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Academic Skills Team: A guide for staff

Before new students arrive

The impact of the pandemic means that most students have followed an irregular path to arrive at University and as a result their research and academic skills might be a little rusty. This, rather than passion for their subject, can cause students to feel anxious about their studies.

Before you meet your students in person you might want to recommend the University’s Skills Bridge programme designed to support student transitioning to University. This will be advertised to new students early in August. From the beginning of August students can start to look at our “Get ready” web pages. 

In September they have the opportunity to join in person sessions where they can find out about digital skills, becoming independent learners, the language and terminology used at University and the peer mentoring scheme. Details about how to book onto this programme will be sent out by Marketing and Communications directly to the students.  

On arrival

When you first meet your personal tutees, highlight the resources available throughout their learning journey from the Library and Academic Skills team.

Please direct them to; 

  • The Confidence Checker- produced in house by the Library and Academic Skills team, this software allows students to check their current levels of confidence with various academic skills such as academic writing, referencing and researching. 
    It requires no university passwords and so can be used prior to formal registration. It gives links to resources which can help to improve any areas identified as being potentially problematic. 
  • Skills for Study- this software is produced by Bloomsbury and can be used in the context of a module (links are already automatically integrated via the Blackboard template) or you can suggest it and use it with individual students in your academic mentor meetings. Students can audit their skills in relation to different academic skills and then follow a self- paced programme using the learning directions suggested by the Bloomsbury package. This software require that students already have a University username and password. 

Please note regarding the use of these 2 resources; the generic Confidence Checker tool is intended as a quick self-assessment tool but it is possible to use Skills For Study in a much more integrated and in depth way, especially since it is now included by default in Blackboard. It is likely that you may want to use Skills for Study in the context of the Get Ahead programme.  

Be sure to make them aware of their subject guide

Subject guides are the first port of call for students and offer useful information tailored to subjects. Encourage your students to access their guides and bookmark these for easy access.  You could also add links to the relevant guide in Blackboard.

During the Welcome period

In September

The Library and Academic Skills (LAS) team offers a range of ways for your students to become familiar with the resources available to them and to get to know the people in the LAS team who can best support their subject area. Initial induction can include a visit to the physical library as well as a brief induction talk to demonstrate the use of the library and its services. 

In addition to an actual visit, please get in touch with the colleagues supporting your departmental area to discuss which approach fits in best with your planned induction timetable. Find out more about taught sessions on offer and see who is your contact at Meet the team

Before November

Please remember that, as a module or course leader, you need to ensure that you have booked both induction as described above and a longer more detailed Library and Academic Skills Essentials taught session for your new students. 

If there are number of tutors supporting a course, please don’t assume someone else has booked these important sessions; if you can, work together with colleagues and make sure that the students get the essential knowledge they need. A longer session might well be best placed just before the first piece of formative or summative work is set so that it can be fresh in students’ minds and can be tailored to support the particular assignment being set. It will cover far more than a basic familiarity with our LLS services. The Library and Academic Skills team can provide these sessions in a range of different formats to suit your course. 

Similar sessions can support your level 5 and level 6 students at advanced and guru levels.

Throughout the learning journey

Please recommend these two support options to all your students.

  • The Library and Academic Skills Pathway- this is a series of open access webpages which students can use in a self-paced way to find out about the skills they need to develop as they progress through their entire 3 or 4 year learning journey. 
  • Library and Academic Skills Workshop Programme- students can join a range of different online workshops to gain knowledge about a wide range of academic skills. Workshops run throughout the year and can be independently booked by students to fit in with their own timetable and commitments. 

Library Tours

During Welcome Week, the Library Team will be running 30-minute introductory tours to Staffordshire University Library. 

At these sessions, our new students will gain confidence in the basics of navigating the library and accessing the help and study support available.

The tours will run in Library Core from Monday 25 September to Wednesday 27 September. 
On Monday 25 and Tuesday 26 tours operate from 1200-1500 every half hour.
On Wednesday 27 tours operate  from 1030 to 1500 every half hour.
Library CHI has tours operating every half on Thursday 28 September 1030-1500.

Beyond Welcome Week on Wednesday 5 October there will be tours in Library Core every half hour 1200-1500.
If you need a tour for a group of students at other times please contact your subject librarian.

Please can you encourage students to come along or bring them. They will learn library essentials such as - 

  • Using their subject page
  •  Finding a book
  • Library locations
  • Study spaces
  • Accessing Library and Study Skills support
  • Getting help from Student Connect and Beacon. 

You can also arrange bespoke tours/induction sessions directly with your subject librarian