Developing ‘Study skills’ at Queen Mary

This page allows you to explore some ways in which ‘study skills’ are explicitly being developed across the College. Learning Development/Thinking Writing have been involved with each of the examples given.

Whole cohort ‘introductory’ modules designed to develop students’ approaches to study

The range below includes modules in which skills are fully integrated with disciplinary content, and modules in which skills are only partially integrated with disciplinary or programme content.

 POL105 Political Analysis. The School of Politics and International Relations has developed a challenging content course which also supports students’ study strategies through the design of activities and seminar teaching. Each year the module has been refined to tie the activities closer to the kinds of critical thinking valued in the School. The developmental emphasis in the current year is on helping TAs to develop their seminar teaching.  Read more.  

GEG4000 Introduction to Geographical Ideas and Practice. The School of Geography designed this first year course to support students in discipline-specific reading and writing practices. Take a look at the outline and some of the materials

HST4602 History in Practice.  The School of History moved through various iterations of a non-credit bearing introductory course for its first year students, before developing this full credit-bearing module designed to address key questions around the study of History. Read more.

ECS402U Professional and Research Themes. Now in its second iteration, this module has been developed to engage EECS students with research in the School and to develop communication and team working skills that will support both their study and employability. Students work in groups to produce a short video. Read more

MAT4444 Transferable skills for Engineers and Materials Scientists. This is a non-credit bearing introductory module created by the School of Engineering and Materials Science to capture, and provide recognition for, a range of additional activities it expects its students to engage in, including in relation to employability.  The module includes introductory sessions on report writing. As with ECS402U it partly uses the academic advisor system to support students assignments. 

Resources development

A number of Schools have developed module- or programme-specific resources that students can access independently to help them learn and meet the expectations of their assessors.

STEM Wishees websiteLecturers from a number of Science and Engineering disciplines have contributed to this website. It consists of authentic examples of student written work accompanied by a lecturer commentary unpacking what works in the texts and what could be improved.

Short Answer Questions RLO. Online ‘reuseable learning objects’ developed with lecturers in the School of Medicine and Dentistry to help students get to grips with writing SAQS. The resource is built around actual student texts from the discipline and complements a face-to-face lecture. Look at one of the resources here. Read more here.

Student-produced Videos. Students in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science made videos last year (see above: ECS402U). Two groups who succeeded really well in the task then made a further video each – this time about the process of working in a group to make a video. View the videos on our 'By Students, For Students' page

Additional (optional) activities to support modules/programmes              

Reading/writing retreats. Retreats are times/spaces in which participants (students/staff) simply get down to either reading or writing, but with some goal setting and guidance provided by a facilitator – who also participates. Thinking Writing runs these for participants across the College and for particular departments, but in the Department of English, they are now run routinely by members of staff for third year students to support their dissertation research and writing.

Assessment workshops/drop-ins. Optional opportunities for students to get more support around particular tasks (written, spoken, other). As long as lecturing staff are engaged in the design of the session (unpacking the assessment, providing examples and materials) TAs and/or Learning Development staff can often be enlisted to help with running these.  For example, EECS students are offered drop-in sessions in Review Week that focus specifically on a writing task they will shortly be handing in.

Please get in touch to find out more about any of these approaches and examples, and to find out how we can help.

Further Reading

Go to our Thinking Writing site for a review of 'Approaches within the field of Learning Development'. 

Read more about our thinking in ‘Integrating Writing’.