Community Engagement: Group Projects

The details
Interdisciplinary Studies Centre (ISC)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 13 January 2020
Friday 20 March 2020
14 August 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA VV15 Philosophy and History,
BA VV16 Philosophy and History (Including Placement Year),
BA VV51 Philosophy and History (Including Foundation Year),
BA VV5C Philosophy and History (Including Year Abroad),
BA VV5X Philosophy and History (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad)

Module description

CS300 offers final year students a unique opportunity to work together in an interdisciplinary team researching, developing/ and implementing a real-world project for a local partner organisation. Partners might include a local charity, social enterprise, community or public or private sector organisation, or the University’s Sustainability section. There will be at least one sustainability project each year. Other projects might involve anything from carrying out a piece of research or designing a public information campaign, to organising part of an exhibition or implementing a community initiative. This module enables you to use the knowledge and skills you have acquired during your degree to address a real-world challenge, while sharing and developing your creative, organisational and practical abilities. By doing so, it will prepare you for entering the graduate labour market or going on to post-graduate study.

This is a non-standard module, which combines a range of collaborative, peer-to-peer and experiential teaching and learning methods. You will be required to do some preliminary reading on the theory and practice of community engagement, group and interdisciplinary work, and project development for the first three sessions of the module. But after that, your team will need to identify relevant bibliography and do some reading related to the topic of your project. At the beginning of this module you will receive training in approaches and challenges of community engagement working, including the use of face-to-face meetings and ethics. Then, each group will start work developing the preliminary project remit. Your group will present your project proposal to the module supervisor and a representative from your partner organisation and make revisions according to their feedback. Once your group’s project plan has been approved, you will spend the rest of the module working with your team implementing and completing the project. While groups are encouraged to work autonomously (combining face-to-face and online meetings), you will also receive regular supervision and support from the module co-ordinator and/or the partner representative.
Students on this module are expected to conform to high standards of professionalism and ethical behaviour. To ensure this, there are a number of safeguards in place. First, all students working with outside partners will be required to read and sign a project partnership agreement. Second, some projects, (e.g. those involving minors and vulnerable people), will require students to have a DBS clearance before they engage with the target group. Third, groups carrying out primary research or data-collection that involves human participants (e.g. surveys, interviews, focus groups) are required to follow University research ethics procedures.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

To provide students from different inter-/disciplinary backgrounds the opportunity to work collaboratively on a real-world project
To introduce students to the challenges and satisfactions of community engagement and group project work
To encourage students to experiment with peer-to-peer and experiential learning
To enable students to enhance their professional, transferable and employability skills

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module the student should have:

A good understanding of how to develop a project remit in a creative, coherent way and deliver a group project on time to partners
Knowledge of the challenges involved in working in an interdisciplinary team and of effective ways of organising collaborative group work
Enhanced professional skills, including the ability to work to a tight schedule, reach agreements, and manage client expectations
Enhanced research, presentation and writing skills.

Module information

In 2019-20 there will be four projects and places may be restricted, therefore there is an application and selection process at the start of the academic year. All students who wish to enrol on this module must read the project descriptions (remits) posted on the CS300 Moodle in late September. You must then send your CV and application letter to the Module Co-ordinator. The letter should explain why you would like to enrol on this module, your preferred project, and what skills and experience you would bring to the group. You will then have an interview with the Module Co-ordinator in the first two weeks of the Autumn term. After the interviews, we will select the groups and inform you whether you have secured a place and on which project. If the module is over-subscribed, unsuccessful candidates will be contacted in time to enrol on an alternative module. We will be looking to form project groups with a balance of aptitudes, skills, experience and potential, so lack of experience is not an obstacle.
Please note: Attendance and participation are very important on this module, so before you enrol, think carefully about whether you are prepared to make the commitment that it will involve.

Learning and teaching methods

This is a non-standard module, which combines a range of collaborative, peer-to-peer and experiential teaching and learning methods. There will be three 2-hour sessions for all students plus regular supervisory meetings between each group and the module co-ordinator and/or project partner. Groups are also required to meet autonomously. In the first two sessions of this module, students will receive training in approaches and challenges of working in interdisciplinary teams, including the use of face-to-face meetings and interactive digital tools. Each group will then start developing the preliminary project remit. Each group will present their draft project proposal to the Module Co-ordinator and a representative from the partner organisation and make revisions according to their feedback. Once the written project plan has been approved, the group will spend the rest of the module working together carrying out and completing the project. The project outputs may take a range of forms depending on the specific project undertaken. In all cases will there be a final group presentation. This information will be available on the Module Directory, and the handbook and Moodle page.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Assignment 2: Group Project Written Proposal   14/02/2020  5% 
Coursework   Assignment 3: Individual Project Poster, Video, Social Media post, Article for the Rebel, or other relevant output  24/04/2020  35% 
Coursework   Assignment 5 - Reflective Essay (1500 words)    35% 
Practical   Assignment 1: Group Oral Presentation of Premilinary Project Proposal    5% 
Practical   Assignment 4: Quality of Final Project    10% 
Practical   Attendance and Punctuality at Module Sessions and team meetings    5% 
Practical   Assignment 4: Final Group Presentation    5% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Jane Hindley, email: janeh@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Jane Hindley
Interdisciplinary Studies Centre General Office - 6.130; Email: istudies@essex.ac.uk.


Travel costs for UK - based unpaid, approved work placements and live projects which are an integral part of a module may be covered by your department. (NB this will usually exclude field trips and site visits). Please check with your module supervisor to ensure that the activity is eligible.

External examiner

Dr Ross Wilson
University of Nottingham
Director of Liberal Arts
Available via Moodle
Of 42 hours, 42 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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