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Academic and Study Skills

Academic and Study Skills

Working in partnership between the Writing Development Centre and academic colleagues to provide support for education with academic literacies and study skills

Academic Literacies and Study Skills Development

The Writing Development Centre (WDC) is committed to developing our students’ academic literacies and study skills in partnership with academic staff. Its small team of tutors can collaborate with you and your students to help them develop their understanding of the expectations and demands of studying and writing for assessment, appropriate to their discipline and level of study.

The Writing Development Centre’s remit

The Writing Development Centre supports all aspects of writing for assessment at Newcastle University, including:

  • understanding assignment types, questions, instructions and marking criteria (including unusual assignment types)
  • planning and structuring writing (incl. paragraphing)
  • academic writing style
  • integrating scholarship and good academic practice (citation, paraphrase, quotation etc)

We also support a wider range of core academic skills, including:

  • critical thinking, critiquing and reviewing literature
  • note-taking from lectures and reading
  • understanding and using feedback to improve your work
  • managing time, work and writing (incl. writers block and procrastination)
  • exams and revision
  • managing research projects, dissertations and theses
  • presentations and posters
  • learning effectively in lectures, seminars, classes, labs etc

What the WDC will do:

  • Liaise with you to understand the academic skills development needs of your curriculum and your students.
  • Help you identify and understand and address students’ academic skills issues, and to embed study skills development throughout module and assessment design.
  • Design and deliver teaching which is embedded in the curriculum, tailored to the discipline and pitched appropriately to the stage of your students.
  • Co-develop and co-teach sessions with you.
  • Advise on how best to focus, time and promote our support so students get the maximum benefit
  • Provide materials and activities to use either in your own teaching or to support feedback.
  • Provide teaching and promotional materials for dissemination to students
  • Review sessions each year to continually improve them in conjunction with feedback from you and your students

What academic staff can do:

  • Working in partnership with academic staff helps us to offer relevant and timely skills teaching:
    • Engage us in early dialogue to plan ahead for teaching and ensure our availability before timetabling a session.
    • Discuss with us the context of the session, where it sits in the programme/module/curriculum, when and how it is linked to assessment or learning outcomes
    • Help us understand and target student learning needs by discussing with us any issues commonly arising in your assessment, or feedback from students.
    • Work with us to embed a session at the optimal point in the module so that students can reflect on and put guidance into practice in a timely way in the context of their current work.
    • Provide samples of authentic text to enable us to tailor workshop materials to the discipline and level.
    • Provide us with feedback on the impact of WDC education materials on your students, enabling us to improve and refine our offer.

What students can do:

  • Work in partnership with us to take responsibility for your learning:
    • Participate fully in sessions, offering input and asking questions.
    • Decide how to make the best use of the sources of help available to you for your needs, whether in person or online.
    • Provide us with feedback on WDC teaching provision, enabling us to improve and refine our offer to you and other students.

We would be happy to meet with you to discuss your students’ academic skills development further.

Please contact for all enquiries including workshop bookings (teaching is negotiated centrally with the service rather than with individual tutors). The scheduling of teaching is dependent on resourcing and availability; due to high demand for workshops and our other activities such as the one to one service, we may not be able to accommodate all requests. We aim to prioritise sessions which are fully embedded in modules.