Where are your students?
Rosella D’ALESIO Manager of the Academic success Programme
Lizzy Tanguay, Nicole Chartier, Heidi Yeandle
Can we create an innovative academic literacy framework to engage academics and work collaboratively to develop the academic skills of students and help aspiring students achieve their full potential? When academics think of their most challenging module, do they know where their students are at, where they need to be and how to bridge that gap? Although we can use HE credit level descriptors to map learning outcomes for knowledge content, how can we ensure that students are not only acquiring the knowledge they need but also are able to master and communicate that knowledge in a meaningful way beyond the confines of their academic spaces?
With the many challenges of widening access and achieving excellence, academics and students are under pressure to deliver ever better results and enhance their university’s reputation. However, it is widely acknowledged that there is often a lack of basic academic skills as students enter HE and this, while it is often addressed early on, can lead to students being unable to adequately develop their own voice and while they can progress, they cannot often reach the excellence they and we all aspire to.
By academic lecturers and the Academic success team working together we would be able to pinpoint where students are currently and working out a path forward which moves away from a deficit model of academic skills support. Traditionally, it has been skills and academic socialisation models that have guided curriculum development and instructional practices. However, using an academic literacies approach (Lea and Street, 2010) acknowledging that academic literacy is not just about writing but that different modes of communication play a significant role in different disciplines, the academic success programme have attempted to create a simple tool to benchmark academic study skills in a meaningful way and that recognises that communicating knowledge is linked to power and identity and that enhanced as well as basic academic skills are developed through content in a recurring cycle.
To present an academic literacies framework
– To create an additional tool for academics to use when planning their programmes of study;
– To allow academics to easily match what they need with what we can offer by choosing from a menu of our existing provision to provide embedded or stand alone support within their programme
– To create a tool that can help identify the progression students should attain and with the academic success programme work together to plan effective teaching and learning experiences.
For the academic success programme, to spot gaps in provision by consulting with the academics in the field
– To have a tool that is inclusive.
Ice-breaker activity – participants work in groups to piece together the draft academic literacy framework created by the academic success programme
The academic success programme team introduces the draft framework – why and how it was produced
in groups – identify gaps and improvements
Development ,engagement, enhancement , assessing teaching
Participants will be able to have an additional tool that helps them match their content learning outcomes to skills learning outcomes to ensure that their teaching is effective and meaningful. Both experienced and new teaching staff will benefit from a re-assessment of the academic study skills required from undergraduate to postgraduate level.
In addition, the opportunity to discuss the potential for collaborative work with the academic success programme.