British Naval Power in the Age of Nelson (HIH1535)

StaffDr Martin Robson - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level1
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks; Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

Various types of evidence (official, personal, literary, visual, statistical) will be examined for the different perspectives they provide on the nature of British naval supremacy during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Ability to assess the nature of British naval power in the age of Nelson.
  • 2. Ability to work critically with a range of sources for the naval history of Britain, with particular reference to late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
  • 3. Ability to critique modern British historical texts.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Ability to identify the problems of using historical sources, e.g. bias, reliability, etc., and to compare the validity of different types of source.
  • 5. Ability to answer a question briefly and concisely.
  • 6. Ability to present work orally, to respond to questions orally, and to think quickly of questions to ask other students.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Independent study and group work, including the presentation of material for group discussion, developed through the mode of learning.
  • 8. Ability to digest, select and organise material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument, developed through the mode of assessment.
  • 9. Ability to work with others in a team and to interact effectively with the tutor and the wider group. Ability to write to a very tight word-length.

Syllabus plan

This module will examine contemporary documents to evaluate the validity of sources for the study of aspects of naval power, including policy and strategy, dockyard management, mutiny and the health of seamen.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities22 hour lecture: Introduction to module
Scheduled learning and teaching activities2010 x 2 Seminars. At a meeting of the whole class generally a different group of 3-4 students will give a presentation to the whole class, followed by class discussion and working through the sources for that week carefully. Additional sources may be issued in the class and the lecturer will also use the time to set up issues for the following week.
Guided independent study128Students prepare for the session through reading and research; writing five source commentaries and an essay and preparing one group presentation in the course of the term.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group presentation (3-4 students)10-15 minutes1-4, 6-7, 9Oral
Lowest mark from portfolio of 5 source commentaries500 words1-5, 7-8, 10Mark and written comments

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
4 highest marks from portfolio of 5 source commentaries60 (15% per commentary)2000 words (500 per commentary)1-5, 7-8, 10Mark and written comments
Essay on Sources401500 words1-5, 7-8, 10Mark and written comments

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
4 highest marks from portfolio of 5 source commentaries4 highest marks from portfolio of 5 source commentaries1-5, 7-8, 10Referral/deferral period
1500 word essay1500 word essay1-5, 7-8, 10Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Sir John Knox Laughton (ed), Letters and Papers of Charles, Lord Barham (Navy Records Society, 1907-11)
John Hattendorf et al (eds), British Naval Documents 1204-1960 (Navy Records Society, 1994) 
B. Lavery, Nelson’s Navy: the Ships, Men and Organisation 1793-1815 (Chatham Publishing, 1989)
R. Morriss, The Royal Dockyards during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (Leicester UP, 1983)
J. Black and P. Woodfine (eds), The British Navy and the Use of Naval Power in the Eighteenth Century (Leicester UP, 1988)

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