Developing Discipline-Based Learning Skills in First-Year University Students of Urban and Regional Planning

By Jane Grellier.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

University students develop their learning skills most effectively in the context of their disciplines. A collaboration between discipline-based and learning skills staff is therefore very beneficial in supporting first-year students in their transition to tertiary studies. In 2006 a compulsory first-year unit was introduced in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Western Australia that focused on information literacy, academic writing, interpersonal communication and oral presentation skills in planning contexts. Units in the first-year course were closely integrated so that students were led through the research and draft writing processes in the learning skills unit for assignments set in their other units. They also completed case studies, role plays, oral presentations and reflective practice exercises set in planning contexts. Discipline-based and learning skills staff collaborated to create interleaved units, to team teach where relevant, and to evaluate and restructure their units. In these ways students became more successful participants in the discourse of planning, developing skills that would enhance both their university studies and their future professional careers

Keywords: Academic Learning Skills, Interdisciplinary Collaboration, Discipline-Specific Discourse, Communication Skills, Urban and Regional Planning

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 9, pp.115-122. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 512.098KB).

Jane Grellier

Lecturer, Faculty of Media, Society and Culture, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

As a Communication Skills Coordinator and Lecturer at Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Western Australia, I coordinate a team of teachers who provide communication skills units to more than 1500 first-year students each year across a range of faculties. I worked initially as a secondary English teacher, and then spent 15 years as an educational writer and curriculum developer in secondary and tertiary education sectors. I have a strong commitment to teaching writing, especially to encouraging students to write in clear, concise English. In my current position I have developed interests in promoting students’ understandings of the discourse of their disciplines, and in increasing information literacy skills among undergraduate students.


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