How we can help

The Learning Centre works collaboratively with staff across a range of faculties and year levels to support you in meeting the needs of your students.

We can provide tailored workshops for your students and integrated skills sessions to complement your units of study. Tailored workshops can run outside the regular class time or in semester breaks.

We also offer diagnostic assessment services so that you can identify the specific needs of a cohort of students. Learning Centre has devised a well-respected diagnostic instrument to measure students’ academic language skills, which is widely used across Australian universities (MASUS: Measuring Academic Skills of University Students). MASUS is particularly valuable for supporting students from non-English speaking backgrounds in meeting the challenges of coursework and research.

To find out more about how the Learning Centre can support your students see the information below or telephone Dr Bronwyn James, Head, Learning Centre, on 93513853.

Measuring the Academic Skills of University Students - The MASUS Procedure

Bonanno, H. & Jones, J. (Revised edition 2007)
The MASUS Procedure (download as PDF)

This resource package has been designed to assist university teachers in academic departments and learning centres in establishing a literacy profile of their students. It describes the background and development of a diagnostic assessment procedure to measure students' literacy skills shortly after entry to university, and provides guidelines on the design of the assessment task and use of the assessment criteria.

The revised edition includes new material on recent case studies using the MASUS procedure in both undergraduate and postgraduate courses and an update on MASUS related research.

Integrating skills

We can work with you during a semester, or longer, to integrate the relevant academic writing or other skills which students need for your discipline into your curriculum. We can work with you to identify the skill level of your students and any needs for writing skills support.

Learning Centre staff can collaborate with faculty staff to identify needs and design plans for students within regular teaching and curriculum, either within individual units of study, across year levels or across courses.

Recent examples:

  • Foundational first year postgraduate Law: Academic writing for Law, using readings and model student writing from the unit of study.
  • First year Engineering: Support for skills for report-writing, plus additional writing skills support for students who need it.
  • First year Social Pharmacy: 4 lectures on academic writing in Pharmacy.

Research & Project Collaboration

The Learning Centre collaborates with individuals and groups within faculties on research projects and teaching and learning development projects.

We can contribute teaching and learning expertise in the areas of pedagogic design, production of written and online learning resources, academic genres and applied linguistics to enhance learning outcomes for students.

We collaborate on ALTC-funded grants, small and large TIES and Carrick funding.

Recent examples

  • The award-winning WRISE site (Writing a Report in Sciences and Engineering), highly commended in the Australasian Engineering Education Excellence Awards 2010 – a collaboration between the Learning Centres and Faculties of Engineering at the University of Sydney and the University of NSW, funded by the ALTC.
  • Online Writing Centre for Undergraduate Engineering Students: a One Stop Shop – an ALTC funded collaboration with the University of NSW to develop materials to support student writing through peer feedback and scaffolding and a semi-automated diagnostic tool.
  • TIPS-funded project to examine the use of standards-based assessment in studio teaching in the Faculty of Architecture, Design & Planning and the Faculty of Engineering & Information Technologies.