What’s that got to do with getting a degree? Integrating academic skills support into programmes (Interactive Session)

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Dr Susan Gray (School of Life Sport & Social Sciences) and Dr Linda Gunn (Student & Academic Services)

Some students take a bit of convincing that they need more than a good memory to pass assessments. While they need to develop learning and academic skills in order to succeed many, particularly non-traditional students with jobs, family and other commitments, are unable to take advantage of extra-curricular support.

In order to encourage access to these opportunities, Student Learning Advisers have been working with Programme and Module leaders across the University to integrate additional support; coherent development ‘journeys’ which provide students with the academic skills to address progressively more advanced assessments as they travel through University.

Initial discussions ensure that Programme staff learn what additional provision is available to them to support learning, teaching and assessment on their modules. Student Learning Advisers (SLAs) then work with Module leaders to review where they feel their students require support and when, scheduling agreed workshops or tutorials into Module timetables. Having been provided with the relevant information (Module Handbooks, Assessment briefs etc.) Advisers then develop and facilitate contextualized sessions with learning activities for students.

Several Programmes have been working towards developing Academic Skills ‘journeys’ for their students. This session will focus on integrating this into Sport and Exercise Science from the experience of Deputy Programme leader, Dr Susan Gray. It will also feature Susan’s evaluation of the effect upon student success and feedback from students.

With the student experience, retention and wider participation high on everyone’s agendas, this session demonstrates how you can support your students to increase their success and achievements.

Theoretical underpinning

Clegg, S., Bradley, S., and Smith, K., (2006). “I’ve had to swallow my pride”: help seeking and self-esteem. Higher Education Research and Development 25:02 2, 101-113. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07294360600610354 [accessed 16 April 2015].

Entwistle, N. (1997). Contrasting Perspectives on Learning. In Marton, F., Hounsell, D. J. and Entwistle, N. (eds.). The Experience of Learning. Second edition. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press. pp.3-22.

Popovic, C., Green, A. (2012) Understanding Undergraduates. Abingdon: Routledge.