Module code: MFC3042

Module Overview

Innovations in frame-by-frame filmmaking techniques and technology have played a significant role in the evolution of cinema and the moving image. Animation could be argued as the precursor to cinema, as early animation devices preceded the invention of the motion picture camera. Today, animation and frame-by-frame filmmaking plays a significant role in cinema, from special effects in blockbuster Hollywood films to the rise in popularity and success of animated features. This module addresses animation from a historical and/or contemporary perspective by looking at examples of different types of frame-by-frame filmmaking (e.g. traditional animation, digital and CGI animation, studio animation, independent and artist animation). The focus of the module will vary according to the convener’s interest and expertise, but could, for example, focus on one example of animation in-depth (e.g. Disney animation or digital animation) or cover a range in terms of history, technology, aesthetics. By responding to the convener’s research interests and expertise, the module will introduce current research in animation and/or film studies and/or new media studies.

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

HONESS ROE Bella (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 20

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 1

Independent Learning Hours: 71.5

Seminar Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 0.5

Guided Learning: 44

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

A possible list of topics could include

  • Early animation and frame-by-frame techniques

  • The early animation studios

  • Disney and studio animation

  • The Golden Age of American animation

  • Avant-garde, abstract and artist animation

  • Case studies of national animation

  • Computer and digital animation

  • The evolution of 3D technology

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation PARTICIPATION 10
Coursework PRESENTATION 45
Coursework ESSAY 45

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge of important moments, theories and issues associated with animation, the ability to analyse a specific film, body of work or studio in depth and within a broader context of animation studies/ history. The individual presentation is designed to develop students’ oral and audio-visual skills by asking them to ‘teach’ their peers (rather than merely ‘present’ to them). Students will develop confidence in communicating their research findings to a group of peers and resourcefulness in researching and presenting an assigned topic.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Participation in weekly seminars. The module’s success is dependent on student engagement and participation in the weekly seminar discussion. This includes responses to the films screened and any assigned preparation work (including viewing and reading material). The participation mark recognizes the work students put in to making the weekly seminars a successful, collaborative learning space

  • Individual 25-minute presentation. These take place during teaching weeks (usually from week 3 onwards) and topics are assigned  at the beginning of semester. The week following the presentation, students will self-reflect and receive verbal feedback from their peers. This process fosters a mutually supportive and positive learning environment between student peers, and encourages in-depth reflection on what makes a ‘successful’ presentation.  

  • 1-page reflection on presentation, to be uploaded within a week of the in-class feedback, in which students reflect in writing on their presentation.. This is a pass/fail assignment.

  • 2000-2500 word essay (end of semester)


Formative assessment and feedback

  • In-class reflections on presentations (see above)

  • Essay preparation sessions. This includes one timetabled essay outline workshop session. Students are also invited to a 1-on-1 essay tutorial with the module convener.  

  • In-class participation in verbal analysis of films and readings.

  • Weekly discussions of the module material will provide students with ongoing feedback on their analysis and interpretation skills.

Module aims

  • The module aims to: provide an opportunity to investigate and discuss contemporary and/or historical animation and frame-by-frame film making
  • provide an understanding of different styles, techniques and aesthetics of analogue and digital animation and other frame-by-frame techniques of film making
  • look at key theoretical questions associated with understanding and interpreting animation
  • situate animation within the context of live action cinema
  • develop students' confidence in presentation skills in preparation for graduation

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 By the end of the module students will be able to: identify key moments/ films/ studios/ movements in the history of animation and how they fit into a broader history KCPT
002 Identify different styles and techniques of animation KCPT
003 Analyse animation in terms of the key theoretical questions and in relation to live-action KCPT
004 Situate animation within the broader context of live-action cinema KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Provide students with a in-depth knowledge of animation

  • Expose students to the range and depth of animation

  • Provide students with the necessary knowledge and analytical skills to interpret and analyse the work of animated media

  • Allow students to practice these analytical skills verbally and in writing

  • Develop students’ confidence in oral presentation

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lecturer and seminars

  • Reading using lecturer’s guidance

  • Film screenings

  • Researching and preparing presentations

  • Participating in discussion

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: MFC3042

Other information

Surrey's Curriculum Framework is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability: The individual presentation helps students develop key transferable skills in oral and audio-visual presentation, research and critical thinking. It replicates an activity required in many working environments and jobs (having to independently research an unfamiliar topic/ area and then present findings to your colleagues/ peers in a way that is informative and engaging). The verbal peer feedback on the presentations develops important skills in evaluating and feeding back on the work of colleagues and peers.

Digital Capabilities: Elements of the module’s curriculum develop students’ understanding of the relationship between digital technology and contemporary moving image culture. The influence of digital technology on aesthetic developments in the history of animation (and vice versa) is core to many of the module’s topics and this enhances students’ understanding of the impact of digital technology on cultural production.  Students also engage with Surrey’s VLE and other digital platforms as part of their engagement with the module.

Global and Cultural Capabilities: This module recognizes that animation pervades almost every aspect of cultural and, increasingly, social life. From the animated images in popular culture to our interactions with hand-held devices and apps through which we navigate the social and physical world. Students will be introduced to a range of animated media from around the world and the module engages with the structural inequalities that have shaped what animation gets made and by whom. As such, students will reflect on issues to do with gender, race, sexuality and geography.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: The individual presentation requires students to be resourceful in independently researching a topic, devising the best way to present their finding to their peers. It develops confidence in public speaking and oral and audiovisual presentation. It develops resilience in taking on board peer feedback (and understanding how to thoughtfully and respectfully provide feedback to others in a constructive, positive and honest way). It develops camaraderie and mutual support along with a strong sense of achievement.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
English Literature with German BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.