Teaching methods

We use a variety of different teaching methods on our programmes, and recognise that our students have a range of preferred learning styles.

Classroom-based teaching

Your timetable will look like it is composed of traditional lectures, tutorials and seminars. However, it is very likely that tutors will ask you to prepare material in advance of classes. This could include watching relevant videos or reading papers. You may hear this described as 'flipped learning'.

Online learning

All our programmes, whether online or campus-based, make regular use of the virtual learning environment, Blackboard.
For at least one module you will also be asked to complete a reflective learning diary. You may also be asked to contribute to discussion boards or module blogs.

Online students, in particular, are likely to encounter:

  • self-directed learning
  • discussion boards and blogs
  • online seminars or tutorials

Independent study

The timetable of formal instruction (lectures, seminars, tutorials and practicals) should be supplemented by spending a good deal of time reading books and articles, reading over lecture notes, preparing for seminars and tutorials, working on projects and so on.

The University of Sheffield adopts a model of notional learning hours (or student effort hours) which allocates ten hours of learning to each credit in a module. So for every 15 credit module you take, you will need to allocate 150 hours for learning. The learning hours include formal contact through seminars, assessment activity (essays and other coursework), and your own independent study.

Reading lists

You will receive a reading list for most of your modules.

These will include class books/materials (items to be used by every student in formal teaching situations), highly recommended items (which students are expected to read) and recommended items (which will help broaden your understanding of a topic). Teaching staff will advise which documents or items on the reading list are essential and you should read other books on the list as you need to or when you have the opportunity. The list of contents and the index should be used to guide you to the sections in the book which will be most useful.