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

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 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 the non-visitor/non-users and ways of engaging with them. Throughout the module, an emphasis is placed on the visitor/user being an active participant in the meaning-making, communicating and learning processes. Communicating and learning is presented within a constructivist framework that can increase visitor/user enjoyment.
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
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture171:0017:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical13:003:00Following-on from field-work data collection
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading150:0050:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical15:005:00Small-group activity
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching12:002:00Seminar - based on readings
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00Workshop on case studies
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops31:003:00Workshops on student selected case studies
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork17:007:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study150:0050:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Students will experience scheduled learning and teaching activities, however, the majority of their learning on this module comes from guided interdependent study. The scheduled time is mixed between one-hour lectures and two-hours practical work, where the student is exposed to key knowledge and skills to facilitate the learning objectives. These latter activities typically are coordinated by programme area and allow students to work in smaller groups. The module leader offers weekly scheduled office hours (drop-in/surgery) during the semester this module is on offer.
A formal taught session (normally delivered to the whole cohort on a module) which consists largely of the exposition of theory, themes, methodologies and techniques.

Small group teaching
Small group sessions based on reading and discussion and sometimes on students’ presenting in seminar groups, workshops to study issues and ideas, practical activities and debates.

Undertaking work outside the university to collect data and develop skills e.g. field trips; archaeological excavation; site visits; cinema and theatre visits; visits to museums and galleries.

This broad category refers to independent student activity and covers the range from reading and preparation through to situations where students are required to work in groups without staff supervision or where students are required to undertake very specific pieces of work.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M1003500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

With appropriate assignment/s profile for the module. Depending on the profile of the module cohort, there may be assignment options. However, these will follow the report formatting style.

This module is designed to introduce students to the need for effective communication and learning/education strategies and practices in a range of different areas in the Museum/Gallery/Heritage sector, and to provide them with some theories and basic tools to use in 'real life' situations. The exhibition brief, or evaluation case study, assesses the students understanding of the theories introduced in the module and their comprehension of how they are applied in practice. The student will select a Museum/Gallery/Heritage venue of their choosing for their individual assignment (in the year there may be assignment options, depending on the overall profile of the students), which they have visited or plan to visit during the semester the module is on offer.

Reading Lists