Students: who are they and what do they think?
In this final section, we provide some analysis of the types of student who have chosen to take this module, their grade outcomes, and we consider some of the anonymous feedback which was received from them after the module had been completed.
Type of students
The numbers of students taking this module have ranged from 12 to 30, with an average of 15. The gender balance of students taking this unit generally corresponds with the gender balance of those taking the LLB programme. The module tends to be less favoured by international students, perhaps because of the requirements of their jurisdictions and the apparent preponderance of commercial law interests among that sizeable group.
Students who took our module usually had public law and jurisprudence interests, as well as having their enthusiasm generated by the Crime, Justice and Society unit taken by all students in year two (outlined above). The common parallel modules taken by the students included Medical Law and Law and Gender, although a wide variety of other modules were also apparent. In particular, some students have taken this module as well as commercial/ company law modules to balance out their curriculum. In the main, feedback from the students suggested that they chose the module because of an interest in social theory as well as the contexts of law (and for some, because it was coursework not exam-based).
Even before we restricted the module to third-year students, it was mostly taken by third-years. The module is open to non-law students as well and, in most years, a small number of students from across the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law take the module (usually just one or two per annum). This may seem a disappointing uptake from students outside the Law School, but is explicable by reference to the structure of degree programmes in other schools within the faculty: in those schools, open units are generally restricted to students' first year when this module might be stretching them too far. It appears from our feedback that one or two students from those other schools chose this unit, perhaps mistakenly, on the basis that it would give them an understanding of 'law'. Those students usually left the module after the first seminar.
In each year to date, three or four students have demonstrated sufficient appreciation of the subject to have obtained first-class marks on the module; marks generally follow the expected bell curve for all units. Our impression has been that the weaker students in our module are similarly weak in the rest of their degree programme; equally, students who engage with our module are able to develop their interests and produce outstanding work.