Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Digitale Medien – Projekte und Plattformen

Constitution and Politics

This core module of the Master in British Studies degree was placed on Moodle in the autumn of 2004, and the students who began their studies in the Winter-Semester 2004/2005 immediately noticed the benefit, not only in terms of seminar delivery, but through being able to access the resources individually both before and after the relevant seminars. Many of the students commented favorably in feedback on this innovation, and the Centre for British Studies is now pressing ahead with the development of further of its courses for delivery via the Moodle interface.

Sprach- und literaturwissenschaftliche Fakultät → Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik

Prof. Dr. Gerhard Dannemann

2093-5333 | Großbritannien-Zentrum

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The linked areas "Constitution and Politics in the UK", taught as a
core module on the Centre for British Studies' Master in British
Studies degree (M.B.S.), proved highly suited to 'moodle-isation' for a
number of reasons. In the first place the topics in question are ones
that gain much from concrete illustration: this is true most clearly in
terms of the ceremony and pageantry of British politics. In this regard
it was possible to use Moodle to integrate video footage of events such
as the annual ëOpening of Parliament' by the Queen. More generally, the
use of Moodle also facilitated the gathering together and coherent
presentation of the diverse sources that go to make up the ëBritish
Constitution'. (It is a common misconception in other countries that
the UK does not have a constitution. It does: What is does not have is
a written Constitution with a capital "C", i.e. a single document,
which sets out all the the rules systematically and "under one roof".
Instead, the relevant principles are scattered about in many different
places, including some documents of considerable antiquity, e.g. the
Bill of Rights of 1688.)
Moodle proved an excellent resource in terms of structuring the
relevant course materials. One especially useful aspect to this was the
ease with which it allowed website links to be incorporated into the
teaching materials. We were thus able to build into the materials web
links to key UK political institutions, such as the Houses of
Parliament at Westminster, the new Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh,
the Prime Minister's Office (at No. 10 Downing Street), as well as the
websites of the main political parties. In this way the important
materials available on the web (extending now even to minut-by-minute
coverage of debates in Parliament) could be seamlessly interwoven with
the course materials. By making use of the on-line information in
conjunction with their lecture notes, the students were able to keep on
top of the latest developments at a time of rapid constitutional change
in the UK.
Moodle proved very user-friendly, both for the lecturers and students.
It allowed students to access the material whenever they wished
(including from home) and gave them an immediate appreciation of both
the structure of the topics and their tangible "feel" in practice (the
latter, as noted, being generated partly through the inclusion of video
snippets and web-site links). Another resource, which was of
considerable assistance ó especially since the timetabling of seminar
slots at the Centre for British Studies often varies from week to week
to accommodate visits by guest lectureres ó was the "calendar overview
function". This permitted students to see at a glance when each seminar
would be taking place, and the sub-topics to be covered in each of
them. It thus made it easy for them, from the beginning, to have a
clear sense of the overall structure of the course and enhanced their
Another positive aspect, one that this time particularly impressed the
course lecturers, was in relation to the ease of presentation of
diagrammatic and tabular material: it was a simple matter to show, for
example, the way in which the balance of power in the House of Commons
at Westminster has shifted in recent years from the Conservatives (the
traditional "Party of Government" in the UK) to Labour under Tony
Blair. In the feedback questionnaires that they received at the end of
the course, many of the students emphasised in their comments how
useful they found Moodle as a teaching resource. This was unequivocally
also the conclusion of the teaching staff.