I’m often frustrated by the lack of module description provided by the School of History when I’m picking my modules for the forthcoming year, so this week I’ve decided to give a run-down of MO3351 for the prospective ‘next-gen’. Fingers crossed they might stumble across this post then.  

The module is 100% coursework. For us, that consisted of compiling 8 blog posts across the semester – like this – (two of which were peer-review comments) worth 20%, one ‘project proposal’ worth 10%, one ‘short essay’ worth 20%, one presentation worth 10%, and one 5,000-word project essay worth 40%. 

Like all history modules, tutorials for MO3351 were structured around readings that provided useful information on the discipline’s various ‘sub-topics’. For transnational history, those could include ‘microhistory’, ‘global history’, ‘Actor-Network Theory’ and ‘Decolonization’ for example. MO3351’s differences, however, were in its provision of tutorial ‘skill sessions’ – ‘working with sources’ and ‘collaborative blog writing’. These were very useful, and have no doubt readied me more for my dissertation next academic year. Most tutorials involved elements of peer collaboration actually, and this was usually achieved via the medium of a google-drive. 

One tutorial session, the ‘unconference’, was also dedicated to developing presentation skills that would come in handy for the marked presentation later in the semester. That too, was valuable: a nice way to ease into the practice of presenting information to peers in a concise and effective manner. 

The biggest challenge provided by MO3351 (for me as it I expect has been for everyone else) has undoubtedly been the individual projects that we’ve been charged with writing. In total, what that involved, was choosing a topic to study in a ‘transnational’ perspective, researching that topic, and compiling a 5,000-word essay on it. As I write now, I’m still in the research phase. I would definitely argue that (as daunting as its been) this type of assessment has been very liberating, however. Never before at St. Andrews have I been afforded the opportunity to pick any topic of my choosing to study in a module. 

To The Newcomers

3 thoughts on “To The Newcomers

  • April 24, 2019 at 9:41 am

    I completely agree with all that you’ve said and also believe this blog post is very much needed for the newcomers of MO3351 because, let’s be honest, this isn’t your average 3000-level history module. So, if it’s okay with you, I’ve got a couple of things I want to add from my own experiences taking this class this semester.

    Firstly, I’d like to emphasise the huge variety in the type of coursework we do. At the end of this module, you will be amazed just by the sheer quantity of words you will have produced. Whether it’s in the form of blog writing (which if you haven’t tried it before this – it is not as easy as it seems), project proposals or pair-writing. I think it’s safe to say that we’ll probably have written over 15,000 words each by the end of this module. This module has taught me the power of simply writing things down; using writing as a tool in and of itself.

    More specifically, until this semester I had never before written a project proposal and yet this semester I’m writing 4 (two for this class, two for Geography). And whilst I appreciate many people at this university can avoid writing project proposals entirely, having just finished my third, I’ve managed to convince myself that you can learn a lot from writing one. They teach you how to be concise, both in your argument and your research but more importantly they teach you the subtle arts of persuasion as you’re essentially asking something of someone else while pretending you’re not.

    Lastly, I think I’d like to congratulate Bernhard and Rosalind for creating such a creative space in a third year module. I certainly did not expect to find a hidden passion for what I came to look at in my project but somehow now I’m writing a dissertation on it. This module gives people the opportunity and the theoretical means to pursue something they’re truly interested in and that is definitely something that I think should be applauded.

    • April 26, 2019 at 2:55 pm

      I would definatley second your comments on the usefulness of the blog posts. I have never written as much for another module as I have for this one. It was something of a challenge at first to get into the swing of turning in work every week, however once you stop worrying and stressing about the posts and instead focus on just letting the creative juices flow, it’s an increadibly liberating experience. Over the course of the semester I’ve gradually become more and more happy to write every week.
      It’s also something that has helped with my essay writing, as I always used to struggle with not being able to write enough until getting to the last moment and going through enormous stress writing up until the deadline. Since taking the module I’ve become far better at writing earlier and and putting my thoughts down on paper.
      This is one of the most helpful things from the module and I it’s definitely going to be useful when writing in future.
      I would also second your sentiment thanking Ros and Bernhard. The module has been fun, challenging and interesting I have never done anything quite like it before. I also expect that it’s going to be a fantastic bridge into next years dissertation, it’s already helped me to choose my topic!

      • April 26, 2019 at 2:57 pm

        Also sorry to both Jamie and Issy for tacking this on to your posts!

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