We have lots of different courses, and the teaching methods & skills you need will vary depending on your course.
Most will include some of the following teaching methods. In some subjects you will have timetabled classes for most of the week. In others you may only have a few hours timetabled and will be expected to mainly work independently.
Lectures are large classes, usually lasting around one hour, where the lecturer talks and you take notes. We have some large lecture theatres where these take place – sometimes there can be more than 100 students listening to a lecture!
Lectures will guide you through course material by explaining the main points of a topic, introduce new topics for study or debate, and give you the most up-to-date information which may not be available in textbooks.
Seminars are small classes where students and a tutor discuss a topic. These often last for more than an hour. You’ll be told the topic in advance, and some students will usually be asked to prepare a short presentation for discussion.
Seminars are used to encourage debate about an issue - the aim isn’t for students to be told the "correct" answer, but to understand different arguments and make judgements about their merits. This helps you to critically analyse information.
Tutorials are held between a tutor and one student or small group of students. They give you focused guidance on a piece of work you’re doing or have completed, or any problems you may be having with a topic or study methods.
On many courses you will have practical workshops, eg science laboratories, music or drama performance classesm or mock law trials. Some courses may involve going on field trips away from the University. Practical classes give you practical experience of the theories you learn in other classes and let you develop practical skills.
Many of our courses also offer training on an industry work placement, under the supervision of staff in that organisation.
When you’re not in classes or lectures, you’ll be expected to undertake independent study – you are of course welcome to do this on campus! Independent study allows you to develop critical analysis and problem-solving skills, develops your research skills through finding relevant books and articles, and gives you the chance to investigate a topic in more detail & develop your own ideas.
You will almost certainly be asked to produce written work, usually through independent study. This may include essays, a project or a dissertation (an in-depth paper essay based on extensive research, data collection and / or experimentation) and other assignment questions relevant to your course.
Written work is often assessed to monitor your progress and identify areas for improvement, or count towards your grade for the course.
At Edinburgh Napier we use many different types of assessment, including:
Closed examinations. You are allocated a room and a specific amount of time to complete exam questions. You are not allowed to refer to any books or notes
Open examinations. These can take place on campus, or sometimes you can take the paper away and return it by the deadline. You are permitted to use reference materials in these exams.
Essays, individual projects and dissertations
Portfolios (a collection of work)
Display or performance of work (eg an art show or music performance)
Practical assessments (eg in laboratories or on hospital wards)
Some courses are continuously assessed, meaning that instead of examinations at the end of the year, your progress is assessed and marked throughout the year.