Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1
Successful completion of Part 1

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 1 x 3 hour Lecture/Workshop per week


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

Learning Outcomes

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

1. To demonstrate an intelligent awareness of debates about documentary film and documentary film movements between 1920 and 1980.

2. To critically evaluate models of documentary theory.

3. To critically apply models of documentary theory to the texts under consideration.

4. To show an analytical understanding of a range of filmic texts.


This new module will be offered as part of a suite of Year 2, 20-credit critical practice options in the Department's revised Part 2 provision. It may be taken by students registered for any of the Film and Media Curriculum Group schemes (depending on the specification of their degree scheme pathway).

The aims of the module are to examine the development of the documentary genre from its genesis to the 1980s, taking into account the changing social, aesthetic and technological contexts in which development took place. In this module, students must step out of a familiar, contemporary context and seek to understand the processes of cultural production in different eras through the medium of documentary film.

Brief description

The module takes a chronological journey through the development of documentary film and television from its beginnings to the 1980s.


Issues of historiography and documentary theory
Documentary Pioneers I: Flaherty
Documentary Pioneers II: Vertov
The British Movement 1: Grierson
The British Movement II: Jennings
Documentary as Observer I: Free Cinema
Documentary as Observer II: Direct Cinema and Cinema Verite
Documentary on Television
Documentary in the 70's and 80's
Future of Documentary

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number * Students 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). * Althouhj not directly assessed, opportunities will be given, through interactive lecture-workshop sessions, fofr students to develop confidence in using their speaking and listening skills when communicating their ideas. * Although not directly 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 lectues. * 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. * E-mail and Blackboard will be the main forms ofcommunication and information-sharing in this module, so students will be encouraged to actively engage in these processes. * Students will learn to use Powerpoint and other similar packages to create presentations.
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 encoraged to evaluate, interpret and reflect upon a variety of sources and to make links to accommodate new ideas,
Subject Specific Skills
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