Learning Outcomes

History 119’s learning outcomes – that is, the skills and the body of knowledge which we hope you will attain as a result of participating in this course – may be defined as follows:

  1. An understanding that history does not mean purely  ‘what happened in the past’, but how those events have been interpreted by successive generations, and that history is therefore created by those who examine the past. You should be able to understand why historians of Rome and the early Middle Ages have asked certain questions and not others, what has led them to formulate theories, why they have used certain methods, why certain sources have been chosen to support arguments, and what have been the consequences of these choices for the overall understanding of the period. You should understand the distinction between primary and secondary sources and the uses of each, and the causes and effects of new methods and new concepts in the historical agenda. You should have developed an idea of how historical debates emerge and why they are influential and important in the writing of academic history. You should thereby have developed an understanding of the discipline of history and its methods.
  2. A body of knowledge about the political, economic, military, cultural and religious institutions of the Roman Empire c.250-550, how and why those institutions changed over the period, and why these changes have traditionally been viewed as a ‘decline’. You should therefore be able to understand broader arguments and theories about imperial structures, and the forces, both external and internal, that impact upon them to create change. You should thereby have attained an extensive knowledge of a major subject in European history, and of historians’ treatment of it.
  3. A grasp of bibliographical search techniques – in other words, the ability to find your way around and locate sources in an academic library. Part of this technique is the ability to distinguish between different kinds of historical writing (for example, how a monograph differs from a survey, or a journal article from an essay in an edited collection), and to understand the functions of each. You should have developed the ability to assess historical writing for yourself, and to use what you have read with integrity in your own work. You should also be able to transfer the same skill to oral debate in seminars. You should have further developed your intellectual skills as an historian. These skills should also be valuable when transferred later to the worlds of work and of lifelong learning, whether or not within the historical profession.
  4. The ability to read critically and efficiently, to make useful notes on what you have read, to articulate the main arguments of a given piece of writing in your own words whether on paper or orally, and to express your own ideas with clarity and accuracy in good English. In addition, you should be able to work in a group as well as alone. You should have begun to use the resources offered by Information Technology in your research. You should have demonstrated an ability to respond to such constructive criticism as may be offered as part of the assessment of the course. The formation of these skills will be enabled by and will contribute to effective management of your time. You should thereby have developed a range of transferable practical skills, which should later prove valuable in your career development.

History 119 is one of the Creating Histories units offered in the History Department, which together with your chosen Topics in History unit make up your Part I in History. Some of the learning outcomes of this unit are particular to it, but others are shared with other Part I courses. The degree to which you achieve these outcomes will obviously depend on your own commitment and performance throughout the year.

MySpace: Lancaster University Personal Development Planning

While you are a student at Lancaster University, you will be reflecting on the skills you have gained through your studies, employment and social activities in your personal record held on MySpace. This record asks you to reflect on eleven specific areas: adaptability and flexibility, computer literacy, information and research skills, initiative and self-motivation, interpersonal skills, numeracy, oral communication, planning and management, problem solving and decision making, team working skills, written communication. As these aims suggest, there is much you will be doing in your history courses on which you can draw for evidence of activity and feedback.

If you go on to Part II History, you are welcome to bring any issues arising from it to your progress review if you so choose. Progress reviews provide an opportunity for you to discuss how you are progressing, and any particular concerns you have about your studies or the department in a private consultation. You can request one in your Second Year, and will be invited to one at the beginning of your Third Year.

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