TACKLING SOCIAL ISSUES - 2024/5

Module code: SOC0002

Module Overview

The module creates opportunities for students to draw on their learning from the law, politics and sociology modules and apply them to social issues, enabling them to recognize the interplay between the subjects. The module will ensure topical social issues are raised and analysed from the political, sociological, and legal perspectives. Learners will develop knowledge and understanding of how the policy landscape and other interventions may tackle social issues. They will also complete activities that help them to understand their own aptitudes and learning preferences. 

Module provider

Sociology

Module Leader

SHANAHAN Mark (FASS Admin)

Number of Credits: 45

ECTS Credits: 22.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 3

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 372

Lecture Hours: 22

Seminar Hours: 44

Guided Learning: 66

Captured Content: 12

Module Availability

Year long

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

N/A

Module content

Indicative content includes:



  1. Experiential Learning: emphasizes learning through practical experiences, enabling individuals to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world situations. It fosters critical thinking and problem-solving skills. In social sciences, experiential learning can bridge the gap between theory and practice, helping students gain a deeper understanding of complex social issues by engaging in hands-on research, fieldwork, or internships. 


  2. Employability and Professional Development: preparing individuals for the job market by developing skills, knowledge, and attributes that employers seek. Social science graduates benefit from employability and professional development to enhance their job prospects in fields like social work, policy analysis, and research. 


  3. Team Working: collaboration and teamwork skills are crucial for solving complex societal issues and enhancing productivity in professional settings. In social sciences, interdisciplinary teamwork is vital for comprehensive problem-solving, which can involve experts from sociology, law, and politics working together. 


  4. Networking: building relationships with peers, mentors, and professionals to gain insights, support, and opportunities. Networking is essential in the social sciences for research collaborations, accessing resources, and connecting with individuals who can contribute to current and future career aspirations and/or projects. 


  5. Interview Techniques: enhancing communication skills and the ability to gather valuable information through interviews. Researchers in social sciences often conduct interviews for data collection, and strong interview techniques are vital for obtaining accurate and meaningful insights. 


  6. Innovation and Creativity: encouraging novel approaches to address social issues and fostering creative problem-solving. Social scientists need innovative thinking to propose new policies, social interventions, and research methodologies. 


  7. Social Awareness: developing an understanding of societal issues, inequalities, and cultural diversity. Social awareness is fundamental in social sciences, as it provides the empathy and insight required to address complex problems and advocate for social change. 


  8. Self-Reflection: encouraging self-awareness and personal growth, leading to improved decision-making and behaviour. Self-reflection helps social scientists critically assess their biases, values, and ethical considerations in their work. 


  9. Law/Politics/Sociology Knowledge: gaining a deep understanding of these foundational disciplines to analyse and address societal challenges. Proficiency in these areas is essential for social scientists to comprehend the legal and political aspects of issues and to conduct rigorous sociological research. 



 

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework POSTER PRESENTATION OF CRITICAL TEXT REVIEW 30
Oral exam or presentation GROUP PRACTITIONER INTERVIEW VIDEO AND PRESENTATION 30
Coursework GROUP POLICY PROPOSAL 30
School-timetabled exam/test IN-CLASS TESTS X 5 (15 minutes each) 10

Alternative Assessment

For practitioner interview, resitting students will conduct a 1-1 interview with an agreed appropriate practitioner or academic and provide a synopsis for course tutors; for Group policy proposal, students will complete an individual policy proposal and undertake necessary research as part of this. process. 

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of what it takes to become a social policy maker/evaluator/practitioner, addressing social issues with a critical mindset, and how to identify personal strengths and weaknesses whilst reflecting on personal learning and experiences. This addresses Learning Outcomes 1-5. 

 
Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of: 
 



  • An individual A/V response to a longer text chosen from a competing list of three that the students have read (semester 1)  


  • Group practitioner interview video and presentation (semester 2) linked to the public policy proposal (below) 


  • Articulating a social issue and developing a group public policy proposal (semester 2) 


  • 5 x in-seminar tests (15 minutes each) 



 

 
Formative assessment and Feedback 
 
Students will receive an extensive amount of verbal formative feedback across the year when completing their summative assessments of interviewing a practitioner (semester 2), articulating a social issue, and developing a policy proposal (semester 2). Student groups will be closely mentored and guided into making decisions which best represent themselves and the University as they engage with external parties. 
 
Additionally, students will conduct forms of self-evaluation and self-assessment. For example, students will complete the ‘Belbin Team Roles’ assessment to discover behavioural strengths and development areas and the ‘Myers Briggs Type Indicator’ (MBTI) assessment to provide an insight into personality type and behavioural tendencies. These formative assessments will enable students to learn more about how and when they work best.  
 

