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The development of a research and writing support site for students

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Most postgraduate students will have developed research and writing skills while undertaking their undergraduate degree, yet many still find it challenging to meet the expected high standards of independent research and thesis writing. In this video, Michelle describes a project undertaken by Student Learning Support and the School of Psychological Sciences to support students in the Master of Psychology (Clinical) at ACAP, and supported by a Learning and Teaching Grant.
The project involved creating a research and writing support site covering topics such as Developing Your Research Proposal, Writing Your Literature Review, and Publishing and Presenting Your Research. Michelle discusses how the team developed the site to complement existing support, showcase some of the resources, and explain how the effectiveness of the project will be measured.

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The development of a research and writing support site for students

  1. 1. Research and writing support for postgraduate students Michelle Cavaleri Manager, English Language Proficiency and Team Leader, Student Learning Support, NPI
  2. 2. “Most postgraduate students will have developed research and writing skills while undertaking their undergraduate degree, yet many still find it challenging to meet the expected high standards of independent research and thesis writing. “
  3. 3. Key issues Issue 1 PG students come from diverse educational, professional and cultural backgrounds with varying levels of understanding about and may have the standards and requirements of PG study. Issue 2 PG students need to develop new skills associated with the comprehension of a large volume of information, critical analysis and proficient academic writing style. Issue 3 PG students often experience isolation, both socially and academically, as they undertake independent research. (O’Mahony et al., 2013))
  4. 4. The aims of the site 1. To support student development of key academic skills to enhance achievement and promote quality research theses and presentations. 2. To ensure consistency of support and shared understandings about requirements and standards. 3. To create a learning community and encourage discussion and support among research students.
  5. 5. Online approaches to academic skills support ◎ Available 24/7 to all students at their point of need and can be used many times over for reference and reinforcement ◎ Encourages personal responsibility for skill development ◎ Reaches more students that face-to-face models ◎ Exploits the potential of new technologies to offer interactive, connected and multimedia learning objects ◎ Minimises the stress and ‘bottlenecks’ of requests for support at peak times ◎ Helps provide consistent messages, shared understandings and equitable support for all students (Chanock, 2013; Gunn et al., 2011)
  6. 6. Development of the site SLS and SoPS staff discussed content and approach Exisitng resources and key issues collected from SoPS staff Content written and recorded
  7. 7. Place your screenshot here Let’s take a look! https://my.navitas-professional.edu.au/classes/course/view.php?id=4129
  8. 8. Self-paced modules ◎ Developing your research proposal ◎ Searching the literature ◎ Writing your literature review ◎ Working with your supervisor ◎ Writing your manuscript ◎ Refining your writing ◎ Presenting your research Each ‘module’ contains downloadable resources, useful links and engaging videos.
  9. 9. Pedagogical and design principles ◎ Contextualised resources that align with existing support and guidelines ◎ Scaffolded activities and exercises that offer practial guidance and strategies ◎ Model texts that explicitly analyse key features of structure and language and examples of what acceptable student writing might look like (Kokkin & Mahar, 2011) ◎ Audio-visual information to facilitate deeper learning (Clark & Mayer, 2008) ◎ A ‘social presence’ so that the students experience real people online (Chanock, 2013) ◎ Limited amount of information on each page to minimise the amount of scrolling
  10. 10. Evaluation of the site Feedback from students Feedback from staff Usage data from Moodle
  11. 11. 279 hits since the site went live on October 30 ‘Identifying a possible research project’ is the most clicked page with 17 hits 15 students have accessed the site out of 23 enrolled in the page
  12. 12. Most clicked pages Page Hits Identifying a possible research project 17 Developing your research proposal 16 Conducting a preliminary review of the literature 12 Understanding supervision: Roles and responsibilities 10 Working with your supervisor 10
  13. 13. Thanks! ANY QUESTIONS? Find me on Yammer or email me: Michelle.Cavaleri@navitas.com
  14. 14. References Chanock, K. (2013). Teaching subject literacies through blended learning: Reflections on a collaboration between academic learning staff and teachers in the disciplines. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 7(2), A106-A119. Clark, R. & Mayer, R. (2008). E-Learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning (2nd Ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer. Gunn, C., Hearne, S., & Sibthorpe, J. (2011). Right from the start: A rationale for embedding academic literacy skills in university courses. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 8(1), 1-10. Kokkinn, B. A., & Mahar, C. (2011). Partnerships for student success: Integrated development of academic and information literacies across disciplines. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 5(2), A118-A130. O’Mahony, B., Verezub, E., Dalrymple, J., & Bertone, S. (2013). An evaluation of research students’ writing support intervention. Journal of International Education in Business, 6(1), 22-34. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/18363261311314935 Special thanks to the people who made and released this PowerPoint template for free – it’s much better than anything I could’ve come up with: ◎ Presentation template by SlidesCarnival ◎ Photographs by Unsplash & Death to the Stock Photo (license) ◎ Dark wood background by The pattern library

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