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Study Skills Support: Where are we now? What should we aim for? Margaret March The University Library Karen Burton Study Support Service Student Services.

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Presentation on theme: "Study Skills Support: Where are we now? What should we aim for? Margaret March The University Library Karen Burton Study Support Service Student Services."— Presentation transcript:

1 Study Skills Support: Where are we now? What should we aim for? Margaret March The University Library Karen Burton Study Support Service Student Services

2 Created with MindGenius Business 2005® 2 Why this topic? External and Internal drivers: Student/applicant expectations – NUS Improving student experience and success LTA strategy Employability Need to ‘do more’: But what will be most effective and what do students want? No clear overview of our current provision Sense that students and staff unclear about support available or how it can be accessed.

3 Created with MindGenius Business 2005® 3 Study Skills Support – Where are we are now? What should we aim for? Defining ‘study skills’: as ‘study mechanics’ (Carter, 1958 cited in Entwisle, 1960) including information and digital literacy, academic planning, strategies and organisational skills (Cottrell, 2003). Aims of project: Conduct systematic audit of the study skills provision currently offered via faculties and departments (phase 1 - staff survey). Assess our students’ views on current provision and their preferences for future development (phase 2 – student focus groups). Gain a comparative view of ‘good practice’ study skills provision in other HEIs (phase 3- good practice review)

4 Created with MindGenius Business 2005® 4 Study Skills Support – Where are we are now? What should we aim for? Outcomes: To develop an inclusive map of study skills provision that can be shared and publicised across our university, encouraging take-up of existing resources. To recommend and plan further development of study skills provision based on student preferences and examples of good practice.

5 Created with MindGenius Business 2005® 5 Study Skills Support – phase 1 Online survey to assess staff opinion on current provision Methodology Questionnaire distributed to 620 members of staff 122 valid responses (20%) Gathered views on current study skills support and how this might be improved

6 Created with MindGenius Business 2005® 6 Questionnaire – key findings 85% of modules/pathways offer some form of study skills support 85% recommend library info skills and 70% recommend 70% rate current support good or very good Recommendation for increased flexible timing of sessions Increase support for those studying at a distance, part-time etc. Improve publicity and raise awareness

7 Created with MindGenius Business 2005® 7 Questionnaire – themes from the free text comments Improve awareness of what is currently offered Sessions that are embedded are more successful Need for more cohesive, “joined up” consistent support accessible to all

8 Created with MindGenius Business 2005® 8 Study Skills Support – phase 2 Study Skills Support – phase 2 Assessing students’ views and preferences via focus groups Methodology Focus groups held at Chelmsford and Cambridge 6 groups – 32 undergraduate students in total (year groups) Gathered views on current study skills provision and preferences for future development

9 Created with MindGenius Business 2005® 9 Focus groups – key themes Study skills support in programme Study skills support across our university Online study skills support (internal and external resources) Access to support Self-assessment Feedback on current provision

10 Created with MindGenius Business 2005® 10 Focus groups – key findings Students find study support they receive helpful but lack of awareness (what’s on offer and where to go? Lack of clarity about in-programme support) Lecturers are the most effective source of information and communication for study skills support (other communication channels are available!) Timeliness, constancy of access and flexibility

11 Created with MindGenius Business 2005® 11 Focus groups – key findings cont Study Skills VLE would be welcome – well promoted, clearly defined gateway to study skills (‘the place to go’, used consistently for all courses but not replacing face-to-face) Study Skills to include IT support Balance of compulsory and optional study skills elements Build on existing provision that students value (library sessions on referencing, book a librarian, English Language sessions for international students….)

12 Created with MindGenius Business 2005® 12 Study Skills Support – phase 3 Study Skills Support – phase 3 Good practice review Study skills provision on websites of 4 benchmark HEIs University of Essex (Essex) University of East Anglia (UEA) University of East London (UEL) University of Bedfordshire (Beds) Also University of Leeds and University of Loughborough as examples of good practice

13 Created with MindGenius Business 2005® 13 Good practice review- ideas and things to consider Accessibility – Terms that are found when searching Accessible, attractive site with links to all provision Range of online materials (print downloads, video, demonstrations, self-tests, blogs, glossary…) Internally produced resources plus external links Open to all versus password protected? Face-to-face support (via drop-ins, tutorials and workshops) Direct links with employability (Loughborough)? Who provides, who co-ordinates provision?

14 Created with MindGenius Business 2005® 14 Project outcomes – are they achieved? Inclusive map of existing provision? Recommendations for further development?

15 Created with MindGenius Business 2005® 15 Recommendations for further development Increase student and staff awareness. Lecturers as key communication channel; provision to be clearly articulated component of all courses; multiple communication channels and regular/timely reminders Support should be ‘on-demand’, offer flexibility of access and include a range of delivery formats. Access to support when actually needed; face-to-face and online; flexibility in the times including evening provision; ongoing support for all levels; targeted and ‘packaged’ online support via VLE VLE – well promoted, clearly defined Subject/course specific plus general; range of resource type; use of VLE wiki, chat etc IT Support Compulsory and optional elements clearly defined Build on existing provision that is valued


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