PLAS units February 2022

The University of Malta’s Programme in the Liberal Arts and Sciences (PLAS) is an excellent opportunity for personal and professional development. You may apply for any and as many Units as you wish from the broad range of PLAS Units on offer.

PLAS Units consist of weekly evening lectures between 18:00 and 20:00, normally spread over 14 weeks.  Each study unit is of 4 ECTS which involves between 20 to 28 contact hours.

Timetable Semester 2 of the academic year 2021/2 (Updated 10/03/22)

Applications for Semester 2 are now closed.

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Coordinator: Mr Alexei Pace

Alexei Pace actively observes the night sky with his telescope and has served as president of the Astronomical Society of Malta. Astronomy has made him ponder about humanity's place in the Universe and throughout this course he will give a non-technical introduction to modern astronomy, including the Sun and the planets of our solar system, meteors, comets, stars and galaxies, the history of astronomy and space exploration.

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Coordinator: Prof. Joseph Brincat
Co-lecturer: Dr Olvin Vella

Dan il-kors jiffoka fuq l-iżvilupp tal-ilsien Malti, minn djalett Għarbi Magrebin mitkellem fl-Afrika ta' Fuq u fi Sqallija madwar is-sena elf, fil-proċess twil ta' Romanizzazzjoni progressiva u standardizzazzjoni sakemm laħaq ir-rikonoxximent ta' lingwa uffiċjali, u saħansitra ta' lingwa uffiċjali tal-Unjoni Ewropea. Prof Brincat jagħti l-istorja esterna filwaqt li Dr Vella jispjega d-dettalji tal-bidliet interni.

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Coordinator: Ms Claire Micallef

Marketing is both an art and a science, focusing on building long term, value laden, profitable relationships between organizations and their customers and various publics.

This Unit aims at introducing students to the following topics:
- The Marketing Concept
- Marketing Management Philosophies
- The S.W.O.T. Analysis
- Customer Buying Behaviour
- The Importance of Marketing Research and Market Segmentation
- The Marketing Mix and Customer Driven Marketing Strategies
- Marketing in the Digital Age, Relationship Marketing and Customer Care.

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Coordinator: Prof. Carmel Cassar
Co-lecturers: Dr Noel Buttigieg, Dr Margaret Camilleri Fenech, Prof. Suzanne Piscopo

This unit will explore traditional eating habits within a Mediterranean framework. Despite the differences in food choices and cooking practices specific to each area and culture, the societies that live along the shores of the Great Sea share a common set of basic features. Traditionally the Mediterranean was often an area where poverty and food shortages were historically endemic.

Nonetheless, the Mediterranean region managed to generate a unique dietary pattern, resulting from a complex and multi-millennial interaction between the natural food resources available in its environment and strengthened by the people that inhabit its shores. Over time, the particular features that came to be associated with a Mediterranean diet came to form the basis of everyday eating habits in the region. The course will evaluate the way cooking methods transformed traditional food habits and changing eating patterns over time. It will also look at the role played by nutritional and dietary values, and the ever-growing problem of food waste in modern fast changing Mediterranean societies.

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Coordinator: Prof. Angela Abela

This Unit will further the participants’ understanding of how our intimate relationships are of vital importance to the well-being of adults, children and to society as a whole. It will offer a deeper appreciation of key couple dynamics including processes involved in partner choice, attachment bonding, and constructive resolution of couple conflict, taking a life cycle perspective. The Unit will also take into account the diversity of partner relationships in contemporary society.

In addition, this Unit will offer participants the opportunity to reflect on their own partner relationships and to be engaged in discussions which link clinical thinking with research knowledge.

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Coordinator: Mr Johnathan Harrington

This Unit will show the relationship between philosophical enquiry and digital games. Students will gain insight in how digital games allow us to learn, question and develop philosophical thought. Each section will include consideration of classical philosophical texts, modern writing on games and philosophy, as well as game and contemporary culture examples.

Students will explore notions such as:
- Digital and Actual: What does it mean to do something digitally?
- Ethics of Play: Can a digital action ever be ethically wrong?
- Determinism: Is there free-will in the pre-encoded?
- Play for the Self: Can play shape us? How?

