Academic skills development

ADMINISTRATION    LEARNING & TEACHING   SUPPORT
(Not relevant to this topic)     Developing skills in the UoS    University resources
        Resources outside the University


Introducing students to academic skills

Students are introduced to learning strategies, critical thinking skills, and plagiarism in Orientation week through a series of lectures in the Learning to Learn program.

However, this is just the beginning of their academic skills development, and it is vital that first year units of study (UoS) foster and develop the skills students will need to progress over the course of their degree.

Teaching students how to write good academic prose (grammar and structure) and obey the norms of scholarly discourse (eg acknowledging sources), while you are teaching and assisting self-directed learning can involve a lot of work.

The good news is that there are a number of resources to help you get students to the level of skill they need to complete assessment tasks confidently and effectively.


Developing academic skills through your unit of study

Academic skills development

Use your UoS outline to describe the skills students can expect to acquire during the course, and also to provide links to the resources mentioned below.

Early intervention is important. Design your UoS with assessment tasks early in the semester that will help you to identify students who may be struggling.

Your sessional staff can be a good source of information about how individual students are progressing, particularly if you are teaching large classes. However, be aware that once a tutorial has more than16 students it can be difficult for all students to participate in the class and thus hard to observe individual students’ capacities. If you have large tutorial classes you will need to work with sessional staff to develop methods to address this issue. See Teaching large classes.

During the course of the semester you will also advise & counsel individual students on their academic progress within your UoS. On these occasions, if the student is struggling you may recommend that they undertake specific courses through the Learning Centre or do online tutorials to help develop their skills. See below for more information.


University resources for developing students’ academic skills

Make sure your students are aware of the University’s resources which are designed to develop their graduate attributes. These include:


Other resources outside the University of Sydney

Griffith University has compiled a series of toolkits, designed to help staff to develop graduate attributes in their students. You will find links to each toolkit in the list of graduate attributes. Toolkit topics include effective communication, critical judgement, and community engagement. In compiling these toolkits they have utilized existing literature & current practice in universities around the world.

The University of Western Sydney has created Learning guides to make it clear to students what they will learn in a unit and how they will be assessed. The toolkit for Learning Guides on this resources page explains how teachers can support students in developing academic skills.

The Monash University Language & Learning Online site includes tutorials and exercise to help students improve their academic performance.