2019 ESP and SOCL200 – Field Trip to Manchester

Collage of photos showing staff and students on the trip

 

The new second year schedule of events got off to a great start with ESP’s first field trip.  Alongside staff and students from our SOCL200 module, we travelled to Manchester for a walking tour to learn more about the life and work of Marx and Engels 

Marx arrived in Manchester from Germany, and it is here that they conducted much of the research that fuelled their ideas about capitalism and society, resulting in some of the most influential books ever written, including The Condition of the Working Class in England.  The tour took us around key locations and sites of 19th century Manchester, helping us to see the city through the eyes of these early theorists. 

We had a brilliant afternoon… in the words of those who came: 

The history of Engels and Marx was brought alive. The descriptions were vivid enough to imagine Marx walking around’ 

The fieldtrip put Marx into his biographical, historical and political context, and it was fascinating to learn about his relationship with Engels’ 

[we learnt] new, exciting information on Marx’s background and biography’  

 

2019 Kick Starting Your University Career

Collection of photos of students at the event

 

The 2019 academic year has begun and our new first year students started their Experiencing Sociology Programme, by attending the ‘Kick-Starting your University Career’ session.   This was followed by our hair-raising Halloween social.  

Students were greeted by staff from across the university who were waiting at a variety of stalls offering a marketplace of activities beyond the degree programme that are available to our students. This was a bespoke event where Sociology majors and combined majors could get one-to-one and face-to-face advice about opportunities and experiences they could get involved in while studying at Lancaster. 

Our careers marketplace gives students the time to talk to staff about the significance of building in particular opportunities to a degree specifically in Sociology. 

This year students could chat to (among others) 

  • the Careers Service about prospects and pathways specifically for Sociology graduates; 
  • the Global Experiences team about the fine details of what it would mean to build in a year studying abroad; 
  • the FASS Placements team about how to fit in a period of work placement or do our third-year dissertation by placement. 
  • The Employment and Recruitment Service about part-time and temporary work opportunities on campus and in the local community  

Following the hustle and bustle of the stalls, students went on to discuss all these new possibilities over Halloween snacks and refreshments.  Little did they know we had a spine-tingling teaser of a challenge for them – to represent a sociological concept through the medium of pumpkin carving! 

Teams were formed, pumpkin, pipe cleaners and glitter were tossed around and all that was left was for each group to present their pumpkin.  Each team did a great job with some extremely inventive creations.  

  

 

FeedBack to FeedForward

A Session on Effectively Using Feedback

The Expereincing Sociology Programme ran its third session for first years on Thursday of Week 18 which on the topic of feedback.

Our Sociology majors and combined majors have just received feedback on their first major sociology essay, so we decided to dedicate this session to dealing with, sharing, and learning from feedback.

Jonny Beacham started thes session with some reflection on dealing with feedback – how it can be tempting to not confront feedback head on, or to just treat feedback as an explanation of the mark the piece received rather than as a tool for thinking about how to improve. Jonny gave some great advice which was to treat feedback for what it is, a response to a text, and not a comment on the authors’ abilities in general.

Then Dale Munday, Digital Learning Facilitator in the university, introduced a new initiative and platform for students in Sociology, and a pilot initiative for the university, the Experiencing Sociology Digital Feedback Portfolio. The portfolio, hosted on Microsoft OneNote gives our students a platform to store, access, easily view, and share with their tutors, all of the feedback that they have received throughout their degree. Dale explained to our students that learning from feedback depends on being able to identify patterns and trends in work produced and to be able to highlight common areas for improvement across modules, subjects, and topics.

The sessions was based in the computer labs. Students downloaded their feedback, added it to the portfolio, and then, in what was a first for many, shared their feedback with their peers to draw out what they thought were the most significant strengths and weaknesses of that particular piece of work.

Joanne Wood, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences’ Learning Development Tutor then helped to collect common issues and talked to students about where in the department, faculty and the university they could go to get further support to develop their work in particular areas.

We finished off the session with another social – this time with a catch-up and a coffee in County Bar!

The next ESP session will be Thursday of Week 23, where we will run the employability session – ‘What can you do with a Sociology degree anyway?’ and follow it with a pizza social!

