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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
October 21, 2014
 
 
Canadian Excellence

Statement of Specific Learning Outcomes for the Medieval Studies Program



Statement of Specific Learning Outcomes for the Medieval Studies Program

Depth and Breadth of Knowledge

In year one of our Program, students are introduced to various bodies of knowledge. If they have decided to include languages in their program, they are introduced to these languages and to the requisite literatures.

All students are expected to:

• Identify and explain the key political, economic, social, and cultural concepts and activities of the period c. 500 to c. 1500 and how they impact the development of modern movements, institutions, and ideas (years 1-4)
• Identify and explain current attitudes, individual and general, towards cultural material from the Middle Ages (1-4)
• Identify and explain what an interdisciplinary program of study is in order to demonstrate its properties, value, and distinctiveness (1)
• Classify medieval political, economic, social, and cultural material according to historicity and genre (1)
• Be able to distinguish between fields, disciplines, and periods in order to choose appropriate paths of inquiry (1)

Limits of Knowledge

Our students are also expected to be able to recognize the limitations of their knowledge. Students should come to an understanding that:

• Analysis can be limited by pre-suppositions and assumptions: any path of inquiry that one uses, disciplinary or interdisciplinary, is limited by one’s own existing reading, education, habits of inquiry, and experience (1-4)
• Interpretation of a text or other kind of cultural material is limited: one cannot reasonably make a text or object “mean anything one wants it to” (1)
• judgments of cultural material by criteria that are totally alien to it are very difficult to construe and support (1)
• personal feelings concerning a path of inquiry, period, or example of cultural material do not typically constitute analysis. For instance, “fans” of a discipline or period are distinct from students of the same discipline or period (1)
• Arguments are not always based on facts (1)
• To think exactly like a medieval person would do is impossible (1)

By second year, students are being introduced to the more specific methodologies typical to the field of Medieval Studies, while the depth and breadth of knowledge acquired in first year is reinforced. Students who have chosen to study languages continue to engage in language acquisition through reading, speaking, and writing.

Knowledge of Methodologies

Students should be able to:

• Identify, define, and articulate the key goals of, and concepts behind, interdisciplinary, traditional, modern, and (where apt) pre-modern research principles, approaches, methodologies, and analytical techniques (2-4)
• Analyze closely the language and form of complex texts, music, images, and other cultural materials (1-4)
• Describe the sorts of tools and materials that medievalists use to study the Middle Ages (1-4)
• Synthesize a range of perspectives concerning the political, economic, social, and cultural material of the Middle Ages (1-4)
• Use cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approaches to examine the cultural material of the Middle Ages, particularly when examining non-Western historical periods, texts, music, and etc. (1-4)
• Originate, plan, manage, and complete major undertakings, both independently and as part of a team (1-4)
• Learn to articulate a variety of theories of history, writing, investigating, reading, representation, and other kinds of cultural analysis, especially interdisciplinary theories (eg., intertextuality, interplay between text and theory) (3-4)
• Evaluate statements, arguments, assumptions, critical models, and theoretical presuppositions for veracity, validity, and persuasive techniques, while using appropriate criteria (3-4)
• Understand the political, cultural, and discursive frameworks that determine the composition and reception of texts, music, images, and other cultural materials from the Middle Ages—and the composition and reception of the medieval period as a whole (2-4)

By fourth-year, the mastery of certain skills should be evident. For instance, our Program, like most social sciences and humanities programs, would expect students to have mastered the ability to read, plan, organize, strategize, write, edit, and document research papers and similar assignments.

Communication Skills

Students would also be expected to demonstrate their communication skills by being able to:

• Conduct independent, motivated, and targeted research, including the ability to gather, review, organize, and interpret different levels of sources (eg. primary and secondary), kinds of resources (eg. manuscript facsimiles, critical studies, and artifacts) and modes of resources (eg. library catalogues, archives, documents, electronic databases, digital resources, virtual resources, and the world-wide web) (1-4)
• Develop a critical vocabulary and framework with which to discuss and write about historical periods, texts, music, images, and other cultural materials, in the light of recent developments in historical, literary, and cultural theory (3-4)
• Express clear, fluent, coherent, well-organized, and properly supported critical arguments, both in written and oral/visual contexts, to a variety of audiences (1-4)
• Employ an effective, precise, concise, and understandable writing style by producing logical, relevant, and effective statements, supported by appropriate documentation (1-4)
In the later years of their education and after graduating, students should be able to apply what they have learned to appropriate situations. These skills are particularly important in demonstrating leadership and in other factors contributing to employment and life-long learning.

Application of Knowledge

Students should be able to:

• Carry forward their leadership, planning, collaborative, organizational, analytical, evaluative, and decision-making abilities into responsible practical applications and into appropriate problem-solving situations (4)
• Apply their synthetic, media literacy, information competency, time management, and critical thinking skills to appropriate research and problem-solving situations (4)
• Articulate the importance and influence of the medieval period through fostering a desire to preserve, conserve, appreciate, and also interrogate its artifacts, as well as its early modern and modern representations (4)
• Develop a familiarity with technology, and use this knowledge as a base for the learning of new technologies and technological skills (1-4)
• Deepen understanding of intellectual traditions and interpretive communities (1-4)
• Increase moral awareness and aesthetic appreciation of the past and of the world around us that can lay the groundwork for constructive social change (1-4)
• Engage in profound and rewarding self-reflection (1-4)
• Understand and interrogate the relationship between course content and their lives (1-4)
• Recognize the relevance of their academic skills to personal growth, to professional competency, to purposeful thought and action, to the kinds of decisions that define leadership, and to successful careers after university (1-4