Postgraduate Essentials: An online transition program for commencing PhD students

Postgraduate Essentials is the first online interactive course in Australia designed to build an inclusive postgraduate learning community while delivering integrated candidature information, transition advice and academic skills support to students in their first year of PhD candidature. In content and focus, Postgraduate Essentials aims to complement and enhance traditional research supervision to ensure that an increasingly diverse student population has access to information, skills support and an active peer-network. It does this by facilitating new PhD students’ transition to a research environment and their membership of the postgraduate student community, and by providing support to develop the academic and professional skills that underpin successful completion of common first year PhD requirements. This paper reflects on the experiences of the Language and Academic Skills (LAS) advisers on the Postgraduate Essentials project team, and on students’ participation in and evaluations of the program in 2004. We focus on the unexpectedly high enrolment of on-campus students who already have access to face-to-face academic skills programs. We observe that student expectations regarding levels and modes of academic skills support, coupled with the resource intensive nature of multimedia development, create additional demands on LAS advisers’ time, skills and resources. For projects such as Postgraduate Essentials to be sustainable, we recommend a collaborative approach that utilizes the skills and expertise of key staff in different areas of teaching and support.

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Larcombe, Wendy
McCosker, Anthony
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Critiquing and reflecting: LAS profession and Practice. Refereed Proceedings from the National Biennial Conference, ANU, Canberra; pp. 109-118
Milnes, Stephen
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