Teaching and learning

 

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At the University of York we pride ourselves on the fact that the Department of Archaeology provides a supportive, friendly, enthusiastic atmosphere which encourages our students to have confidence in themselves and achieve their potential.

Approachability is one of the distinctive qualities of the staff  in the department, and we believe that treating students as adults, in a relaxed but professional setting, is an important part of the educational experience that we offer. Our staff get to know all our students individually and encourage them to make the most of their time at York.

We use a range of teaching methods which allows students to learn in different ways. We also use a wide range of assessment methods to allow our students to capitalise on their individual strengths. These include both open and closed exams, essays, group projects, assessed seminars and lectures, and a dissertation.

The King’s Manor has a vibrant academic and thriving student community. Our facilities include teaching rooms, a specialist library with study space, and dedicated computer, artefact, bone, and environmental laboratories. Our purpose-built Bioarchaeology labs are situated on the Heslington campus, near the main library and other University resources, including the Borthwick Institute for Archives. The King’s Manor also has a student common room, a refectory, and two courtyards for studying and socializing.

A wide-ranging approach

We use a range of lectures, seminars, workshops, practicals, and independent learning projects in our teaching. You will progress from a mixture of all of these formats to more emphasis on group work, and as the course progresses you will start to spend more time on intensive small group teaching and individual study. Your course will culminate with the exciting challenges of leading and chairing a seminar, organising and presenting a lecture, and researching and writing a dissertation.Using this wide-ranging approach to teaching and learning, we help you to develop confidence in your own abilities, and cultivate the transferable skills which are in high demand amongst your future employers, both inside and outside archaeology.

Highly rated teaching

The University of York is well known for its flexible patterns of study and high degree of choices within options.You are allowed to take modules from designated courses in any other discipline if you like. In this way, with the help of your supervisor, you can tailor your degree course to suit your individual interests and career aims. Our teaching approach has been consistently rated highly in both student feedback and peer review, with a score of 24/24 on the Teaching Quality Assessment, and consistently high rankings in the National Student Survey.

Small group teaching

We pride ourselves on a wide variety of teaching methods, but the most distinctive is our commitment to small-group teaching. Seminars are a key component of our teaching and learning strategy, and graduating students always cite their small group learning experiences as one of the most highly regarded and beneficial aspects of their degree.

 

In seminars, the lecturer will set out themes and direct discussion, but the content is delivered by you to your fellow students, in the form of short, topical presentations. This may seem challenging and a little bit daunting at first, but we feel strongly that being able to read, understand, distill, and succinctly present a topic to an audience of your peers is a skill that will serve you throughout your life and career.

 

In your first year, you will give presentations in small groups, with the emphasis on practice, learning to divide the work equally, and working effectively as a unit. As you progress through your course, you will start to prepare seminar presentations on your own, and by your third year, in your Assessed Seminar, you will design and run a whole seminar yourself!

Dr Steve Ashby

At York, we develop close relationships with students during their three years with us. The result of this is that we see our students growing up, becoming more confident, and more aware of the world around them. They leave us better prepared not just for working in the 21st century, but also for living in it.

Dr Steve Ashby