At an away day prior to our Periodic Review, staff had an opportunity to have some creative dialogue around how we can better support our postgraduate students. This came up as a response from some thought provoking feedback from our current students when asked how we can improve. International students, students with English as an additional language, and particularly part-time students who are in full time employment were the ones we were particularly keen to support in more flexible ways. The part-time students in particular are taught outside of traditional teaching hours and often live at a distance to UoR so it is not easy for these to access library and student study support services. Students new to postgraduate study can often lack confidence in their writing skills, for example, and this group voiced interest in having support mechanisms that were accessible and readily available to them outside of traditional hours.
What’s the solution? Discussions lead us to conclude that we could make better use of Blackboard and Mediasite (this is video capture platform that allows you to view a PowerPoint while simultaneously watching the recorded presentation). Drawing on feedback from students plus ideas based on experience of common issues, staff drew up a list of ideas for short, bespoke video clips. The idea was that these could be included on Blackboard, across all courses, and in a folder special designated ‘study support’. Students can access these whenever they need or refresh their skills at particular times, for example, when writing an assignment. This way the resource is available when students need it, not when we can timetable to deliver it. It is therefore very much a student led resource. All the videos were also transcribed to make them fully accessible to all students.
The videos are short, focused and specially filmed. Here is a flavour of some of the areas we covered:
- APA Referencing
- Using Endnote
- Making a complaint
- Writing a literature review
- Doing a presentation
- Avoiding plagiarism
- Word for academic purposes, plus many more!
Here is a link to an example of one of these (you will need your username and password to login – which is in the top, right hand corner. The videos can be found in the Internal Folder – the Institute of Education – Student Study Support, near the bottom of the list) and if you have any ideas as to what else we could cover (or want to volunteer to do one) we would love to hear from you!