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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

This course will engage students as active citizens through the viewing and discussion of films engaging contemporary moral issues. Feature length films, most often documentaries, will be screened during class session and will be followed by student-led classroom debates about the issues raised. Each session will end with a lecture on the topic raised by the film. Assessment will be by way of short student papers explaining how the debates have led students to change their views on the discussed topics.  Download Course Guide

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 2
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Brian Brock

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Programme Level 2

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Course Aims

Students will learn to read cinematic forms of communication with greater skill and to orally discuss and debate contemporary moral questions, so becoming more aware of their own positions and ethical assumptions.

Main Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the methodological study of film
  • Critically discuss films in terms of ethical categories which apply to their own lives
  • Critically appraise various aspects of film production

Course Content

The basis of this course is an understanding of film as a unique medium through which to bring our contemporary world and the moral presuppositions which characterize it into better view. This course will study various aspects of film production in order to give students a better grasp of how moral issues in the contemporary world can be introduced in cinematic form, as well as teaching students that filmmaking (especially documentary making) is a form of active citizenship which invites and provokes active citizenship from viewers.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st attempt:

100% continuous assessment. Students will turn in five 400-500-word response papers in the course of the term.



Resubmission of course work

Formative Assessment

A core component of the course will be the classroom debates after watching contemporary films, primarily documentaries about a wide range of burning ethical questions. Students will be given 3-4 claims to defend, and will be divided up into groups to formulate their defence of these positions. This group work will therefore allow them to format not only their defence of their position, but the form that defence will take. This will also allow them to confront issues of equality and diversity, which will be promoted by the lecturer.

Response papers will be assigned in which students will discuss "how they changed their minds" in the course of the debates and watching the film. These papers will be marked and feedback given about the arguments made.


Orally and in writing.

Course Learning Outcomes


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