Tuesday, January 17, 2017

TRIAL: Skills4Study

University of Liverpool staff and students have trial access to Skills4Study until 16th February 2017.  Take a look at this resources, and let us know what you think.

Access: Skills4Study
(Login required off campus)

The first time you access Skills4Study you need to register for a personal account.  On the Skills4Study login page, the link to register is under the login box, marked “First time accessing the resource?”

Skills4Study Campus is an interactive resource for developing student study skills. Topics include critical thinking, reading and note taking, time management and many more

Click here to watch a short introductory video about Skills4Study.

After trying Skills4Study, please leave your comments below. You can choose the anonymous option to comment without needing to have a Blogger account, but it helps if you include your name in your feedback so that we can follow up on comments. Do get in touch, we really want to know what you think about this resource.

5 comments:

Josephine said...

I believe this is a really good and helpful resource. I went through the different sections briefly. Firstly, on the home page section, there's a section which says 'link to institutions'; there are currently no links to said institutions, that could be included. Also, I found the font size a bit too small, probably it could be increased?

Nonetheless, I particularly found the 'more resources' section useful. I also liked the fact the journal was interactive and notes could be made while going through the different sections. Another good thing about this resource is the option given to download notes/materials. I believe students will find that useful if studying offline.

Overall, I believe it will be useful, nevertheless, there is a need to be cautious so as not to duplicate but rather complement similar resources offered by different universities.

Sophie said...

I think that this is a really useful resource for students. I looked at all sections briefly, but mainly those relating to note-taking, critical thinking and writing.

I particularly like the interactive element - students can complete tasks partway through the module, complete practice activities and end of module assessments. This helps break up some long sections of texts (some modules are 15 pages long!)

I also felt that that journal was a really useful idea for self-reflection. Students can log how they feel about particular elements of study, save their results, and then reflect on their progress at a later date.

Rob said...

Like the other two commentators, I like the interactive element of the programme. In particular, the presence of a diagnostic test and journal function both provide a useful opportunity for reflection. Although this process will make it more time consuming for (already extremely busy) students, I think that this sort of engagement is very important. If students have the opportunity for this sort of reflection in their own time/on their own terms (which, as an online resource, this facilitates), this resource could prove very useful. The tasks are also really useful. If anything, I'd like to see more of them!

I do, however, have some reservations about its usefulness above and beyond other resources available both from the University and elsewhere. Here are two: Some of the guidance in the 'Writing Skills' section, in particular, was very general and lightweight. I worry that they might do little to actually help students to either develop their own writing skills or make them sufficiently aware of precisely what they need to do to improve. Secondly, some of the tasks/terminology in the 'Critical Thinking' section are either imprecise or false in a manner that doesn't sit well with the stated goals of the section (i.e. improved precision/sharper analyses). For instance, on page 8 'assumptions' and 'premises' are conflated. The task also runs together arguments and premises in an unhelpful manner whereby soundness is associated only with the 'truth' of individual premises rather than the relationship between premises and conclusion (despite the fact that some of the task also implicitly focuses on strength of support premises are able to provide). Thus, the task unhelpfully runs together 2 different (although not unrelated) skills.

Asami said...

I had an overall impression that this website will be useful for students to understand what they are expected to learn in their degree. I have looked into the website, and particularly focused on critical thinking, reading effectively, writing etc. (I don't remember all the module titles; after about 40 mins suddenly my browser refused to show the website again...I've tried other browsers but to no avail. I reckon my access is somehow denied right now).

I particularly like the fact that each page contains an audio recording of the text. Videos come with subtitles too. I'd imagine this should be quite useful for ESL students and students with learning difficulties.

Contents such as "My Journal" and "Practice Activity" look helpful for facilitating experiential learning. However, I still think there is too much prescriptive text explaining what students should do; as this is an online resource, it could be more visual-audio oriented (also I felt like there are too many pages in each section of a module). For this perhaps there could be more illustrations of ideas (diagrams, mind maps etc.) and more videos or podcasts. If they are printable/ downloadable that would be convenient too.

But I do think that this website is very interactive and it should be more effective than just giving students pdfs/slides. As a result it could motivate wider range of students and let them actually gain necessary skills, which is I believe difficult to achieve by only telling them to read a guide book.

Mohamed M. Hammad said...

The Skills4Study e-learning resource seems to be quite useful and beneficial. The website includes links to a number of modules that are intended to provide students with personal, academic, and career development skills. What I actually do like about this learning resource is that the website is quite user-friendly. All links and modules are easily accessible, and each module provides practical exercises and activities. The inclusion of real-life examples in module subsections adds more depth to the content.

The idea of dividing each module into subsections and the inclusion of a self-assessment checklist at the end of each subsection is brilliant. This tends to help students focus on developing module-specific skills and monitor their progress in developing relevant skills.

I spent most of the time looking at the content provided in the "Developing Writing Skills" module. The topics are very well structured, follow a logical order, and are easy to comprehend. It's also interesting that every single page on the website includes an audio link that would read the text on the page.

Further development to the resource is suggested as follows. I think that more visual (video) teaching content should be incorporated into the modules along with the text readings. The inclusion of other teaching media is likely to facilitate the student learning experience, and also accounts for students who rely heavily on visuals in their education. Also, browsing tends to be slow and links wouldn't open immediately. However, I fully understand this might be related to the fact that Skills4Study is still on trial.

Overall, I believe the launching of the website is likely to create value for students, help them develop and improve necessary skills, and give them the opportunity to reflect on their learning experience and include their thoughts in the "My Journal" box.