Representing Manchester: Designing and Delivering a First Year Mandatory Core Unit

Ginette Carpenter (was Michelis 2)MMUc

This panel discusses Representing Manchester, a Level 4 (first year) core module designed for all students on the nine degree programmes housed by the department of English at Manchester Met. It was first delivered in 2018-19 to approximately 240 students and then in 2019 to approx. 300. In term one the unit teaches theoretical, analytical and critical approaches to reading at university level; term two turns to production skills as students devise, research and complete an extended project. The unit also delivers skills-based learning and personal tutoring and is designed as a holistic approach to Level 4 learning whereby a focus on the discipline-specific strategies needed for transition, learning and progression are augmented by ongoing skills delivery and academic support. All of this is achieved via the lens of a wide range of texts produced by and representative of Greater Manchester and the attendant cultural geographies.

The papers in this panel address differing aspects of the unit’s remit to demonstrate the huge potential for learning and innovation that this type of delivery can bring but also some of the problems we have encountered in managing and/or teaching on such a large core. This session, then, will be rooted in the particularities of this new unit at Manchester Metropolitan but, at the same time, opens-up wider thinking about curriculum design and delivery.

Strategic Overview - Facilitating Progression, Risk-Taking and Skills Development (Dr Nicola Bishop)

Education Lead, Department of English Manchester Metropolitan University

This paper takes an overview of the ways that a substantial core unit designed in this way can support a wide array of initiatives that contribute towards significant areas such as progression, closing the attainment gap, and the development of skills that will be crucial for the degree (and beyond). It looks at the ways that Representing Manchester has become a significant portal through which to address key aspects of the student experience, from both a micro and macro perspective, as a platform for curricular development (reading and writing skills, for instance), extra-curricular opportunities (including careers and employability support), and personal development.

Easing Transition - Embedding Personal Tutoring into Unit Delivery (Dr Ginette Carpenter)

Level 4 (Year One) Stage Tutor, Department of English, Manchester Metropolitan University

One of the key design aims of Representing Manchester was to implement a new method of delivery for Level 4 personal tutoring (PT). This was driven by historically erratic engagement with PT meetings over Level 4 and a desire to foster greater cohesion between curriculum content, delivery and PT. In dovetailing Level 4 PT with curriculum delivery the unit seeks to augment the tutor-tutee relationship, facilitating both weekly contact and differential levels of support. In this paper I detail the tutor and student experience of this model of embedded PT and argue for the benefits of this structure for underpinning a holistic student journey that emphasises transition, retention and progression.

Reading & Writing the City - Supporting Student Projects (Dr David Cooper)

Senior Lecturer, Department of English, Manchester Metropolitan University

The major assignment for the ‘Representing Manchester’ unit is the design and production of a substantial independent project emerging from the city and its environs. This paper will map out the pedagogic rationale for introducing place-based – and potentially interdisciplinary - project work at Level 4 paying particular attention to the opportunities it offers for the braiding of critical, creative, and reflective practices. It will also reflect on some of the pedagogic challenges that this extended, and often participatory, work has presented to tutors including the raising of ethical questions and issues and the time-intensiveness of project supervision.

Fri 11:00 am - 12:15 pm