SHE Level 1
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M1L324754
Module Leader John McKendrick
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Sociology
  • 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)
  • C (May start)

Summary of Content

As the title suggests, this module aims to introduce prospective social science students to (i) the principles, ideas and value of the social sciences; and (ii) interdisciplinary social science. This module has been designed as a pre-requisite to Level 2 BA Social Sciences degree entry for students who are based with ALC in Mauritius. 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. This 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 three 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 equivalent programme of learning, spanning trimesters B and C (for students based in Mauritius) and as a double trimester programme of learning spanning trimesters A and B (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.


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 Block B: Global Social Science Lect. 8 - ECONOMY: A globalising world? Lect. 9 - PEOPLE: Population crises? Lect. 10 - PLACES: World regions Lect. 11 - POWER: Global Institutions Lect. 12 - PROBLEMS: Global inequality Lect. 13 - ENVIRONMENT: Global challenges Online discussion: ECONOMY: The pursuit of profit Online discussion: PEOPLE: Who are you? Online discussion: PLACES: What is the purpose of a university? Online discussion: POWER: Is it a man's world? Online discussion: PROBLEMS: Is prostitution a problem? Online discussion: ENVIRONMENT: Is social media ruining your life? Block C: Understanding Glasgow and Mauritius (Local social science) Lect. 14 - ECONOMY: The development of the city Lect. 15 - PEOPLE: Population and migration Lect. 16 - PLACES: Worlds within the city Lect. 17 - POWER: Who controls the city Lect. 18 - PROBLEMS: Health and well-being Lect. 19 - ENVIRONMENT: Quality and sustainability Glasgow City Student-led Field Trail / Port Louis Field Exploration Block D: Key Social Science Skills Lect. 5 - Social classification Lect. 6 - Thinking through theory Lect. 7 - Problematising the everyday Class Tutors will be provided with a resource pack to assist with the effective delivery and efficient organisation of each class. Similarly, students will be provided with a module handbook/resource book 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:1) Understand the origin, historical development and contemporary manifestation of some of the principal challenges which confront contemporary societies2) 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 issues3) Appreciate how similar social challenges present in different societal contexts4) Utilise social science to enhance understanding of their personal lifeworld, local issues and global issues5) 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, to be completed prior to students embarking on a work placement. ALC students will attend an introductory three-day pre-programme of 2S2I learning in Mauritius, in week one). ALC students will complete 2S2I in the equivalent of a single trimester, spanning trimesters B and C. In contrast and information, Social Science: An Interdisciplinary Introduction is also an elective module for Glasgow-based students (which can be 'dropped' and replaced with a language). Glasgow-based students in GSBS complete modules across the whole academic year in Level One and students will complete 2S2I across two trimesters (A and B). Consequently, there is a six-week period at the end of trimester B, which affords an opportunity for students based in Mauritius and Glasgow to interact directly in small group work. 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 one recording (of around 5 minutes duration) from a subject specialists from across the social sciences at GCU, e.g. consideration of issues of migration and belonging (sociological contribution to Lecture 15), appraisal of deliberative democracy (political science contribution to Lecture 17), analysis of stalking behaviour (criminological contribution to Lecture 17 complementing the political science contribution to consider 'hard' and soft' powerreflections on epigenetic change and famine (history contribution to Lecture 9) and review of the gender pay gap (economics contribution to Lecture 18). These videocasts afford the possibility for a wide array of GCU's social science expertise to inform and enhance the learning experience in lectures. Although imparting knowledge is the primary goal of the lectures, each lecture will involve at least one active learning task, largely based on responses provided by students to a pre-module survey. Students will be expected to access recordings of these lectures through GCU Learn. Two lectures will be delivered in person at the Induction programme in Mauritius. Six virtual classes will be convened each trimester to support student's independent learning though the module. Two of these classes will directly support students with coursework one (Social Science Skills Portfolio); (ii) two classes will support the fieldwork exercise and (iii) two classes will support the cross-continental discussions. These 'virtual' classes will be convened every fortnight. 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. Students will complete a city centre field trail (walking only) in Port Louis, during the induction week. Field reflection and learning contributes to formative and summative coursework. Small group work is also integral to 2S2I . Small discussion groups will be formed, comprising at least two ALC students and a larger group of Glasgow-based students. For each of the last six weeks of Trimester B (first six weeks of the module for ALC students and last six weeks of the module for Glasgow students), each of the small discussion groups will be tasked to explore a key issue, related to the six core themes explored in 'global social science' and 'local social science', e.g. 'Is it a man's world?' (Power and Institutions); and 'the pursuit of profit' (Economy). Two sessions with Class Tutors will also support this student-led learning (Virtual session for ALC students) for these group discussions. The groups will be accorded the responsibility of specifying a learning platform to support this work, in accordance with their needs/availability, although all are encouraged to use a platform that allows for face-to-face interaction. Students complete independent learning tasks at key points in the module. For example, students will: (i) complete a venn diagram to describe the overlaps between social science disciplines; and complete a mental mapping exercise at the start and end of the module to appraise how their understanding of Port Louis has changed. 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 will be completed during the induction programme in Mauritius. 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?' Students will complete the survey at the start of their pre-programme in Mauritius. 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 societal contexts. For each block ('Introducing Social Sciences', 'Global Social Science', 'Local

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). 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 <> 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
Tutorials (FT) 6.00
Independent Learning (FT) 120.00
Practicals (FT) 8.00
Assessment (FT) 40.00
Lectures (FT) 20.00
Seminars (FT) 6.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
CW2 Course Work 02 n/a 50.00 35% Summative assessment in the form of a 1500 word essay.To be submitted in the second week of the examination diet.The essay will task students to draw from the lectures, fieldwork, cross-continental discussions and associated reading to address a key issues in social sciencesThis essay will be submitted online and will be assessed by academic staff (evaluating essay skills and substantive knowledge).
CW1 Course Work 01 n/a 50.00 35% Summative assessment of the Social Sciences Skills Portfolio.To be submitted in week 10.This portfolio will be submitted online and will be assessed by academic staff (evaluating skill acquisition).