldmann, D., 2017. Millennials Seek Social Change in Their Everyday Lives, Study Finds. Philanthropy News Digest. [Online] Available here [Accessed: 13th December 2019].
We are proposing that we use the UN Sustainable Development Goals (United Nations, 2015) as a reference framework for Ruskin Modules. This is aligned with our existing institutional commitment to sustainability and would provide an excellent and wide enough set of reference points for Ruskin Modules. This framework also allows us to directly address the concerns of millennials and generation Z.
All Faculties are currently participating in Course Design Intensives (CDIs) between April 2019 and the end of March 2020. CDIs provide an excellent opportunity for review of the current curriculum, and they should be used to ensure that Ruskin Modules can be integrated into courses. In line with our newly accredited credit structure guidelines, all Course Leaders should ensure that there is a slot for a 15 credit Ruskin module at Level 5 (from the start of the 2021/22 academic year). Ruskin Modules can also be offered at level 4 as an optional choice from 2020/21.
Yes. How much revision is required depends upon the existing course structure. Ruskin Modules could, for instance, replace existing option slots.
Yes but, to act as a Ruskin module, a module will have to be aligned with broad learning outcomes of Ruskin modules articulated above.
In the main, we expect that Ruskin Modules will be purposely designed. There are, however, a limited number of cases where existing delivery could be enhanced so as to fulfil the requirements associated with Ruskin Modules. Language options, broadened out and put into a cultural and global context, would conceivably fall into this category.
Ruskin Modules will be introduced in phases. The first phase will focus on introducing Ruskin Modules into our standard degrees. The second phase will focus on introducing Ruskin Modules into our delivery of Degree Apprenticeships, distance learning courses and provision delivered by our Associate Colleges. We will need to distinguish between the different Degree Apprenticeship delivery models and the different forms of Degree Apprenticeships (closed/open cohorts). Full consultation will be undertaken with all parties. A timeframe for this work will be published in due course.
It is recognised that continued Professional, Statutory & Regulatory Body (PSRB) accreditation is essential to the future viability of many courses and there is no desire to place such accreditation in jeopardy. It is also acknowledged that PSRBs behave very differently to each other and that many are willing to be flexible whilst others are highly prescriptive in terms of content and other requirements.
Many PSRB accredited courses will be able to accommodate Ruskin Modules with no difficulties. However, where it can be properly evidenced that the continued accreditation of a course may be placed at risk by the inclusion of Ruskin Modules in the standard format, such a course will be required to follow an alternative format for satisfying the generic outcomes of Ruskin Modules.
The Course Team will be required to demonstrate that the fundamental pedagogic reasoning and outcomes underlying Ruskin Modules (‘transition, breadth, depth’) are provided in the course’s curriculum by mapping it against outcomes provided above. Where the mapping exercise demonstrates that one or more of the outcomes is not covered in the existing curriculum, appropriate revisions to the curriculum will be required to ensure alignment with the generic outcomes for Ruskin Modules. This would not necessarily manifest itself in the addition of a separate Module but may require amendments to existing modules.
Major Projects are the functional equivalents of Level 6 Ruskin Modules. The use of the term ‘Major Projects’, rather than the traditional ‘dissertation’ already provides a wide scope for Faculties and Schools to shape projects in a manner aligned with the subject (eg: from traditional dissertations, to work-based project reports). There are many examples of variety in current practice with Major Project modules across Anglia Ruskin and this diversity in approaches to Major Projects will continue to be encouraged.
We will be re-introducing Major Project modules as a compulsory requirement for all courses which lead to the award of an honours degree. Major Project modules are a natural extension of our ‘transition, breadth, depth’ concept and can provide an opportunity for students to build on their experiences with Ruskin Modules by opting to undertake major projects that are interdisciplinary and collaborative in nature, crossing our School and Faculty boundaries, where appropriate. Our approach to Major Project supervision will be refreshed to ensure appropriate support for students undertaking projects which are interdisciplinary in nature.