SOCIAL SCIENCE: AN INTERDISCIPLINARY INTRODUCTION

SHE Level 1
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M1L324157
Module Leader John McKendrick
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Sociology
Trimesters
  • A (September start)-B (January start)
  • C (May start)-A (September start)
  • S-C (May start)-A (September start)
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)-C (May start)
  • B (January start)

Summary of Content

As the title suggests, this module aims to introduce social science students to (i) the principles, ideas and value of the social sciences; and (ii) interdisciplinary social science. The module is structured into four blocks, providing an understanding of defining features of a social science perspective (blocks A and D) and an opportunity to apply social science to address key issues facing society at the local (block C) and global scales (block B). (A) Social Science: an introduction (B) Global Social Science (C) Local Social Science (D) Key Social Science Skills In addition to providing a comprehensive introduction to the value of the social sciences as an interdisciplinary endeavour, the opportunity will be taken throughout to demonstrate the importance and potential of each of the core social science disciplines that will subsequently be studied by social science students at GCU. Although presented to social science students, the module builds upon a core programme of learning that is shared with a complementary module (The Business of Social Science), which is presented to GSBS students who are not pursuing a social science degree. Deviations permit social science students to explore interdisciplinarity in the social sciences (students presenting for this module) and the relevance of social science for business studies (students pursuing the BOSS module). This new module has also been designed to enable GCU social science students based in Glasgow and GCU social science students based in Mauritius to work together over a six-week period, as they explore the global challenges facing contemporary societies, and think creatively about responses to them. The curriculum design facilitates cross-continental working, despite the module being delivered simultaneously as a single trimester programme of learning (for students based in Mauritius) and as a double trimester programme of learning (for students based in Glasgow). An equivalent learning experience is offered to all students. More generally, this module will capitalise on the combined strengths of the Department of Social Sciences, Media and Journalism to offer a learning experience that contributes to one of the core aims of the School - to add social and economic value through both multi- and inter- disciplinary teaching. The ultimate outcome (of a GSBS degree, to which this module contributes) is to produce graduates who can act as responsible citizens and managers with a broad and deep understanding of the complexity of contemporary societal challenges. The module will start to develop attributes which all GSBS graduates should possess, including an international perspective and awareness of global issues; the ability to think holistically (e.g. to consider societal challenges issues from a range of perspectives); being digitally aware; the ability to work collaboratively; the ability to manage workload effectively (time management skills); and the capacity to think independently with a critical and questioning perspective.

Syllabus

In addition to introductory and concluding lectures, the module will comprise four thematic blocks of inter-related lectures, independent learning tasks and small group work (and fieldwork for Blocks C and D). The opening blocks covers the foundations of social science and teaching staff in the later blocks will refer back to it, as necessary. The central blocks address parallel issues at different geographical scales (the local and the global) and students will be encouraged by staff to make connections between the same issues at global and local scales, through comparison and contrast. Block A: Social Science: An Introduction Lect. 2 - What is social science? Lect. 3 - Doing social science Lect. 4 - Impact of social science Class 1 - Seminar: YOUR perceptions and expectations of social science Class 4 - Seminar: Re-assessing social science ILE 1 - Complete 2S2I survey ILE 3 - Social science venn diagram Block B: Global Social Science Lect. 5 - Globalisation - a shrinking world? Lect. 6 - World regions Lect. 7 - Global economy and financial crises Lect. 8 - Global Institutions and power Lect. 9 - Global media Lect. 10 - Global environment Class 2 - Role-play debate: a more dangerous world? Class 3 - Seminar: Discussing the 21 st Century Global Challenges Online discussion: Are we are shrinking world? Online discussion: is the future Asian? Online discussion: Does the global economy exacerbate or tackle inequality? Online discussion: Old and new threats to global security Online discussion: Do we have an imperialistic global media? Online discussion: Socio-economic impact of global warming Block C: Understanding Glasgow and Mauritius (Local social science) Lect. 11 - The development of the city Lect. 12 - Population and migration Lect. 13 - Work and welfare Lect. 14 - Health and well-being Lect. 15 - Contemporary challenges: Crime and anti-social behaviour Lect. 16 - Representing Place Class 6 - Role-play: is business good for Glasgow / is ALC good for Mauritius? Class 8 - Fieldwork Debriefing Glasgow City Student-led Field Trail / Port Louis Field Exploration ILE 4 - Migration and belonging ILE 6 - Place marketing for students ILE 7 - Local Mapping Revisited Block D: Key Social Science Skills Lect. 17 - Social classification Lect. 18 - Thinking through theory Lect. 19 - Problematising the everyday Class 5 - Fieldwork Briefing Class 7 - Seminar: Are students consumers? ILE 2 - Local Mapping Exercise ILE 5 - Everyday theorising about work Class Tutors will be provided with a resource pack and a Class Tutor Handbook to assist with the effective delivery and efficient organisation of each class. Similarly, students will be provided with a module handbook, resource pack and field trail guide to support and direct learning in each task.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:" Understand the origin, historical development and contemporary manifestation of some of the principal challenges which confront contemporary societies" Appreciate the contribution that the social sciences (together, as a whole and from their different disciplines and perspectives) make to understanding and responding to these issues" Appreciate how similar social challenges present in different societal contexts" Utilise social science to enhance understanding of their personal lifeworld, local issues and global issues" Access and effectively utilise a range of learning resources (online, library, field-based, and classroom based), working both independently and in small groups

