Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Contemporary Documentary
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Successful completion of Part 1

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay (2500 words)  50%
Semester Assessment Creative Portfolio (2500 words)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay (2500 words) - (to a new title)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Creative Portfolio (2500 words)  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate a knowledge of a range of key contemporary documentary texts

Engage critically with the main theories in academic literature surrounding the contemporary documentary genre

Communicate their understanding and knowledge of contemporary documentary texts, and documentary-related literature, effectively.


What Are Documentaries?
What Kinds of documentary are there?
Mixed Modes: Michael Moore
Writing Essays on Documentaries
The Expository Documentary: 'The Trap' (Dir. Curtis, 2007)
The Observational Documentary: 'Etre et Avoir' (Dir.Philibert, 2002)
The Participatory Documentary: '49 Up' (Dir. Apted, 2005)
The Reflexive Documentary: 'Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer' (Dir. Broomfield, 2003)
The Performative Documentary: 'Feltham Sings' (Dir. Hill 2002)
The Poetic Documentary: 'Time and The City' (Dir. Davies, 2009)
Conclusions and overview

Brief description

The module uses the analytic frames of John Corner (2006) and Bill Nichols (2001) to examine a range of documentaries. There is also an expectation that student will watch films from an accompanying 'viewing list'

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Student will be given the opportunity to reflect upon basic statistical data (primarily presented in percentages), through encountering key research studies in the field.
Communication Students¿ written communication skills will be developed (e.g. appropriate language and style, accuracy, precision and ability to be concise). Although not assessed, opportunities will be given, through interactive lecture-workshop sessions, for students to develop confidence in using their speaking and listening skills when communicating their ideas. Although not assessed, Students will develop oral presentation skills by articulating their ideas to the group and putting together a systematic presentation
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be able to develop their skills of information location and retrieval. Students will be given opportunities to develop effective note-taking skills. Students will develop their critical thinking skills. Through group and whole class discussion students will be given opportunities to develop an awareness of the opinions of others and reconsider initial ideas if necessary.
Information Technology Students will be given the opportunity to develop their authorial and note-taking skills when planning and preparing for the written assignments, and will be encouraged to develop their note-taking skills in lectures. Students will be given opportunities to develop their skills using electronic search and retrieval of sources both on the web and on the AU LIS. Students will develop their skills when referencing from the web and related sources, and will focus on the selection of materials appropriate to task. Students will learn to use Powerpoint and other similar packages to create presentations Although not assessed, e-mail and Blackboard will be the main forms of communication and information-sharing in this module, so students will be encouraged to actively engage in these processes.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will be given the opportunity to evaluate current knowledge and skills and set targets for self-improvement. Students will be encouraged to take increasing responsibility for managing their own learning. Students will be encouraged to build upon the knowledge gained from lectures through developing skills in self study (supported by the general and specific reading lists and other resources distributed throughout the module). Students will develop self-confidence in public speaking, particularly valuable for those wishing to work in the advertising industry
Problem solving Students should be able to identify tensions and debates in the field, and will be encouraged to critically reflect. Students should gain experience in applying different approaches and materials to understand data and other patterns in research.
Research skills Students will be able to develop their skills of information location and retrieval. Students will be given opportunities to develop effective note-taking skills. Students will be encouraged to evaluate, interpret and reflect upon a variety of sources, and to make links to accommodate new ideas.
Subject Specific Skills See Subject Benchmark Statement for Communication, media, film and cultural studies 2008
Team work Most sessions will involve group work where students will be able to collaborate through discussion. Students will work in small groups to create an advertising pitch, culminating in class presentations


This module is at CQFW Level 5