Reading Fast, Reading Slow, and Making Better Notes

A Seasonal Skills Session and Christmas Party

The Experiencing Sociology Programme held its second first-year event on Tuesday of Week 8, and bringing the festive feeling in nice and early; we followed the session up with a winter social and Christmas holiday quiz!

This time our first years focussed on study skills, reflecting on changes to their study practices since starting at Lancaster just eight short weeks ago.

The title of the session was ‘Reading Fast, Reading Slow, and Making Better Notes’. One of our recent graduates, Mike Greenhough, now doing a Masters in Sociological Research in the department, kicked off the conversation by talking to us about how his study practices had changed throughout his undergraduate degree. He told us about how he had continually developed how he took notes, and he introduced students to the programme that he had been using to do this online, Microsoft OneNote.

Following this discussion, Stan made a case for learning to read fast! He described some of the times it can be useful to be able to read a lot of material very quickly. Then Jonny Beacham responded, arguing that it is also important to know when to read slow, taking your time, especially with certain kinds of texts, reading over material more than once, and giving yourself time to let the authors’ ideas ‘settle’.

We finished this session with a Festive Winter Party and a Sociologically inspired holiday quiz! We had mulled wine, mince pies, hot chocolate, cakes, and we found out what Marx’ favourite Christmas story was!

The next ESP session for first years is in Week 13, and the title is: ‘What Can I Do with a Degree in Sociology Anyway?’. In this session, we will look at the profiles of recent Sociology graduates who have gone into a range of different kinds of work and take a look at some of the activities they got involved in while at Lancaster to build up their experience and CVs. The session will be led by Kat Price-Edwards from the careers service and followed by a pizza social where there will be a chance to talk to Kat, to Bron (the department’s employability tutor), and to some of our student ambassadors about opportunities and activities to get involved in as well as developing your plans for the future!

A Fang-tastic First Event

The Experiencing Sociology Programme got off to a spook-takular start last week with the first event for first years on ‘Kick-Starting your University Career’ which was followed by a hair-raising Halloween social.

The session began with a marketplace of activities beyond the degree programme that are available at the University and to our students. This was a bespoke event where Sociology majors and combined majors could get one-to-one and face-to-face advice from staff from all across the university about opportunities and experiences they could get involved in while studying at Lancaster.

The marketplace gave students the time to talk to staff about the significance of building in particular opportunities to a degree specifically in Sociology.

It was a chance to talk to (among others):

  • the Careers Service about prospects and pathways specifically for Sociology graduates;
  • members of the Richardson Institute about how Sociology students can contribute to undergraduate research projects commissioned by businesses, charities, and government;
  • the Global Experiences team about the fine details of what it would mean to build in a year studying abroad;
  • the FASS Placements team and Dr Bron Szerszynski (the Sociology Department’s Employability Tutor) about how to fit in a period of work placement, switch to a four-year version of our degree with a year’s placement or do our third-year dissertation by placement.

We followed up the marketplace with a scary Halloween social which set our first-years a terrifying challenge – to represent a sociological concept through the medium of pumpkin carving!

 

 

Once our students had perfected their creepy creations, it was time to sit back with some gruesome snacks and enjoy a chilling lecture by Professor Elizabeth Shove on the ‘Sociology of Halloween’, its transformations over time, repulsive rituals, and frightening reflections of society’s fears.

 

 

You can see Elizabeth’s slides here: Halloween Presentation

Then it was up to Elizabeth to try to guess and judge how well the teams represented their concepts in pumpkin form.

One group used their pumpkin to provide an icky indictment of the Sociological ‘canon’ – carving a Karl Marx pumpkin with a startling spider on his head. (N.B. The significance of the spider was hotly contested.) Another team carved the face of a ‘stray cat’ into a pumpkin to invoke the abominable idea of alienation.

But the most successful and most easily guessed representation of a sociological concept was ‘panopticism’ and the panopto-pumpkin which a spider guard inside!

We had such a good time, one supernatural student cleared up at the Sociology Department’s Halloween party winning the award for best costume. See the giant cake and first prize being awarded by the Head of Department in official ceremonial garb below!

The next event is ‘Reading Fast, Reading Slow: How to Make More Useful Notes’ which will be followed by a Festive Winter Social including a Sociological Festive Winter Quiz! We look forward to seeing you then!

Kick Starting Your University Career