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MCH8503 : Communicating and Learning in Museum/Gallery/Heritage Studies

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Mr Iain Wheeldon
  • Lecturer: Dr Susannah Eckersley, Dr Gonul Bozoglu, Dr Areti Galani
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The aims of the module are to provide students with an introduction to:

The intellectual framework of communication and learning theories and their applications;

An understanding of visitors/users and their engagement;

Communication and interpretation planning and programming;

Exhibition; theory; and practice with regards to space, layout, exhibition hardware, and communication media;

The potential, value, use, and application of digital technologies and social media in communication and interpretation;

Writing interpretive text for communicating to visitors/users;

A range of media approaches and types used to guide visitor/user engagement; and

The evaluation of communication and interpretation venues, media, and technologies.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module addresses the characteristics of the visitors/users of Museums, Gallery and Heritage (MGH) venues, and examines the diverse ways information and ideas are communicated to these visitors/users through a range of media and public programmes. Concurrently, it considers the composition of groups of non-visitors/non-users and ways of engaging with them. Throughout the module, an emphasis is placed on the (non)visitor/(non)user being an active participant in the process of meaning-making, communicating and learning. As such communicating and learning is presented within a constructivist framework that can increase visitor/user enjoyment and engagement with MGH venues.

Topics normally covered in the module include: communication and learning theory; understanding communication strategic planning and programming; theory and practice related to the development of exhibitions; theory and practice of developing written text to communicate through display panels and exhibition labels; range of media approaches and types used to guide visitor/user engagement; and the evaluation process and associated tools.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials131:0013:00Structured lectures & associated learning materials
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00Can be delivered online if necessary
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion701:0070:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading441:0044:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching31:003:00Can be delivered online if necessary
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops111:0011:00Can be delivered online if necessary
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork13:003:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study411:0041:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk31:003:00Can be delivered online if necessary
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module is made up of a combination of Scheduled Teaching & Learning Activities, Structured Guided Learning and Guided Independent Study.

The following section details the different types of teaching methods and their relationship to the module’s learning outcomes:

Lectures: These are timetabled and delivered (wherever possible) in person.

Structured Guided Learning: These sessions are delivered (non-synchronously) online and are made up of a combination of lectures, tasks and in-lecture readings which are created by the teaching team. These are designed to allow students to work through the materials in their own time to achieve all of the related knowledge learning outcomes.

Workshops: This teaching method allows students to put into practice the theories and knowledge introduced in Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activities (Lectures) and the structured Guided Learning sessions (Lecture Materials).

Small Group Teaching: This teaching method is intended to allow students to consolidate knowledge learning outcomes and to meet the skills outcomes through critically applying their new knowledge. It also allows students to practice skill-sets from the Graduate Skills Framework.

Module Talk: These are timetabled briefings that provide students with an introduction to the module and information relating to the module's associated assessment.

Directed Research & Reading: This teaching method enables students to deepen knowledge outcomes and to practise all skills outcomes, as well as applying cognitive/intellectual and self-management skills with guidance from the module leader/ teaching team.

Guided Independent study: This teaching method enables students to independently deepen knowledge outcomes and to practise all skills outcomes, as well as applying cognitive/intellectual, self-management skills. This includes assessment preparation, research and writing.

Fieldwork: There will be a scheduled fieldwork trip to support the taught sessions of the module.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1A1003500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

This module is designed to introduce students to the need for effective communication strategies across the MGH sector. It provides the students with some theories and basic tools to use in ‘real-life’ situations.

Students will be required to demonstrate their understanding of the theories introduced in the module and their comprehension of how they are applied in practice.

The assignment could be completed by either on-campus students or those studying remotely.

Reading Lists