Trying something new with IATL
Hi everyone, hope you’re enjoying the Christmas break!
Today I wanted to tell you a bit about one of the modules I studied this term, an IATL module called Understanding Wellbeing: Theory and Practice.
If you’re not familiar with IATL, it stands for the Institute of Advanced Teaching and Learning. There are lots of different IATL modules covering a wide range of topics which are available to students studying different subjects across the university. IATL is focused on being interdisciplinary and brings together ideas from different disciplines which makes for a really diverse and interesting experience when studying the content of the module. Taking an IATL module is a great opportunity to study a topic you’re interested in beyond your main course, to meet new people and to try something outside of your comfort zone. This was my first IATL module so I wasn’t sure what to expect but it’s been a really enjoyable and rewarding experience which I wanted to share!
I mainly chose the Understanding Wellbeing module as I’m really interested in mental health and wellbeing, but also because I was keen to take a module outside of my department. I took an external module in my second year and found that taking on a new challenge really boosted my confidence – branching out into something a little different gives you the chance to use the skills you’ve developed on your main course in a new way and is an experience I would definitely recommend during your time at university.
One of the most exciting parts of the Understanding Wellbeing module was the great variety of subject areas that we covered. Each class would focus on a different aspect of wellbeing (including mindfulness, sport, nutrition, biology and art) in a way that was really engaging and accessible. As an arts student, I was initially worried about studying content from unfamiliar science and maths-based disciplines but the information was taught in a way that was clear; you didn’t need to be an expert in a discipline to understand and enjoy the class. In fact, my favourite class was economics and wellbeing, and I usually hate doing maths! The assessment methods for the module are also very flexible and students have quite a lot of choice in terms of what they produce which gives everyone the opportunity to present their knowledge in a way that suits them.
I also loved the collaborative and open style of the classes. Each session was held in the Humanities Studio and we sat either in a semi circle or at round tables which made it easy to talk to others and share ideas. There was a really supportive and friendly atmosphere and the lecturers were all very positive, welcoming and happy to help.
Taking this module has really improved my understanding of wellbeing, helped me develop my passion for it even further and introduced me to some great new friends. Taking a module outside of your main course can feel daunting and can definitely be challenging but in my experience, studying something different has really helped me grow and has made my academic journey even more fulfilling.