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Thursday 13 July 2017 2:26pm

Wellington’s innovative Study Skills programme team (from left) Emma Osborne (Wellington campus Medical Education Unit), Associate Professor Eileen McKinlay (Department of Primary Healthcare and General Practice, Wellington campus) and Donna Tietjens (Head of Reference Services, Wellington Medical and Health Sciences Library). Absent: Professional Practice Fellow eLearning and Education Advisor Tehmina Gladman and Professional Practice Fellow Research and Teaching Aviation Medicine Kelli Fleming.

For more than a decade the University’s Primary Healthcare and General Practice (PHC & GP) Department at the Wellington campus has held biannual onsite Study Skills weekends for distance taught postgraduate students. However, a decline in numbers of students attending the study weekends called for innovative changes.

Now a multi-skilled team of Wellington staff from different departments have worked together to produce a fantastic new Study Skills programme that distance taught postgraduate students are benefitting from. Although the project has meant a heavy time commitment for Wellington staff providing the Zoom sessions, postgraduate students say they appreciate the personalised, tailored and timely approach to Study Skills support.

“I wish these (Zoom sessions) had been available when I started!” one student commented.

Associate Professor Eileen McKinlay from the PHC & GP Department got together with Kelli Fleming from Aviation Medicine, Donna Tietjens from the Medical & Health Sciences Library, and Emma Osbourne and Tehmina Gladman from the Education Unit and launched two new initiatives to support postgraduate students.

Combining their different skills with technology, they came up with the new programme.

"This form of responsive support to distance taught postgraduate students using a combination of personalised support and technology is an example for the other Otago campuses to follow."

Together the team has established a series of after-hours (8pm to9pm) Study Skills Zoom sessions to provide ‘face-to-face’ guidance to any Wellington postgraduate students (PHC & GP/Travel Medicine, Aviation Medicine, Rehabilitation Teaching & Research Unit and Public Health) about researching and writing. Up to 20 students have attended each time and recordings have been posted on the programme’s online learning platforms.

“In semester one, the Zoom sessions were held monthly but students requested that in semester two we run these almost every week from semester-start so students are fully prepared for their first essay,” Associate Professor Eileen McKinlay says.

Another student commented: “Although I’ve got a long way to go to feeling comfortable using these skills, it gives one a great feeling of support by having these sessions.”

Topics include:

  • An introduction to study skills at UOW
  • The well-structured essay
  • Skills for paraphrasing
  • Referencing

They have also launched a dedicated Study Skills Blackboard ‘GENA700’ modelled on Embark Otago, developed for the Aviation Medicine postgraduate programme on Moodle by Kelli Fleming.

All PHC & GP’s postgraduate students are automatically enrolled into the GENA700 Blackboard.

Donna, Emma and Tehmina have contributed a wide range of Study Skills resource material and there are practice quizzes and demos of SafeAssignment and eReserve library for students to try out.

“This form of responsive support to distance taught postgraduate students using a combination of personalised support and technology is an example for the other Otago campuses to follow,” Associate Professor McKinlay says.

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