Teaching materials

Jess Harris made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Queen Mary University of London

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Gwrthodwyd y cais gan Queen Mary University of London.

Dear Queen Mary, University of London,

Please email a copy of all of the following for your MA module "The Theory and History of Community Organising" (School of Geography):

Reading lists
Teaching materials including lecture notes, Powerpoints etc..
Course guide or handbook
Any other educational material routinely given to students on this course

Yours faithfully,
Jess Harris

QM FOI Enquiries, Queen Mary University of London

We acknowledge receipt of your request and will respond as soon as we can.

QM FOI Enquiries, Queen Mary University of London

FOI 2015/F242


Dear Jess Harris


Thank you for your email of 14^th October.


Queen Mary does hold the information you have requested, however I am
afraid that I am unable to supply it to you. This is because we believe
this information is exempt under s.43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act
2000 in that to disclose these materials in to the public domain would be
likely to prejudice Queen Mary’s commercial interests.


Teaching and other module materials are created by each academic for QMUL
and its students. They have a commercial value for QMUL and are only made
available to students who have paid tuition fees to attend courses offered
by QMUL.


This module is not actually running this academic year and other
educational providers in the U.K. could use the information to fill the
‘gap in the market’. If the information were disclosed it could allow
these parties to use and adapt any original material created by QMUL
staff. This would help those institutions to attract students that might
otherwise come to QMUL and could mean that we may not be able to run this
module in future should we wish.

This exemption is subject to the public interest test. On the one hand we
recognise that there is a public interest in the transparency of public
authorities and materials it produces. The information could be useful to
provide an insight on the type of teaching materials produced by QMUL and
on this specific topic.


In this regard, the information that is available via our online learning
environment to advertise the module to students is included below and this
gives a flavour of the content that would be included in the module:


“This module will explicate the tradition of community organising as it
has been developed in the United States and its subsequent translation to
the context of the UK. Students will be required to study key texts each
week in order to take part in two-hour seminars that explore the
traditions of community organising in the ideas developed by Aristotle,
Machiavelli, Catholic Social Teaching, Polanyi and the urban sociology of
the Chicago School. Through studying case studies of community organising
in the United States and London, students will then mobilise these ideas
in concrete geographical locations (Chicago, Rochester, New York and
London). Spanning almost a century, these case studies will highlight the
importance of place in political action, the translation of traditions
across space, the changing nature of political-economy and the history of
related social movements (labour, civil rights).”


We have considered a related decision involving a homeopathy course at the
University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) (ICO reference: FS50140374). We
do not believe that the same reasons that UCLAN was required to release
similar information apply in this case. Homeopathy is a much more
controversial subject than community organising and practitioners of
homeopathy have a direct effect on the health of the general public in a
way that geographers and other social scientists do not. It is clearly in
the public interest that the public has as much knowledge as possible as
to the training of health providers up to and including the exact course
materials that are provided. We contend that providing the overview above
on the module about which you have enquired sufficiently meets the public

In the same case as above, the Information Tribunal ruled that HEIs have
commercial interests. They compete with one another for students, research
funding and so on. It is imperative that QMUL does all it can to protect
its competitive position, especially in times when less and less is
received from the public purse.


On balance, we believe that the public interest in withholding the
information outweighs the public interest in disclosing it to the world at


Under our duty to advise and assist, if you were to contact the module
lead directly she may be able to discuss any specific queries you have.
You can find the details at:
[1]http://www.geog.qmul.ac.uk/staff/academi... and the
module and programme convenor, Professor Jane Wills, can be contacted on
[2][email address].


If you are dissatisfied with this response, you may ask QMUL to conduct a
review of this decision.  To do this, please contact the College in
writing (including by fax, letter or email), describe the original
request, explain your grounds for dissatisfaction, and include an address
for correspondence.  You have 40 working days from receipt of this
communication to submit a review request.  When the review process has
been completed, if you are still dissatisfied, you may ask the Information
Commissioner to intervene. Please see [3]www.ico.org.uk for details.

Yours sincerely


Paul Smallcombe

Records & Information Compliance Manager


Visible links
1. http://www.geog.qmul.ac.uk/staff/academi...
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.ico.org.uk/