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NABP1003 Academic formation and skills - Seamanship

Course description for academic year 2022/2023

Contents and structure

"Danning og akademisk håndverk - sjømannskap". Direct translation of the Norwegian title is not possible as the English language has no equivalent to "Danning". In very general terms it stands for those qualities that a human must possess in order to be considered a decent and civilized member of society. Hence, the chosen English title is: Decency and academic craftmanship  -  seamanship.

This course is an introduction to the foundations of knowledge and ethics underpinning all education at Western Norway University of Applied Science (HVL). It is also the student’s entry point to the professional, social and cultural community at HVL.

The course offers perspective and theories that improve the students’ understanding of

  • contemporary globalisation
  • sustainability
  • our common responsibilities regarding the wellbeing of all human life
    • At present.
    • In the future.

The course

  • Stimulates the student to
    • be active and curious
    • take responsibility for their own learning
    • develop abilities to be innovative
  • provides a basis for handling complex and unexpected challenges
  • will develop the student’s knowledge about the maritime profession as well as the professional discussions concerning knowledge and ethics

Academic craftmanship

Scientific research requires both abstract reasoning and the ability to solve and execute practical tasks. By practicing the craft students experience how scientific knowledge is built and improved. Information management and authoring texts comprise some parts of this craft and this course provides basic training in such skills as how to

  • find, assess and document information and the sources from which it is collected
  • improve existing knowledge
  • write academic texts

Danning (Decency):

  • means to be a decent and civilized individual who contributes to the wellbeing of all their fellow members of society
  • refers to the personal development that takes place when an individual acquires advanced knowledge in a cultural context characterised by reflection and high ethical standards
  • implies understanding the historical and contemporary social context
  • implies developing knowledge, attitudes and behaviours that assist humans to live meaningful lives for themselves and in relationships with others.
  • Includes everything that contributes to the existence of a civilized, sustainable and free society.


Decency and seamanship are tightly interwoven and provide the foundation for safety, efficiency and sustainability in all maritime journeys and operations. Good seamanship requires that the seafarer


  • Understands the ship in relation to all part of it’s environment
  • Prevents the ship from harming
    • The crew
    • The vessel and it’s cargo
    • The environment
  • Must be able to cooperate with all crew members, other vessels and actors on land
  • Be able to understand and solve interpersonal conflicts
  • Be socially competent and contribute to a pleasant social atmosphere for the entire crew


The sustainability concept refers to a system’s ability to maintain itself over time. At present the world is a global ecological, economical and socio-cultural system that is not sustainable because humans consume and destroy more resources than those that are regenerated. In order to become sustainable our global society needs to solve a large variety of difficult ecological, economical and socio-cultural challenges. Some of the specific challenges are spelled out in the 17 sustainability goals published by the United Nations. Several of these challenges imply working to change the ways humans live and behave, while others are about conservation of assets like biodiversity, wilderness, clean water etc. Sustainability thus involves both an understanding of conservation and a desire to change and develop.

The course is offered in the first semester of the study. It has two parts, one 5 study point (stp) part is common for all first-year students and a specific part (also 5 stp) for nautical students. The two parts make up one integrated whole.

The contents of the course is: Ethics, theory of science, scientific methods, sustainability, academic writing, information competence, referencing and use of sources, cooperation and maritime history.

Learning Outcome


Upon completion of the course the candidate has knowledge about  

  • the main arguments in the discussion about global sustainable development in general and in the maritime field in particular.
  • scientific methods and research-based knowledge
  • the relevance of professional competence within their profession, and is able to discuss the relationship between theory and practice from several perspectives.
  • The relationships between and among their own profession, working life and society in general at present and in the past.
  • Communication and cooperation in general, with a particular empahsis on communicaton and cooperation onboard, among vessels and between vessel and onshore actors.


The candidate is able to reflect on essential problems and questions within science in general and the maritime profession in particular. This includes the ability to :

  • Identify and reflect on essential epistemological dilemmas concerning issues and questions such as «What knowledge is», strengths and weaknesses of any knowledge claim, the boundaries between science and other forms of knowledge etc.
  • Identify and reflect on essential ethical questions and dilemmas.
  • Develop their own knowledge of specific topics by finding, assessing and using different kinds of sources of knowledge, including various digital tools for that purpose.
  • Develop, review and complete academic texts that satisfy common criteria for academic texts.

General competence

The candidate is able to:

  • Plan and execute a variety of tasks, elongated in time, both individually and as part of a group.
  • Communicate their knowledge of essential topics and discussions concerning sustainability.
  • Demonstrate an ability to be critical in relations to their own profession and the sciences in general.

Entry requirements


Teaching methods

Both ordinary and flipped pedagogy is used. Teaching includes seminars, student activities and lectures. Digital resources are available on Convas.

Students will receive supervision.

Compulsory learning activities

The following mandatory assignments must be approved in order for students to earn the privilege to sit their exam.

  1. An individual essay reflecting on the sustainability goals in relation to the maritime professions
  2. A course in academic information processing, including the use of digital tools, in order to find, assess and use a variety of sources of data, information and knowledge when constructing knowledge about specific topics.
  3. Participation in supervised group work solving tasks related to all above.


Written group assignment, 1 500 words +/- 10% 

Assessment: Not/Approved 

New exam: If exam is not approved the students have one more opportunity to reveiew and rewrite the groups assignment.

Examination support material


More about examination support material