Teaching / Learning Strategy

In some respects, the learning strategy is conventional, i.e. it comprises a spine of lectures, supported by small group work, directed learning and is underpinned with online support (GCU Learn). However, to ensure equity of learning experience and to capitalise upon opportunities afforded for students based in Europe and Africa to directly engage and learn from each other, a bespoke learning strategy is applied. Social Science: An Interdisciplinary Introduction is a pre-requisite Level One module for ALC students, with progression to Level Two of the BA Social Sciences programme, conditional upon successful completion. It will be the final module of their Level One studies. However, students will be on placement when they are completing 2S2I and are likely to be dispersed across Africa. ALC students will attend an introductory four-day pre-programme of 2S2I learning in Mauritius, in advance of commencing the module (and starting placement). ALC students will complete 2S2I in a single trimester. In contrast, Social Science: An Interdisciplinary Introduction is an elective module for Glasgow-based students. Glasgow-based students in GSBS complete modules across the whole academic year in Level One and students will complete 2S2I across two trimesters. Learning is acquired through a carefully balanced and complementary blend of lectures, fieldwork, independent learning and small group work. As befits an introductory module, acquiring grounding in the fundamentals of social science is a primary goal of 2S2I, which will be achieved through a core programme of lectures . All lectures will be 'delivered' by the Module Leader. This will provide a degree of consistency and continuity for students. However, a wide range of GSBS staff will contribute to these lectures, through professional pre-recordings of material that will be integrated to the presentation. A typical lecture might comprise a spine of learning delivered by the Module Leader and two or three recordings (of 5-10 minutes duration) from subject specialists, e.g. three different political scientists providing insight into each of the United Nations, European Union or G8 in Lecture 8 (Global Institutions), or two historians debating the relative importance of different historical periods to urban development in Lecture 11 (Glasgow: development of the city), or sociologists, journalists, political scientists and historians each contributing insight into how particular places have been represented in Lecture 16 (Representing place). Multiple possibilities present for a wide array of GCU's social science expertise to inform and enhance the learning experience in lectures. It is envisaged that these pre-recordings would each have a shelf-life of at least three years. Although imparting knowledge is the primary goal of the lectures, each lecture will involve at least one active learning task. Glasgow-based students will be expected to attend lectures in person; ALC-based students will be expected to access recordings of these lectures through GCU Learn (Glasgow-based students will also have access to these recordings). Two lectures will be delivered to the ALC-based students in person at the pre-programme in Mauritius. Visualising social science in-the-field through fieldwork is an important learning strategy in 2S2I . Simultaneously, this brings the class-based learning to life and affords an opportunity to better understand places through social science. Fieldwork will be equivalent, but approached in different ways by each cohort. Glasgow-based students will complete a student-led field trail through the city of Glasgow (from Giffnock to Easterhouse) in Trimester B. ALC students will work in small groups to generate a field guide to Port Louis, as part of the pre-programme in Mauritius. ALC students will also be tasked to reflect on their placement locality. Field reflection and learning contributes to coursework 3. Students complete seven independent learning tasks across the module. For example, students will: (i) complete a venn diagram to describe the overlaps between social science disciplines; (ii) review how their host city/country is marketed to students; and (iii) reflect on their migration experiences and the impact this has on their identity. Clear guidance is provided and key questions are posed in advance for each exercise. Each task is completed independently, but students are then required to discuss their ideas with a small group of students from their own cohort using the discussion board facility in GCU Learn. The first independent learning task for ALC students will be completed during the pre-programme in Mauritius. Two forms of small group work are completed in 2S2I . First, small discussion groups will be formed, comprising at least two ALC students and a larger group of Glasgow-based students. For each of the six weeks of the 'Global Social Science' block, each of the small discussion groups will be tasked to use the 'discussion boards' facility within GCU Learn to explore a key issue, related to that week's learning, e.g. 'Is the future Asian?' will be discussed during the week when the lecture is concerned with World Regions; 'Does the global economy exacerbate or ameliorate inequality' will be discussed during the week when the lecture is concerned with the Global Economy. One session with Class Tutors will also support this student-led learning (Virtual session for ALC students). Second, eight small group learning tasks will be completed. In Glasgow, students will attend classes in person; ALC students will complete the equivalent task utilising content-sharing tools on GCU Learn. For example, students will complete a role-play exercise to explore whether 'we live in an increasingly dangerous world' and a seminar discussion will appraise whether or not students are consumers. Active learning and reflexivity are central to 2S2I learning through lectures, independent learning, fieldwork and small group work. For example, in terms of reflexivity, students will be asked to complete an online survey at the outset, which will provide a summary of the cohort's opinion and experiences. At least one question in the survey relates directly to each lecture topic. The survey findings will be utilised throughout the module to enhance (and personalise) the learning experience, e.g. it will provide material that will be utilised in some classes (e.g. class 1: YOUR perceptions and expectations of social science) and all lectures. In advance of each lecture, relevant survey results will be presented to students to prime the students for the lectures and to encourage the students to 'think around' lecture topics. For example, in advance of the lecture on social classification, responses will be shared on the survey question of 'when should someone be considered as a resident, as opposed to a migrant?' ALC students will complete the survey at the start of their pre-programme in Mauritius; Glasgow-based students will complete the survey in the first week of the module. The subject matter will be engaging and active learning will be promoted throughout. To this end, skill development will be embedded, rather than directly taught. However, students' attention will be drawn to the opportunities afforded for skill development (and further skill enhancement) throughout the module. For 'local social science', examples will be drawn from both Mauritius and the city of Glasgow. This will assist students to appreciate how similar social challenges present in different so

