May 23, 2013, by Teaching at Nottingham

Curriculum Review conference: the Mumford method

Dr Jing Zhang: “The presentation of Professor Stephen Mumford was fantastic. He introduced a new method – Mumford Method – in academic writing and how it could be used in research, teaching and particularly assessment.
“For many modules in the Social Sciences, students are assessed by essays or essay based exams. However, some students are still struggling with essay writing in their final year. Mumford method provides a new but an effective process of planning academic writing. This method appeals to me and I support to promote it to our students, as well as colleagues, who have pain in writing academic articles.

“As a tool of teaching, Professor Mumford had listed a number of advantages in his handout (written in Mumford method). He also recommended using this method in assessment, particularly at level 1. Compared with full-prose essays, Professor Mumford claimed that this method can assess the learning outcome and has successfully distinguished the weak and strong students (it is not an easy task to write a one-page planning of thoughts). Academic staff members could be relieved from the pain of heavy marking load particularly when there is a tight deadline to submit the marksheet.

“My only concern is the potential difficulty in implementing this method in assessment for a 20 credits module at level 1. The University introduced minimum levels of assessment by credit value. Although a colleague in Academic Services replied that the University criteria are just guidance, we still need to carefully justify how learning outcomes are properly assessed when submitting module specification for approval if we want to adopt Mumford method in assessment.

“Although it was not possible to attend all the parallel sessions, I benefited from some other talks including Dr John Holmwood’s new pathway structure in curriculum development in Sociology and Dr Neil Sinclair’s case studies in subject integration.

Dr Jing Zhang
School of Contemporary Chinese Studies

Recordings of conference presentations are available from:

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