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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 23/06/2022 16:53:16

Title of Module: Advanced Documentary Film Practice

Code: FILM11001 SCQF Level: 11
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 40 ECTS: 20
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Business & Creative Industries
Module Co-ordinator:Nick  Higgins

Summary of Module

This module will develop students’ ability in advanced creative film production across the full range of non-fiction genres (documentary, essay and experimental), and encourage them to experiment with new forms and new working methods. Key content includes:

  • Immersive hands-on workshop experience led by practising non-fiction filmmaker(s);
  • Multidimensional analysis of prominent non-fiction films from both the historical canon and recent international production;

Small group support and one-on-one mentoring through an individual non-fiction film project, from initial conception to fine cut.

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 critical knowledge and understanding of theory and practice of non-fiction cinema and be able to construct and present analytical arguments using appropriate academic conventions;

L2. Demonstrate originality in devising and making a creative output, in a context of professional supervision;

L3. Apply a range of technical and interpersonal skills in creating a collaborative creative output;

L4. Demonstrate capacity for critical reflection and reflective understanding of ones own creative outputs and those of others in a collaborative context;

L5. Demonstrate openness to professional mentoring, advice and supervision;

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 11.

A critical understanding of specialised creative processes and mechanisms in the field of non-fiction film production, including the concepts and principles that underpin them;

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 11.

Demonstrating creativity and/or originality in non-fiction filmmaking;
operating in a wide and often unpredictable variety of contexts;

Planning and executing a significant non-fiction film project.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 11.

Applying critical and creative thinking to issues at the forefront of contemporary non-fiction film practice;

Developing original and creative responses to problems and issues arising during practice.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 11.

Communicating using written, oral, visual and acoustic forms at a professional level to a range of audiences with different levels of knowledge and expertise;

Communicating with peers, more senior colleagues and specialists.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 11.

Working in a peer relationship with professional practitioners;

Demonstrating leadership and/or initiative;

Practising in ways that draw on critical reflection on both one own and other’s work;

Managing complex ethical and professional issues for which there may be no clear precedent

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
The focus of the teaching and learning methodology will be to deliver a blended learning experience, using a combination of group seminars and workshops, online mentoring, individual tutorials, and practical hands-on experience of collaborating in the production of a professional-level non-fiction film project.

Both core staff and guest lecturers are actively involved in the film industry in various roles, and their approach to teaching is informed by their own practice and/or research. Throughout, students are encouraged to take a problem-solving approach to the aesthetic and pragmatic decisions involved in filmmaking, and to learn from their mistakes as well as their successes, in line with the principles of inquiry-based learning.

Students are encouraged to reflect on the way in which their own experience of practical filmmaking relates to different historical traditions, and to position their work in relation to contemporary national, European and international film practice.

Group-based work will lead to the development and production of a number of short films. Production records and student statements will provide the basis for evaluating individual contributions to the film shoot, while placing a high value on teamwork and cooperation.

Extensive formative feedback will occur throughout the module, and students will receive peer, industry and tutorial review of their work regularly throughout the trimester.

The module will exploit E-Learning through the use of our VLE, Moodle, using Online channels wherever possible in order to free up contact time for creative work and collaboration.
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 Delivery24
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity24
Laboratory/Practical Demonstration/Workshop30
Personal Development Plan18
Asynchronous Class Activity24
Independent Study280
400 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:

Coles, R (1998), Doing Documentary Work. Oxford. Oxford University Press.

Corrigan, T (2011),The Essay Film: From Montaigne, After Marker. Oxford. Oxford University Press.

Kahana, J (2016) The Documentary Film Reader: History, Theory, Criticism. Oxford. Oxford University Press.

MacDougall, D (1998), Transcultural Cinema. Selected essays. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.

Rouch, J (2003), Ciné-Ethnography. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota 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
ModeratorPaul Wright
External ExaminerTBC
Accreditation DetailsScreenSkills Select
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
1. Critical essay on non-fiction cinema (25%);
Choose two cinematic creative documentary films that tackle a similar subject matter or theme and critically compare and contrast the filmmakers distinctive approach to filmmaking. Essays must refer not only to the appropriate critical literature in documentary studies but must also include critical responses from film critics and audiences, and most importantly, the viewpoints of the filmmakers themselves (2000 words).
2. Finished short non-fiction film (50%);
A short creative documentary film of between 5 and 10 minutes duration, made as part of a group in which the student plays a clearly defined and significant role. The film project is subject to green-lighting by tutors in advance of production.
3. Reflective report and auto-critique (25%);
During the making of the film for assessment element 2, the student is asked to keep a log documenting their experience of making the work and any problems encountered en route. This log should form the basis of their reflective report and it should make the nature of the student’s personal contribution clear. More importantly, this report should include a self-critique reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of the final film as it relates to their contribution, and the lessons they have learned from the project following its completion. This report will be complimented with an in-person auto-critique alongside the students production collaborators in a facilitated discussion with the tutors.
(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
Essaycheck mark  check markcheck mark2524

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
Creative output/ Audiotapes/ Videotapes/ Games/ Simulations check markcheck mark  5048

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
Workbook/ Laboratory notebook/ Diary/ Training log/ Learning log check mark check markcheck mark2524
Combined Total For All Components100% 96 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.