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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Health in Social Science : School of Health in Social Science

Undergraduate Course: Learning from the lives of others (SHSS08003)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Health in Social Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis is a second semester option course offered primarily to students on the Health, Science and Society MA undergraduate degree programme. Priority is given to students on this degree programme. It is designed to complement the second semester core course Identity and Experience in Health and Society through personal experience of engagement in the community with persons with needs which compromise their health. The course offers students the opportunity to develop new skills and knowledge and enrich their learning experience through working on a voluntary basis for a non-profit organisation. It is thus also an opportunity to develop civic responsibility and understanding of social ethics through a genuine contribution to local people's lives. The organisations involved are deeply concerned with supporting vulnerable or disadvantaged people in our local community, and are offering full training and support for students who take this option.

Please note:
1. Initial meetings and training for voluntary roles take place in semester 1. Students interested in this course should contact the course organiser ideally before end October. Places will NOT be available after end November.
2. Expenses involved in taking this course: printing costs for an academic poster; travel costs (local buses) may be needed to reach some volunteering locations.
Course description This course offers practical real-life experience of assisting people with pressing needs improve their lives. Through personal engagement with individuals, students will simultaneously be making a contribution to the quality of others' lives in our local community and enhancing their understanding of situated individual experience and its consequences on health and daily living. Hands-on activity will be integrated with academic work to provide an innovative learning opportunity that will deepen appreciation of academic course materials while developing life and employability skills.

Students taking this option course will be introduced to a hosting non-profit organisation (NPO) in semester 1 where, with oversight from the course organiser, a package of work will be agreed. The precise nature of the work may vary according to NPO, but will involve supporting the work of the organisation, often through sustained personal contact with specified users of the organisation's services. This will involve the ability to establish supportive and friendly working relationships according to the requirements of the immediate context.

All necessary training, supervision and support will be provided by the NPO, but students will be required to maintain contact with a designated member of the course team. Alongside the practical work, students will undertake regular independent study activities of reading, writing and critical reflection designed to support understanding of the relationship between academic study of materials and actual life experience.

The timetable for the practical work involved in this course will be flexible, depending on student timetables and the requirements of the voluntary work undertaken. Although most work will be carried out independently, there will be ten class meetings through the semester which will provide a formal point of contact and support towards achieving the learning objectives. These are a required element of the course.

Initial meetings between the participating student and the NPO will take place in semester 1, so that students are prepared and confident to start work at the beginning of semester 2.

Initial training for the voluntary work agreed will be given by the hosting NPO. Learning will take place through contributions to the services provided by the NPO in the local community throughout the semester. There will also be 10 classroom sessions to discuss the work and experiences of students and to guide reading and reflection in relation to academic materials, and a system of support offered by the course team.

The student will be expected to develop and maintain contact with the non-profit organisation (NPO), attend training as required and participate in their system of supervision. She or he will be required to complete around 36 hours of dedicated time as planned in conjunction with the NPO and course director, across the 12 weeks of semester 2.

Developmental activity will be embedded in the course through regular writing of a reflective diary throughout the semester, and this will support the writing of the final summative assignment (70%), which will take the form of an essay. Other summative assessment will take the form of a poster (30%). Formative assessment will take the form of the presentation of draft posters in class but ahead of the submission deadline, and this will allow guided peer sharing and learning through class discussion to support learning outcomes, enhance appreciation of experiential learning and confidence in completing the summative assessments. This will give students direct feedback/feed forward from peers and the tutor on their work in preparation for the summative poster, and provide orientation towards the written assignment.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Please note: more places may become available. Please contact the course organiser if you are interested in studying on this course.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  14
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 15, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Placement Study Abroad Hours 36, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 145 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written assignment (70%)

Poster assignment (30%)
Feedback Formative feedback is given on a draft poster.

Summative feedback is given via Learn on the written assignment and poster assignment as detailed above.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. enhance students' personal growth and employability through the development of skills such as effective communication; self-management in new and possibly demanding circumstances; problem solving; responsible commitment; working to a brief
  2. promote reflective and critical thinking
  3. work with respect and compassion and to develop civic responsibility
  4. develop understanding and awareness of others' experience of difficulty and its impact on identity and quality of life
  5. develop broader and contextually nuanced understanding of well-being and health issues in real-life contexts
Reading List
Bassot, B. (2013) The Reflective Journal. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Cress, C.M., Collier, P. and Reitenauer, V. (2013)(2nd ed.). Service Learning: A Student Guidebook for Service Learning and Civic Engagement across Academic Disciplines and Cultural Communities. Sterling, VA.: Stylus Publishing.

Watton, P., Collings, J. and Moon, J. (2001) Reflective Writing. Guidance Notes for Students. Online resource.

Students will be given further reading tailored to their project.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Marion Smith
Tel: (0131 6)51 3966
Course secretaryMiss Morven Sutherland
Tel: (0131 6)51 3972
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