What are academic skills?
We define academic skills as:
'aspects of behaviour learned by students while studying at Cardiff Metropolitan University that are required to operate successfully at the level of higher education; practising these skills leads to the development of graduate attributes, such as problem solving and analytical ability, effective communication, and creativity and innovation. Academic skills are made up of core skills, such as academic writing, presentation skills and referencing, which underpin more complex skills, such as critical thinking and reflective practice' (Academic Skills Specialists, 2013).
Thus, we recognise the importance of academic skills not only in achieving success on your programme of study but also after you leave Cardiff Met, as you look for employment as a graduate. Developing and practising these skills while you are studying will therefore better equip you for the workplace.
The core skills referred to in the definition include:
Writing (or written communication)
Presenting (or spoken communication)
These core skills underpin more complex skills, which are often more difficult to develop; they include:
Producing dissertations and longer pieces of work
Much of our work is focused on behaviour: you might be used to using Google to look for information to use in your assessed work, for example; but we can show you how to search more effectively using the University's electronic resources, in addition to using the advanced search feature on Google. Or, you might have been taking notes in a certain way, for example, throughout your time at school or college, but there might be a more efficient and effective way of creating notes you hadn't considered that we can talk you through.
What do we do?
As Academic Skills Specialists, our role is focused on providing and enhancing provision in this area across all of Cardiff Met's five schools. In addition to maintaining the web site pages you are currently viewing, we work closely with other members of staff in devising teaching or learning activities in this area. We provide one-off sessions on individual skills, as and when requested to do so, modules focused more broadly on academic practice, and, more commonly, units of teaching sessions within programmes, often with related assessments.
Our expertise comes from many years' experience of teaching in higher education, not only in the field of academic skills, but also in discipline-specific contexts.
How can we help?
If you are a student looking for some guidance on developing your academic skills, a good start would be to look at the information on our web pages. Each principal skill has its own page and you will find a defintion, learning resources, and further reading for each one. You are also able to get some of our expert feedback on a sample of your writing. For more information about this, please see the relevant page in the menu
For members of staff, we can help you enhance existing provision by incorporating academic skills teaching and learning activities. Whether you would prefer face-to-face teaching, blended learning materials, or pure e-learning, we can devise contextualised learning and teaching that will enrich your students' learning experience.