First Student Education Conference at the University of Leeds, session abstract (slides available below):

Due to unfamiliar approaches, differing expectations and perplexing uses of language, international students often struggle to negotiate the transition to the requirements of academic discourse at Masters level and may also lack familiarity with critical approaches to study.

As the proportion of international students taking Masters at Leeds increases (44% in 2010), the challenge for staff is to help students gain an understanding of the conventions of academic discourse, threshold concepts which students must to possess to enter the arena where the exchange and creation of knowledge takes place.

This session introduces a suite of workshops developed by Academic Skills Advisers, Faculty Team Librarians and Academics working within the curriculum to embed a critical approach to postgraduate research, reading and writing skills with cohorts of mainly (but not exclusively) international students. Scaffolded tasks apply a model  of critical thinking to subject specific materials, thus enabling international students to gain the academic skills required to reach their full potential.

An Indian student’s comment on an earlier version of these sessions:

Back home, all assessments were blatant copy-paste from website.  Reading literature was unheard of. Referencing was never done. Nobody heard of EndNote, let alone plagiarism. So adapting to a system where quoting three consecutive words without a citation was tantamount to plagiarism was difficult!

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