Lampeter is the Humanities Campus of UWTSD teaching subjects like Archaeology, History, Anthropology, Philosophy, Heritage, Creative Writing etc…
It is pioneering Block Teaching, with this year being the first year of this “Guinea Pig” Scheme. We don’t like it, most of the lecturers, don’t like it (some left over it), and it’s a scheme that’s come down on high. Testing is done at Lampeter because we’re the smallest campus, and therefore there are less people to complain. Not that anyone listens to the complaints. Students raised concerns and these were ignored.
Block teaching works, but only in theory. Blocks are learnt one at time, intensively. 3hr lectures, everyday bar Wednesdays, and about 4hrs of reading or essay working every day just to keep up. People are cracking, camping in the library, crying in lecture, and having scheduled breakdowns, that kind of fun.
The blocks are 4 weeks long, with a ten day break between them. Where apparently we have to stay on campus, because its termtime. No one has yet officially recategorized Lampeter as a prison so personally, I’m off. Those ten days are supposed to prep you for the next block, presumably so you can pick up the remnants of your sanity and prepare to have it beaten out of you again.
First years have to do six of these blocks, second years, five and an independent project over another block, and third years four blocks and a 40 credit Dissertation.
As you can tell I am not an advocate of the block system. Its stressful, miss one class for any reason, and its almost impossible to catch up, To save money and employ less lecturers the Management have created modules which just don’t work. Unrelated disciplines are taught together to the detriment of the smaller discipline because they just don’t understand the differences between them. (heritage and archaeology get taught together for instance, and there are reasons why they are different disciplines in the first place.
At the same time students are given block options which have little to do with them. This is supposedly to give a greater choice of study material, but is actually because they can’t do enough subject specific modules. A friend of mine studying classics only had 3 options for a year, and two were in the same block). I myself had a lot of Chinese language options, and I study history. The only Chinese I know is “Chow Mein”.
Block teaching was introduced only to save money for the management. Lampeter has lost lecturers, and courses over it, and won’t see any of the money back. Little of the funds coming from Lampeter students is spent there, with campuses at Carmarthen and Swansea being given disproportionate funds.