module specification

DN5027 - Skills and Enquiry (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Skills and Enquiry
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 300
228 hours Guided independent study
72 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Portfolio
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Thursday Morning

Module summary

This module follows on from the Level 4 skills module, and supports and equips you to develop your understanding and use of processes to a more sophisticated level. Whether you are working with digital tools or analogue processes, having a deep understanding of both puts you in the best position to realise your creative vision as a graphic designer, illustrator and animator.  

In this module you will build on your prior learning in the basics of relevant software and digital tools, as well as practical processes such as printmaking, photography and stop motion animation. At level 5 you begin to innovate and push boundaries, and to test where these tools and processes can take you creatively. This learning can then be applied to your creative design projects in other modules. 

The module guides you in how to establish a sound creative process, using techniques of idea generation, testing and iteration and thinking through making. You will be able to create connections between analogue and digital processes, to understand that the foundations and vocabulary of software are rooted in analogue forerunners. 
Through this module you will be equipped to experiment and take risks with processes and understand the value of experimenting with tools and materials as a starting point for idea generation, as well as using them to execute outcomes to a highly finished professional level.  

During this module you will:

• confidently and safely learn and work in some of our specialist workshop settings independently as well as with academic or technical support;

• build on basic making skills and processes to begin innovating and adapting tools and technology;

• assimilate skills learning with wider creative practice, exercising initiative and testing boundaries;

• begin to develop a critical and reflective approach to the use and application of making skills, tools and processes.

Prior learning requirements

Pre-requisite: DN4024 Skills and Principles
Available for Study Abroad? NO


Through workshop and studio sessions you will normally develop knowledge and experience of:

• specialist practical workshop inductions and workshop sessions to learn how to use equipment safely and creatively, including for independent practice;

• the use of digital software and digital tools at the appropriate level;

• working independently, in a supported way, to confidently test and experiment with tools, materials and processes;

• documenting and reflecting effectively on the process of working with digital and analogue tools and techniques;

• making clear and well-expressed connections between how skills gained can be applied to project work and responding to briefs;

• group discussion and academic and peer feedback to evaluate skills gained and their application.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching provides the guidance and foundation to ensure that independent study is effective in addressing the module’s learning outcomes and assessment tasks.

In-class activity makes use of varied student-centred approaches such as active, flipped and blended learning, so that a range of learning strategies is deployed, and individual learning styles are accommodated. Information is provided through a range of means and sources to minimise and remove barriers to successful progress through the module. The course team seeks to embed the University’s Education for Social Justice Framework in fostering learning that is enjoyable, accessible, relevant and that takes account of the social and cultural context and capital of its students.

Activities foster peer-to-peer community building and support for learning. Reflective learning is promoted through interim formative feedback points that ask students to reflect on their progress, receive help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes and make recommendations to themselves for future development. Throughout the module, students build a body of work, including written reflections on progress and achievement.

The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-based learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal and career development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress from year to year, to understand the professional environment of their disciplines, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading books and journal articles, going to galleries and exhibitions, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing project work and presentations, and preparing for deadlines. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and Weblearn and Linkedin Learning, the online learning platform.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, to the standard expected at Level 5, you will be able to: 

Knowledge and Understanding

1. test how digital and analogue tools can be used both experimentally and applied to create finished outcomes;

Cognitive Intellectual Abilities

2. reflect on the use of tools and techniques, understanding that a reflective process enables iteration and innovation;

Transferable Skills

3. exercise initiative, responsibility and adaptability, finding ways to work with tools in a way that supports individual practice;

Subject Specific Practical Skills

4. demonstrate understanding of discipline-specific digital and analogue creative tools, to experiment and innovate; 

Professionalism and Values

5. demonstrate good motivation, engagement with all aspects of the module, good timekeeping, independent working and attention to detail in documenting and reflecting upon learning.