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NES2504 : Academic and Employability Skills

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jane Delany
  • Lecturer: Dr Jessica Jung, Miss Caroline Crow, Dr Sara Marsham
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


To further develop literature skills, including critical evaluation of the literature.

To offer students the opportunity to undertake subject-specific work-related learning in a professional work environment. Students will liaise with potential employers to proactively develop their employability skills and contribute to the ethos of the host organisation. The ability of students to critically reflect on their personal skills development and apply this to other learning activities will be enhanced. Their capacity to evaluate their role within the organisation and responses to work-related issues will also be developed.

To further develop research skills, including GIS

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will build upon the fundamental academic and professional skills developed in NES1504 and introduce students to more advanced and a progression of skills development. The module will use a series of lectures, practical workshops and tutorials to deliver material in a cohesive way. Key topics to be covered included:

• Library Project including using scientific databases; evaluating sources; critically
reviewing literature
• Placement preparation and completion, including writing CVs and covering letters, interview
techniques, using social media for employability, reflective thinking, using NUReflect,
Marine Science graduate destinations
• General academic skills such as engaging with marking criteria, planning Stage 3 Research Projects
• Introduction to Geographical Information Systems

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture32:006:00Training materials to support skill development
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture41:306:00Training materials to support skill development
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00Training materials to support skill development
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:302:30Preparation for oral presentation
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials41:004:00External Guest speakers
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion114:0014:00Completion of summative coursework essay
Placement/Study AbroadEmployer-based learning135:0035:00Undertaking placement
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion115:0015:00Completion of reflective log
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading14:004:00Reading scientific material for essays
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities11:001:00NUReflect workshop 1
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching13:003:00Assessed oral presentation tutorial, including 15 minute presentation - Sem 2
Guided Independent StudySkills practice15:005:00Critical evaluation of journal papers
Guided Independent StudySkills practice14:004:00Preparation of placement plan
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00Tutorials - sem 2
Guided Independent StudySkills practice25:0010:00Preparation of formative essays
Guided Independent StudySkills practice15:005:00Preparation of formative essays
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00Tutorials - sem 1
Guided Independent StudySkills practice13:003:00Preparation of CV and covering letter
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities11:301:30Workshop Critical thinking and timed essay
Guided Independent StudySkills practice13:003:00Preparation of placement plan
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities12:002:00Workshop Introduction to library project
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00Project Supervisor workshop sem 2
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion61:006:00External guest speakers
Guided Independent StudyProject work18:008:00Formative project proposal preparation, including GANTT chart and risk assessments
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops42:008:00Library Project and Writing Development Centre workshops running across Sem 1 and 2
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops42:008:00Research skills workshops to support Stage 3 project preparation
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity60:303:00Development of NUReflect
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery61:006:00Drop-in clinics to support module (sem 1 & 2)
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures and practicals are designed to provide training to support students in developing the skills required to critically evaluate the scientific literature; and approach and undertake a work-related learning placement. Students will be introduced to theories relating to personal and professional development and how to interact with providers outside of the University environment. The formal sessions are also used to introduce students to the assessment criteria and help them prepare for both the formative and summative assessments.

The NUReflect tool will be introduced and students will be encouraged to regularly update their profile and use the framework to support on-going management of the placement and reflection of the experience.

The subject-specific work-related learning placements are sourced by the teaching team and advertised to students, though students are required to initiate contact and determine the application process with the individual provider. Local providers are chosen to provide a range of opportunities and experience relevant to work in the marine science/biology sector, though students will be able to engage with relevant providers outside of the local area if appropriate. Practical activity in the form of a subject-specific placement provides students with a context within which they are supported to accomplish applied learning and development through reflection and critical analysis.

Self-directed learning resources are provided throughout the module to introduce students to the relevant literature and allow them to make links between their practical experiences and the knowledge and skills developed through attending the lectures, tutorials and the placement.

The module is based on transferable employability and academic skills and students will achieve the learning outcomes through full engagement with the opportunities provided by the subject-specific work-related learning placement.

Tutorial sessions will allow students to meet with their Tutor in small groups to further enhance key skills and concepts developed in taught practical sessions and during independent study. Drop-in clinics will allow students to receive one-on-one support for any aspect of the module.

The independent project proposal allows the student to demonstrate their planning and organisational skills (including a GANTT chart to make clearly the programme of research).

Directed research and reading will support the information received through formal practicals and tutorials by guided independent study using primary literature and key texts. Students will be encouraged to become more independent in their learning at this stage in their programmes to develop key skills such as Active Learning, Goal Setting and Action Planning, Decision Making, and Initiative, which they will require at Levels 6.

Assessment preparation and completion will allow students to fully prepare for their formative and summative coursework. They will have the opportunity to consolidate and build upon knowledge gained in the taught sessions.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M50Library Project Essay 1,500 words
Reflective log2M30Reflective Log 1,000 words
Prof skill assessmnt2M2015 minute oral presentation linked to Library Project essay
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MTwo page CV and one page Covering Letter to apply for placement through Careers Service CV checker
Written exercise2MPlacement Plan in format of SMART targets
Essay1MFormative essay 1,000 words
Essay2MFormative essay 1,000 words
Research proposal2MTwo page Research Project proposal for Stage 3
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students will be expected to undertake formative assessment to develop their CV and covering letter writing skills with feedback from the teaching team. These documents will be submitted to the work-related learning provider to present students with experience of an application process.

The work placement plan will be discussed and developed with the teaching team and placement supervisor to support students in developing timely and deliverable objectives to be undertaken during the placement and to help the take responsibility for their role during the placement. The work placement plan will be reviewed during semester two to help students reflect upon and evaluate their progress against the stated outcomes. Students will be able to incorporate feedback from this into their reflective log.

Upon completion of the subject-specific work-related learning placement students are expected to complete a written reflective assessment of their experience. To complete this, students are expected to maintain a formative reflective record throughout the module using the NUReflect tool. The written assessment will allow students to present and discuss their personal and professional learning and development in relation to the Graduate Framework and will incorporate relevant literature on personal development.

The Library Project essays will combine both summative and formative assessment. In semester 1 students will undertake formative exercises to allow them to develop their critical evaluation skills. Students will submit two short essays on the same question, with each essay covering different aspects of essay writing. This will lead on from the summative essay assessment in NES1504 Academic and Professional Skills for the Biosciences. Upon completion of the formative essays in semester 1, students will choose their own Library Project topic and produce an essay plan to be discussed with their Tutor. Students will receive formative feedback on their essay plan to allow them to develop a suitable structure and content for the summatively assessed essay. Students will then complete the summatively assessed essay using skills from the formative assessment.

The oral presentation requires students to summarise their summative Library Project essay. Students will give an overview of their topic and present current knowledge of the area in relation to the primary scientific literature. Their use of visual aids, the structure of the presentation, the level of scientific information, and their presentation style will be assessed.

This is a very skill driven module with the need for continued hands-on experience of designing experiments, manipulating data sets and choosing and using the appropriate statistical tests for data analysis. Formative PC and worksheet based assessments will provide students with the opportunity to develop and use new found skills. The summative PC test will test student’s ability to retain key information and apply it appropriately to new situations.

Reading Lists