London Specials: Academics, Know the World (English)

Academics are a university’s main selling point. How they communicate the knowledge of the institution to the student’s is the very meat of university education. The quality of the education and the mechanisms used to communicate them varies amongst universities. The way unis teach students and prepare them for the world is is commonly reflected in several indicators; teaching mechanisms and modules.

Teaching Mechanisms

Teaching mechanisms across UK unis are often similar and may seem redundant to take into consideration. However, where this element varies is that there are unis that emphasise certain mechanisms over others. You should take this into consideration as there are several mechanisms that are used and have their own benefits. The following are a list and brief description of some of those mechanisms:

  1. Lectures-Lectures are probably the most straightforward where the entirety of the class is gathered to receive an explanation of a topic from a lecturer. This serves to communicate the brunt of a module’s material which becomes the foundation of the knowledge received during uni.
  2. Seminars-Seminars are more personal where classes are divided into smaller classes to have discussions and assignments. Seminars act to help students further deepen their understanding of materials alongside other students with more intimate help form tutors.
  3. Independent Study-This probably goes without saying but independent study is basically taking time out of your day to revise material for whatever need may arise.
  4. Assessments-Assessments are basically tasks that are required to be submitted as part of the learning process. Usually, there are formative tasks, tasks that are not graded and meant for practice, and summative tasks, graded tasks that record the progression of a student, that work hand in hand to ensure the student’s learning process is going smoothly.
  5. Practicals-Practicals are any sort of learning activity which requires students to get hands on experience with whatever knowledge that they are being tested on. This includes activities such as laboratories and oral assessments.
  6. Study Weeks-Study weeks can be considered to be an extreme take on practicals as an entire week is dedicated to teaching students through solving a problem given by the tutors. For example, UCL’s Chemical Engineering course has a week dedicated to the processing of urea to become an effective source of fertiliser. Students work in groups and are required to combine several elements of different modules to be able to solve this problem.


Modules are basically the classes students will take in a course during uni. Modules can be a form of consideration because the same or similar courses in different universities might have different modules. For example, KCL’s Politic’s course is more politics heavy compared to UCL’s Politics and International Relations course. This is shown by KCL’s modules which discuss topics such as comparative politics and comparative theory as opposed to UCL’s modules which have elements of research methods. This can be a consideration for students depending on their wants and needs regarding to uni education.

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