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Coordinator: Dr Diane Busuttil
Co-lecturer: Dr David Zammit


Maltese Tort Law provides that any act, committed by one part due to his fault and which causes damage to another, creates an obligation to compensate the injured party. The practical and everyday implications of Maltese Tort Law are highlighted through a study of the tort law provisions in the Maltese Civil Code. The legal provisions will be explored so that the general and specific characteristics of tort law are identified. The elements required for one to be liable under the law of tort are brought out by practical examples which emanate from judgements of Maltese courts. These are compared with the legal texts and jurisprudence from other countries so that the similarity of Maltese tort law with that of other jurisdictions provides an explanation of the source of our law.

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Coordinator: Prof. David Mifsud

Microbes are living organisms that are too small to be seen by the naked eye. However, don’t underestimate them due to their small size, they dominate every environment on Earth – including you. In fact, the total weight of microbes in an adult human is approximately the same weight as the human brain! Microbes are often associated with disease yet the majority of species help to keep us and the planet alive. They have been beneficially used in areas as diverse as healthcare, food production and agriculture. For example, microbes underpin processes such as industrial fermentation (which is used to make useful products such as alcohol, vinegar and dairy products) and antibiotic production. So how can we distinguish the good from the bad? Though it sounds limited, microbiology is actually one of the most important sub-sectors of biology. By analysing microorganisms up close, we learn how they play a crucial role in combating disease, creating chemical products for agriculture, and even helping to keep the planet healthy. With the threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and global pandemics on the rise, microbiologists are also helping to produce the vital life-saving drugs that many people around the world rely on for survival. In this unit, we will explore a general introduction to the field of microbiology and investigate the amazing diversity of microbial life. This unit is for anyone interested in microbiology. There should be something for everyone – whether you are coming to the course with a fair amount of previous knowledge, or none at all.

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Coordinator: Prof. Pauline Galea
Co-lecturers: Dr Matthew Agius & Dr Daniela Farrugia

This unit is intended to address the various questions asked by non-specialists about the Earth, its internal structure, dynamics and the interaction of natural geological processes with society and civilization. The unit will present state-of-the-art methodologies for detecting, monitoring and analysis of such processes.Full details
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Coordinator: Dr Viviana Premazzi

Objective of the study unit is to help participants to be change makers promoting a more diverse and inclusive organizations and society. Unfortunately, people are afraid of the cultural diversity and resistant to change, they prefer building walls instead of bridges. Aim of the course is to equip participants with intercultural skills so that they can navigate the cultural differences, enhance their communication and intercultural relations and promote anti-discrimination, anti-racism, integration, diversity, equity and inclusion projects and policies.

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Coordinator: Mr Alfred E. Baldacchino

This Unit introduces trees from an ecological perspective, emphasising their importance from various aspects, outlining their ecological and social benefits. It also highlights the different types of trees, their botanical characteristics, their adaptability to the different habitats and their potential uses.

Information on propagation, management and national and international protection will also be included. Emphasis will be made on Maltese indigenous trees.

This unit will be of benefit to create more public awareness on biodiversity, to those who are interested, directly or indirectly involved in tree education, propagation and management.

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Coordinator: Dr Anthony Licari
Co-lecturer: Dr Sharon Scicluna

Culture is part and parcel of everything we do. Identity means knowing who you are. Differences between culture and identity will be explored as central to sociology. This Study Unit will show how culture includes all human activity which may be studied by internal or external observers to the group whilst identity means knowing oneself and one's group. Culture and identity are often linked though they are distinct. It is clear that Culture shapes our identity individually and collectively.

Culture exists both subjectively and objectively - they are objective when concerned with material things, whilst they are subjective when expressing individuals' interpretations.

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Coordinator: Prof. Alan Deidun
Co-lecturers: Ms Carmen Mifsud

Participants will be presented with what Malta’s marine waters entail and how to recognise particular zones in our waters. Threats from oil spills and from plastics and the impacts they have on marine life will also be discussed. Participants will also learn on how observations at sea and predictions are carried out and how these can also influence types of activities and zones at sea. The need to conserve some despicable creatures like sharks, which may at times harm fishermen’s nets and may be seen as competing with fisheries, will also be discussed. The Unit material will be delivered in such a way that it is accessible and comprehensible to participants coming from different academic or social backgrounds like divers, fishermen and other avid sea-users. It will also involve one field visit tailored to complement basic marine environmental issues on our shores.