Module aims

  • To facilitate interdisciplinary learning by encouraging students to integrate concepts and insights from law, politics, and sociology into their understanding of social issues.
  • To foster critical thinking and analytical skills, enabling students to recognize and evaluate the interconnectedness of legal, political, and sociological dimensions within complex social problems.
  • To engage students in the exploration and analysis of contemporary social issues selected by the module leader and programme team, emphasizing the relevance and timeliness of the topics.
  • To deepen students' knowledge and comprehension of the various policy frameworks and interventions employed to address social issues, with a focus on their effectiveness and implications.
  • To provide opportunities for self-reflection and self-awareness, enabling students to identify their own aptitudes and learning preferences and apply this awareness to their studies and future endeavours.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the interplay between law, politics, and sociology, and apply this knowledge to analyze and discuss social issues effectively. CPT
002 Acquire the ability to identify and critically evaluate topical social issues from political, sociological, and legal perspectives, showcasing their analytical skills and their capacity to approach complex problems from multiple angles. KCPT
003 Develop a nuanced understanding of how policies and other interventions operate within the context of addressing social issues, enabling them to assess the effectiveness of various approaches to societal challenges. CT
004 Engage in self-reflection and self-assessment activities to gain insight into their own aptitudes and learning preferences, helping them to become more self-aware and adaptable learners, capable of optimizing their learning experiences in various contexts. KP
005 Refine communication and teamwork skills through collaborative projects and discussions, enabling them to articulate and defend their perspectives effectively while respecting diverse viewpoints, fostering constructive dialogue on social issues. CT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The teaching and learning strategy is designed to expose students to a range of social issues and how to evaluate the policy landscape addressing the social issues. This will empower students to build a critical mind set and develop higher levels of social awareness. From this, students will be supported and encouraged to prepare appropriate responses to social issues throughout the module and be given the opportunity to put these into action towards the assessments. 
 
Students will be mentored but given the freedom to explore avenues and interests they wish to pursue (Semester 1: prepare a critical response to an issue-rich text and Semester 2: articulate a social issue and develop, with fellow students, a policy proposal of their choice linked to a key practitioner interview). This freedom will allow students to flourish on a critical mindset level whilst instilling them with the confidence to become independent learners. 
 
The learning and teaching methods include: 
 
In semester 1, a mixture of lectures and guest lectures, seminars/tutorials and an experiential visit linked to one of the key themes of study. The lectures will introduce theories and methods of critical thinking, the characteristics of a social practitioner, policy landscape, professional skillset etc. Guest lectures will provide the students with insights from social practitioners and public figures – each with a different and unique story to tell. We will open the module with a session on team building activities, creative thinking, and problem solving – whilst introducing students to the module as a whole. 
 
In semester 2, collaborative seminars/workshops and a Policy Proposal mini conference. The seminars and workshops will be in collaborative spaces and allow the students the chance to work in their groups develop their policy proposal and linked practitioner interviews. In these seminars and workshops, students will be mentored, guided and supported in the articulation of social issue and development of relevant policy and given the freedom to be critical with their ideas. The Mini Conference will be in week 9/10 of semester 2 and will be a chance for the students to advocate their policy idea to policy experts in an event set up by the teaching team on campus. 
 
Across both semesters we will run a series of five short in-class tests to spot-check knowledge and recognise engagement with the key topics covered in the module.These will carry a very low individual tariff of 2% and are designed to encourage attendance and active engagement with the subjects of discussion. The tests will not be flagged to students in advance and will be conducted within seminar sessions on an individual basis.  

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

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOC0002

Other information

The Foundation Programme in Social Sciences is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module contributes to the five pillars in the following ways: 

Employability  

This module enhances students' employability skills by fostering a holistic understanding of the intricate relationship between law, politics, and sociology in the context of addressing pressing social issues. By encouraging students to synthesize knowledge from these diverse disciplines, it cultivates critical thinking and analytical abilities, vital for any professional setting. Additionally, learners engage in self-reflection activities to identify their learning preferences and strengths, helping them tailor their professional development strategies.  

Digital capabilities  

There is a level of digital skill and ability that is expected and demonstrated through engagement with the content and learning materials. All teaching materials and key content will be made available in multimedia forms through the Virtual Learning Environment SurreyLearn. The module’s interdisciplinary and collaborative approach equips students with the digital skills needed to work effectively as a team. This includes the use of virtual collaboration software and basic video editing/ production skills. 

Global and cultural capabilities  

By bridging the fields of law, politics, and sociology, the module encourages learners to combine their knowledge from these disciplines and apply this to real-world global challenges. This interdisciplinary approach facilitates the recognition of the intricate interplay between these subjects, fostering a holistic understanding of complex global issues. Additionally, through tailored activities, students develop self-awareness, enhancing their cultural competencies and preparing them for a globally connected world. 

Sustainability 

Through this module, learners gain an understanding of how policy frameworks and other interventions can address complex problems such as sustainability. Furthermore, the module engages students in activities that help them identify their own strengths and learning preferences, facilitating a personalized and impactful journey towards sustainability awareness and action. This will be linked to the Inner Development Goals (IDG) framework, consisting of five dimensions with 23 skills and qualities of human inner growth and development.   

Resourcefulness and resilience  

This module nurtures resourcefulness and resilience by fostering a multifaceted understanding of social issues. By integrating knowledge from law, politics, and sociology modules, students are encouraged to recognize the intricate interplay between these subjects, equipping them with a holistic perspective. Students also gain self-awareness about their own aptitudes and learning preferences, further enhancing their resourcefulness and resilience as they navigate the collaborative assessments, demonstrating the ability to respond individually and collectively to challenges and setbacks.  

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Criminology and Sociology with Foundation Year BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Criminology with Foundation Year BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Law with Criminology with Foundation Year LLB (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Law with International Relations with Foundation Year LLB (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Media and Communication with Foundation Year BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Sociology with Foundation Year BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Law with Foundation Year LLB (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Politics with Foundation Year BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
International Relations with Foundation Year BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Politics and Sociology with Foundation Year BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% 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.