Indicative Reading

Students will be directed to key reading for each lecture, class and field activity. Reading will be bespoke to each task and wherever possible, online sources will be used (or material will be made available through GCU online resources). The focus in this module will be on students following a directed reading programme, rather than students taking responsibility for sourcing material (although sourcing material independently will also be important for coursework exercises). By way of indication, the following guidance on reading to supplement lecture 3 (doing social science), is provided for The Business of Social Science, the complementary module with which 2S2I will share the same lecture programme. Doing Social Science (Lecture 3). Social Research Update is a series of short (four-page) briefing papers that has been published by the Department of Sociology at the University of Surrey since 1993. Over sixty papers have been published. Some of these are advanced and very technical, but many are straightforward introductions to different ways of doing research. Scan the list of papers at <http://sru.soc.surrey.ac.uk/> to appreciate the wide range of techniques that are used in social research. Pick a paper that seems to be of interest to you. If it turns out to be too advanced, pick a different paper to read.

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following key areas: Academic and intellectual skills: -567b7 Identifying, gathering, assessing and organising evidence b7 Understanding of the different approaches which disciplines take to global social and economic issues b7 Critically comparing alternative perspectives on social and business issues Personal Development: -567b7 Group working with students from a range of disciplines and perspectives b7 Experience in exercising judgement on the relevance and reliability of information b7 Capacity for working independently Enterprise or Business skills: -567b7 Communication - verbal, written and online b7 Effective time management and organising tasks to meet deadlines

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Practicals (FT) 10.00
Seminars (FT) 10.00
Independent Learning (FT) 120.00
Lectures (FT) 20.00
Assessment (FT) 40.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 2 n/a 50.00 35% Summative assessment in the form of a Powerpoint presentation with embedded audio (10-15 slides maximum; 5 minutes duration maximum)To be submitted in the study week after the last teaching week (ALC students) or week 11 of Trimester 2 (Glasgow students). Students will submit a Powerpoint presentation with embedded audio, in addition to providing slide notes). This presentation will focus on one substantive issue from the block on 'Local social science' and will involve field evidence collected by the student. The presentation will be submitted online and will be assessed by academic staff (evaluating presentation skills and substantive knowledge).
Coursework 1 n/a 50.00 35% Summative assessment in the form of a 1500 word essay.To be submitted in week 9 (ALC students) or in week 7 of Trimester 2 (Glasgow students).The essay will focus on one substantive issue from the block on 'Global Social Science.' Students will have the option of integrating content from the first formative assessment into this work (providing a conceptual underpinning for the essay). This essay will be submitted online and will be assessed by academic staff (evaluating essay skills and substantive knowledge).