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Coordinator: Mr Anton Mangion

This Unit gives an introduction to local wine legislation as regulated by the EU Directives. It will present an overview of the basics of viticulture and the conditions leading to harvesting quality grapes. Wine processing will be dealt with in detail with emphasis to white and red wine production, and wine making protocol.

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Coordinator: Dr Antoine Grima
Co-lecturers: Dr David Fabri, Dr Emmanuel Said, Mr Christian Manicaro, Ms Chrsitine Zammit

Consumers’ vulnerability in the market is, up to an extent, countered by an extensive range of rights and initiatives. Consumers may not be entirely aware of these. Furthermore, the available remedies may seem complex as a result of the fragmented regulatory framework. The maze may be confusing. This may not only deter consumers from taking further steps when faced with issues but certain illicit practices taking place in the market may go unnoticed. This module is intended to simplify this complexity by identifying crucial legal frameworks and initiatives intended to benefit consumers.

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Coordinator: Dr Edward Mifsud
Co-lecturer: Dr Edward Duca

This unit aims to consolidate the participants’ interests in the field of museum studies and developments in museum education, referred to as Museology.  As participants, you will be introduced to philosophical, historical, psychological and sociological dimensions of informal sites for education. We will examine the museum as an educational institution, the historical development of museum education, and strategies for teaching and learning from material culture. We will also look at various strategies museums and centres have used to attract new audiences. As participants, you will not only be discussing the theoretical aspects of informal learning settings but you will also be involved in workshops at two heritage sites.

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Coordinator: Mr James Sultana

Dark Tourism, defined as the act of travel to sites related to death, disaster or the seemingly macabre, as a field of study in Tourism, has been attracting a lot of interest from scholars, the media and the public. This Unit explores current Dark Tourism theory. It applies these theories to Malta in order to understand what Malta has to offer to this particular niche.

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Coordinator: Dr Graziella Stringos

The unit will focus on the fiction of British Victorian writers that features horror, mystery and the supernatural. While they shocked the nerves, these texts tackled a broad spectrum of serious concerns that intrigued, disturbed and haunted the Victorians. To underline the rich variety of this type of fiction, the unit will cover related subgenres, including vampire fiction and ghost stories, and purposely includes short stories, novellas and novels. Texts by Bram Stoker, Wilkie Collins, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell and Mary Elizabeth Braddon will be discussed in detail to highlight each author’s skill and contribution to the genre.

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PLAS Tech Units


Lecturer: Mr Elvio Cauchi

In this Unit, students will become familiar with audio terminology and recording equipment, setting up microphones for recording, live sound reinforcement and using audio recording software to edit and mix multi track recordings. By the end of the Unit, they will know how to set up a good listening space with basic room treatment, how to select appropriate microphones for a given recording, how to take care of studio equipment and how to record, edit and mix various instruments, including voice. The Unit will delve into the theoretical and also the practical component of audio engineering, where students will learn to set up and use their own DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).

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Lecturer: Mr Andrew Sammut

The exponential growth of data in recent years has given rise to the Data Analytics and Data Science field. Nowadays, data science is applied in all forms of industries, in biotech to find the next generation vaccines, fintech to find the optimal trading models and so on. This unit introduces Data Science using a practical approach, starting from the collection of data, cleansing, storage, visualisation and eventually modelling such data to put this model into production. Some topics covered in this unit include:
‣ Regression and Prediction
‣ Classification, Hypothesis Testing and Deep Learning
‣ Recommendation Systems
‣ Predictive Modelling for Temporal Data

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Lecturer: Mr Martin Camilleri

Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting systems and data from digital attacks. This unit will cover the foundation of computer security and provide students with a solid base to further develop in the area. Typical topics include:
‣ General security concepts
‣ Basic risk management processes
‣ Network infrastructure security
‣ Security monitoring
‣ Securing the network
‣ Basics of cryptography
‣ Security policies and procedures
‣ Security administration.

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Lecturer: Mr Robbert Brand

Participants of this strategic training will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to envision and lead a business giant to a future of lasting and uniform Industry 4.0. Students who successfully complete this study unit will be able to:
‣ Recognize Industry 4.0's potential and business value in their professional environment.
‣ Challenge Suppliers, Engineers, and Developers on the journey to Industry 4.0.
‣ Set a companywide Industry 4.0 strategy and successfully lead the organization to this lasting future while improving the competitive edge and generate business value on the journey itself.

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https://www.um.edu.mt/clas/plasunitsfeb2022