Integrating academic skills in the curriculum: a partnership approach
Supporting our new students to make the transition to higher education, so that they stay with us and succeed beyond their first year, has been a priority focus for the University of Salford over the past 18 months. As an academic skills team, based in the Library, we have carved out an integral role for our service in responding to this challenge. Building on the prior success of a standalone eLearning programme, we have developed an extensive set of eLearning pathways and complementary learning activities designed for academics to easily and flexibly integrate into their course delivery so that every student is connected with the right academic support at the right time. This presentation aimed to share how our active blended learning approach is scalable and allows for local ownership and opportunities for contextualisation by academic colleagues. We explored how we established our role in this strategic project and the value of our partnership working with the academic community and the VLE support team. We hoped to provide helpful examples of how it has worked in practice to support students to learn how to learn at university. Finally, we sought to reflect on the journey so far - acknowledging the bumps and bends in the road - and initiate a discussion about where to go next. The community response to the presentation provided a space for practitioners to reflect on the ways in which e-learning design could facilitate an embedded approach to academic skills at their institutions; it also prompted reflection on the potential for collaboration between learning developers and Faculties. Our final author reflections address some of the questions and challenges raised at the conference, and set out some future aspirations for where this work will go next.
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