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Annual report 2018-19

Outstanding student opportunities for skills development

Our academic skills support is sector-leading and demand for our workshops, in-curriculum teaching and one-to-one appointments is growing. We work collaboratively and constructively with university colleagues to create holistic opportunities for students to develop their skills for study, personal development and onwards into employment. Our online resources are recognised for their excellence.

Close collaboration with the Language Centre joins up the student experience

A new set of academic language workshops is now delivered through our successful Skills@Library workshop programme.

Joined-up provision

Our Learning Services team now collaborate with the Language Centre to provide supplementary academic language support that is inclusive for all taught students. Over 1,100 students attended our academic language workshops in 2018/19; 21% of attendees were home students.

Both services offer one-to-one appointments and sometimes students struggled to identify which service they should attend for support. We worked together to create one point of entry for students wanting 1-2-1 support.

Embedding good practice

In addition to the new workshops, we worked with the Language Centre colleagues to revise all our academic skills workshops. This improved consistency as well as including academic language learning points throughout our programme. Sharing our knowledge has given us a greater appreciation of each other’s contribution to academic literacies development. Our next step is to collaborate more on our support for teaching in the curriculum.

Students hone their skills in sentence construction, grammar and vocabulary development in participatory and interactive sessions. 

Maddy Mossman, Learning Services Manager

Adding Statistics to Mathematics equals full support

In April 2019 we launched a new Statistics service to complete our Maths provision. The new Maths and Statistics Service is available for all taught students through one-to-one appointments and drop-in sessions. Over 200 students accessed the service over the summer vacation, demonstrating the high demand for statistics support from taught postgraduate students.

Critical Thinking MOOC in the Top 100

This year we launched our “Critical Thinking at University: an Introduction” MOOC on the FutureLearn platform. Over 11,000 learners have engaged with the resource since its launch in November 2018. It is a valuable addition to our Skills@Library provision of academic skills and information literacy support.

The resource was ranked as one of the “Top 100 Free Online courses and MOOCs of All Time” by Class Central users. This ranking is based on thousands of reviews by student users from around the world. It was also nominated for the national Digital Award for Information Literacy 2019.

Created by our Learning Services Team in collaboration with the Digital Educational Service, it is aimed at first year undergraduate and international taught postgraduate students. It is designed to give a common understanding of what thinking critically means at a university level, and to offer practical strategies to help develop relevant skills.

We use a blended learning approach with academic colleagues to embed the course materials into different disciplinary contexts. For example, Transport Studies, Sociology & Social Policy and Education now ask their Masters students to complete the MOOC, and we plan to embed related workshops into the curriculum.

Jiani Liu, Learning Advisor