“That’s what I love about IATL modules, they give you a glimpse into other worlds that you may not encounter otherwise.”– Dr Dave Wood, Principal Teaching Fellow, Mathematics Institute
I hope you’re all getting involved in term 1 and feeling stimulated by lots of projects, nights out, and culture etc. So, potentially it could be a little premature to be writing already about my experiences with IATL, particularly after having had only a couple of seminars, however, I did want to share with you my experiences (so far)!
To begin with, I thought it best to define IATL- it stands for Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning. IATL provides an opportunity to take an exterior module to your current course to extend your on a knowledge on a potential unchartered topic of personal interest and to study alongside students from an array of differing academic backgrounds. I have included a link to Dr Nick Monk’s introduction to IATL here: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/iatl/activities/modules/introductory_video/
I have chosen this year to study Laughter: a Transdisciplinary Approach with the intention of garnering experiences with a variety of academic text and discourse, for instance we engage with: psychology papers, sociological models, theatre analyses, the history of laughter, neurological research, clowning workshops and meeting professional stand-up poets. For me this was such an exciting prospect to delve into such a complex topic, something which I partake in subconsciously every single day, so to grasp the underpinnings of such an important and arguably multifaceted social interaction (why do we laugh at different things? Do we use laughter as a social mechanism? What makes something funny?) was an opportunity I did not want to miss.
Not only this, but the assessment criteria really interested me. The module is marked via two pieces of coursework: one is an essay and the other is a reflective journal. There is real scope for creativity when piecing together the reflective journal which is something that appeals to me (which is worth 50% of your mark). I am thinking of making a physical journal however I haven’t decided definitively yet. However, if creativity isn’t something that you feel confident in, a word document denoting all reflections is just as worthy of a high mark, content is the at the kernel of the marking criteria.
My first seminar was so enriching and interesting, and it was a real joy to be with such a mix of people with a spectrum of academic interest. I am really looking forward to discussions in the coming weeks as I will inevitably learn a lot from everyone in the room. The atmosphere is also really friendly and there isn’t a pressure to provide the ‘correct’ answers or always contribute. Speaking of which our first session focused mainly on what makes us in laugh in day to day life and then we enquired why? The cursory answers were simplistic however after a lot of thought and teasing out ideas we realised laughter is in fact a complicated sociocultural phenomenon that poses many questions.
I would really recommend taking an IATL module as you benefit from meeting new people, discovering topics that would never normally feature within your timetable and you get to engage in all kinds of discourse. The academic side seems a little daunting, particularly as I will certainly be engaging with texts that I never have before, such as psychological studies, however the space in the seminar room is accommodating and reassuring, so I look forward to a rewarding term.
Thank you for reading and I wish you the best.