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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 26/04/2022 17:01:02

Title of Module: The Short Film (documentary)

Code: FILM08006 SCQF Level: 8
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Business & Creative Industries
Module Co-ordinator:Callum  Rice

Summary of Module

This module will provide students with an introduction to documentary filmmaking with a contextual overview of the historical development of documentary, and an analysis of current trends and contemporary documentary forms. There will be a programme of lectures and screenings as well as practical workshops and development tutorials.

Students will participate in short group production exercises taking on a range of production roles which will rotate within the groups. They will initially produce and present a documentary proposal, either individually or in pairs. They will then work as part of a team to produce a short documentary project. Students will also participate in a presentation of their work to an audience of their peers and a panel of experts and write a reflective evaluation of their work which takes into account industry and creative contexts.

Development of transferable PDP skills, with an emphasis on:


  • Applied knowledge and understanding

  • Reflection on earlier achievement of goals

  • Planning for future teaching and learning needs and support

  • Future goal setting and action planning

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:


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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1check markTerm 2


Term 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Demonstrate a developed knowledge of filmmaking in the contexts of Documentary practice

L2. Demonstrate the ability to research, develop and present concepts for documentary films

L3. Participate in the production of a short documentary film as an effective member of a production team

L4. Demonstrate an awareness of contemporary documentary production contexts and creative debates

L5. Provide a reflective account of their own work in the context of contemporary documentary filmmaking

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 8.

A broad knowledge of the scope, defining features, and main areas of documentary filmmaking.

Detailed knowledge in some areas.

Understanding of a limited range of core theories, principles and concepts, an awareness of the economic forces which frame the media, cultural and creative industries, and the role of such industries in specific areas of contemporary political and cultural life;

An understanding of the role of technology in terms of film production, access and use;

An understanding of the historical evolution of documentary, its aesthetic traditions and forms, and of their current characteristics and possible future developments;

Limited knowledge and understanding of some major current issues and specialisms in relation to documentary.

An understanding of key production processes and professional practices relevant to documentary, and of ways of conceptualising creativity and authorship.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 8.

Use a range of routine skills, techniques, practices and/or materials associated with documentary, a few of which are advanced or complex.

Adapt routine practices within accepted standards: Produce documentary work which demonstrates the effective manipulation of sound, image and/or the written word;

Produce work showing competence in operational aspects of media production technologies, systems, techniques and professional practices;

Develop substantive and detailed knowledge and understanding in one or more designated areas of the field;

Carry out routine lines of enquiry, development or investigation into professional level problems and issue:

Carry out various forms of research and documentary productions involving sustained independent enquiry.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 8.

Use a range of approaches to formulate evidence-based solutions/responses to defined and/or routine problems/issues.

Deliver work to a given length, format, brief and deadline, properly referencing sources and ideas and making use, as appropriate, of a problem-solving approach;

Critically evaluate evidence-based solutions/responses to defined and/or routine problems/issues.

Retrieve and generate information, and evaluate sources, in carrying out independent research.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 8.

Convey complex information to a range of audiences and for a range of purposes

Communicate effectively in inter-personal settings, in writing and in a variety of media to present and promote documentary project concepts gather, organise and deploy ideas and information in order to formulate arguments cogently, and express them effectively in written, oral or in other forms;

Use a range of standard applications to process and obtain data

Put to use a range of IT skills from basic competences such as data analysis and word-processing to more complex skills using web-based technology or multimedia, and develop, as appropriate, specific proficiencies in utilising a range of media technologies.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 8.

Exercise autonomy and initiative in some activities at a professional level.

Work in flexible, creative and independent ways, showing self-discipline, self-direction and reflexivity;

Initiate, develop and realise distinctive and creative work within various forms of writing or of aural, visual, audio-visual, sound or other electronic media;

Take continuing account of own and others’ roles, responsibilities and contributions in carrying out and evaluating tasks.

Work productively in a group or team, showing abilities at different times to listen, contribute and lead effectively;

Manage resources within defined areas of work. Manage time, personnel and resources effectively, by drawing on planning and organisational skills;

Have a knowledge of the legal, ethical and regulatory frameworks which affect media and cultural production, circulation, and consumption; understand professional, technical and formal choices which realise, develop or challenge existing practices and traditions, and of the possibilities and constraints involved in production processes;

Deal with ethical and professional issues in accordance with current professional and/or ethical codes or practices under guidance.

Understand how media, cultural and creative organisations operate and are managed;

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
Learning and teaching on this module engages students in a process of enquiry in the context of collaborative and individual documentary project work which engages with wider social and cultural themes and problems. Delivery will take place through a series of lectures, tutorials and workshops supported by and on-line resources. Through a process of structured and guided enquiry, students will identify suitable documentary projects to research and develop and gain an overview of global currents in documentary and the interface between media and society. Learning activities have been designed to support students in the development of discipline/subject knowledge and an understanding of the research process and application of knowledge in the context of documentary production both individually and working in a group. The module is structured to foreground interactive and collaborative learning.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery12
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity12
Laboratory/Practical Demonstration/Workshop12
Practice Based Learning92
Independent Study72
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Artis, A.Q. (2014) The Shut Up and Shoot Documentary Guide. Abingdon, Oxon: Focal Press

Bernard, S. C. (2016) Documentary Storytelling: Creative Nonfiction on Screen. Abingdon, Oxon: Focal Press

De Jong et al. (2013) Creative Documentary: Theory and Practice. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge

Murch, W. (2001) In the Blink of an Eye : a perspective on film editing, Los Angeles: Silman_James Press

Quinn, J. (2012) This Much is True: 14 Directors on Documentary Filmmaking, London: A.&C. Black

Rabiger, M. (2015) Directing the Documentary. 6th ed. Abingdon, Oxon: Focal Press

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardArts & Media
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelArts & Media
External ExaminerJ Murray
Accreditation DetailsSkillset (UK Delivery Only)
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
The module will ensure an appropriate balance between assessment of and assessment for learning. Learners will undertake a range of formative learning and assessment activities that explicitly link assessment practice to the learning experience, encouraging a cycle of self-evaluation, assessment and regulation.
There will be formative and peer assessment of initial documentary ideas and proposals and summative assessment will be as follows:

Group production and portfolio 50% (1500 words)
Personal Report - 30% (1000 words)
Documentary Pitch and Proposal as individual or pair work - 20% (5 minutes and 750 words)
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Performance/ Studio work/ Placement/ WBL/ WRL assessmentcheck mark check mark  500

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Review/ Article/ Critique/ Paper   check markcheck mark300

Component 3
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Presentation check mark   200
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content. The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.