This is my evaluation of the fourth year honours module in Contemporary International Relations (PO4700) that I taught in AY 2011/12. The module descriptor is supplied in Appendix A. This is an exercise principally in self-reflection, applying the curriculum and assessment literature to an existing course with a view to highlighting the strengths and limitations of an ‘actually-existing’ module as opposed to an ‘ideal-type’ template. The curricula and assessment approaches used in PO4700 combine a pragmatic awareness of the challenges of research-led teaching in higher education with a genuine interest in innovative teaching practices and student satisfaction.
The report begins with an overview of the undergraduate honours programme, an examination of its learning outcomes and its influence on the design of PO4700. This is followed by a focus on the curriculum models and theories that have influenced the design of the module. Part II examines the assessment instrument designed for PO4700 and offers an evaluation of the success of this assessment method in light of the teacher’s experience and student feedback.