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University College for Interdisciplinary Learning

Leadership in Action Online (MLP)

Course Unit Code


Also available in Semester 1.

Course Unit Details

This unit has been designed specifically for online learning and offers a unique interactive experience.


  • Level 2
  • 10 Credits
  • Division of Teaching, Learning and Student Development


Leadership in Action (LIA) units aim to help you understand what it means to be a leader in the 21st century. The units explore complex current problems and ask: How does change happen? Who makes it happen? What does that tell us about leadership and how we do it?

This unit will equip you with the tools to critically evaluate models and approaches to leadership and to apply these to a range of 21st century complex and wicked problems such as sustainable development and climate change, poverty and inequality, homelessness, and humanitarian disaster response).The units will also help you to develop a toolkit of transferable skills that will boost your employability.

You will hear from leaders who are influencing change in the world around us, including some of the university's leading academics and leaders from the public, private and voluntary sectors.

The LIA Online unit is delivered entirely via Blackboard and is available in both semester 1 and 2. You will work through online learning modules, released at intervals through the semester. Each learning module uses a range of bespoke audio/video inputs, case studies, and interactive elearning activities designed to enhance your learning and understanding. You will discuss the topics covered in the learning modules in online discussion boards, as part of an interdisciplinary group of around 25 students, supported throughout by a dedicated eTutor.

Students who successfully complete an LIA unit and 15, 25 or 40 hours of approved volunteering will be awarded the prestigious Manchester Leadership Programme Certificate (Bronze, Silver or Gold).


The course unit aims to:

  • Encourage an understanding of the importance of leadership of self and others
  • Broaden intellectual and cultural interests
  • Challenge and equip you to confront personal values and make ethical judgements
  • Prepare you for citizenship and leadership in diverse, global environments
  • Enhance employability

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit you will be able to:

  • Evaluate different models and theories of leadership, within a 21st century global context
  • Analyse the ways in which leaders influence change and how leadership skills may be applied in both learning and occupational contexts
  • Employ reflective learning skills in order to relate models of leadership to personal practice
  • Analyse complex, 'wicked', problems and leadership in response to them


The online unit content is delivered via learning modules released at intervals over weeks 1-10 of the semester.

The learning modules in the first half of the semester will introduce and examine:

  • A definition of leadership in action
  • Key leadership models and theories
  • The concept of tame and wicked problems, and leadership in response to them
  • How change happens and how leaders both respond to, and influence, change
  • Leadership and ethics
  • Leadership, politics and the media

The learning modules in the second half of the semester will examine leadership and complex problems, from different perspectives, covering a range of leadership issues and challenges for the 21st century, such as:

  • Poverty and inequality
  • Homelessness
  • Humanitarian disaster response
  • Environmental sustainability and climate change
  • Business ethics and responsibility
  • Urban regeneration, social inclusion and sustainable communities

Facilitated discussion boards, released at intervals alongside the learning modules, will ask you to think about problems, and challenges for leaders, and to analyse them, applying your understanding of leadership theory, in particular leadership in response to wicked problems.


  1. Ongoing, end of module assessments, including discussions and short online tests (20%)
  2. 2 x written assignments: Choice of tasks with a leadership focus (2 x 40%)


Year 1 students (with the exception of Study Abroad and Exchange students) are not eligible to take this unit.

UCIL units are designed to be accessible to undergraduate students from all disciplines.

UCIL units are credit-bearing and it is not possible to audit UCIL units or take them for additional/extra credits. You must enrol following the standard procedure for your School when adding units outside of your home School.

If you are not sure if you are able to enrol on UCIL units you should contact your School Undergraduate office. You may wish to contact your programme director if your programme does not currently allow you to take a UCIL unit.

You can also contact the UCIL office if you have any questions.

Teaching Staff

Amelie Mons, Maria Kopsacheili, Caroline Henaghan, Sian Yeowell and contributors from the public, private and voluntary sectors

Teaching and Learning Methods

The unit is delivered entirely via Blackboard. It is a highly interactive and innovative unit that adopts a blended approach with a range of audio and video inputs, interactive activities and case studies from world-class internal and external contributors.

The unit content is supported by elearning activities designed to enhance learning and understanding including:

  • Tutor-facilitated online discussion forums examining issues raised by related weekly module content
  • Questionnaires and quizzes


I definitely think more students should consider this module as the challenges of life and work are increasingly requiring people to step up and lead, either lead for themselves or for others. With this module already being an online module pre-COVID the content hasn't been impacted in the slightest. The constant incorporation of different leaders in the modules bring different perspectives and interesting experiences to the forefront and learning about them has allowed me to take what I need to better myself.Marcell Mapp, Disaster Management & Humanitarian Response

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