Democracy in Action

The details
Essex Business School
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 27 June 2025
10 July 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

There is an application process for this module - please do not request this module on eNROL: Students should contact about the application process.

  • Successful applicants will be notified.

  • There are limited places and once the places are full unsuccessful applicants will be contacted to choose another module on eNROL.

If you are not accepted onto this module, you will need to choose another module and ensure you have the full 120 credits required for the academic year .

This module will allow third year students to do their final year project in an innovative and interdisciplinary way. The module seeks to give students the possibility to better understand their community, the issues it confronts and how to address them.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To offer students an innovative and interdisciplinary way of engaging with a final year project.

  • To strengthen the connection between the University of Essex, Citizens UK Colchester and other local organisations by having the students focus on building better communities through the co-production of knowledge and best practice.

  • To learn how to identify relevant stakeholders and decision-makers and negotiate with local government and organizations on issues of local concern such as hate crime, transport, street lighting, living wage, mental health and housing, or something else discovered through ‘listening’ exercises.

  • To work with their peers, academic staff and professional staff from Citizens UK to build alliances and create common cause on important issues.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Apply “academic” knowledge in practical scenarios.

  2. Accurately identify community issues.

  3. Engage in community organising and to communicate effectively.

  4. Engage in community building.

  5. Work in a team based on a shared interest and concern.

  6. Take active steps toward collective action.

  7. Manage a project.

  8. Develop an independent research report.

  9. Analyse and reflect critically on theories and/or conceptual/analytical frameworks in addressing real-life social issues.

Module information

Through the five step training of Citizens UK (1. Organise, 2. Listen, 3. Plan, 4. Act, 5. Negotiate), students will learn the basics of community building and organising, which they will be able to practice and experience for themselves. Students will learn to build power and negotiate with local government on issues of local concern such as hate crime, transport, mental health and housing.

This module intends to bring together both theory and practice and serves as a way for students approaching the end of their studies to ‘apply’ their knowledge and skills outside the classroom. The module speaks directly to the University’s commitment to transformational education, community engagement, employability, and citizenship, placing student experiences from across a wide range of disciplines and departments at the centre of the module. Students often explore concepts and theories linked to democracy, human rights, social justice, power, organizations, negotiations, human relations, accountability, corporate social responsibility etc. However, there are relatively few opportunities available to students to ‘test’ these ideas in practice. This module aims to tackle precisely that.

Through training and practical experience, students will build their confidence, and enhance skills associated with project management, team work, communication and creativity, which will help open doors for their future careers.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • Training and Teaching delivery (total 45 hours spread across weeks 4-23):
    • Attend 3-hour training sessions from Citizens UK who have designed the content of teaching material (Indicative weeks: 4, 6, 8 & 19)
    • Ten GTA seminars of 2 hours across the year (Indicative weeks: 5, 7, 9, 10, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 25).
  • Discuss training, taking action and discuss the action that has been taken, and debrief.
  • Meetings, feedback and exchanges with module supervisors, coordinators, Citizens UK educators and fellow participants (8 hours)
  • Attend meetings with supervisors to discuss final project (to be arranged) (5 hours)
  • Contact with external organisations:
    • Induction meeting with local Institution leader (2 hours)
    • Arrange, travel to and have 16 One-to-one meetings with members of the Institution (24 hours spread over (indicative) weeks 6-11 and 16-25)
    • Coordinate and liaise with external organisations for listening, acting and negotiating.
  • Possible attendance at external events by community organizations (including Citizens UK)



Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting

Additional coursework information

  • Continuous diary notes of personal reflections.

Continuous diary notes of personal reflections: Personal reflections recorded in Learning Journal of training and one-to-ones to date, exploring what problems can be turned into issues, and how institutions can build power together to act for change.Reflection on how this relates to your own university course, and how you use these reflections for delivery of final sessions and for thinking about future career and citizenship plans

  • Individual reflective assignment.

Personal reflections of training and delivery to date, exploring the connections between your own university course and this module, and how you use these reflections for further action, and reflecting on the impact on your future career and the impact this work is having on society.

  • Group presentation

Analysis and evaluation of training and delivery experience, concluding with recommendations/proposals for the future that are relevant to key stakeholdersGroup powerpoint presentation to a selection of stakeholdersExplaining your action, and how you attempted to negotiate and hold power to account 

  • Essay dissertation.

Topic to be agreed with supervisor, but this may involve drawing on experience and contextualizing it. For example, according to current social issues, community action, democracy and/or organisation studies and/or introducing comparisons to other forms of community action and/or connecting to other university modules and/or evaluations from the point of view of class, gender equality, and/or an evaluation of your experience. During this dissertation students will also evaluate key, relevant theories and debates.

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information
Essex Business School

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