Students entering the School from Secondary education should be prepared for changes in the way in which learning and teaching are conducted.
Students are responsibile for:
- ensuring their entry into their degree and enrolling in their courses
- managing their own time and study
- seeking appropriate help if necessary
A study year at UNSW consists of two semesters each involving:
- "O-week" or Week Zero, for orientation
- twelve weeks of teaching and class time conducted over thirteen weeks
- a mid semester break
- a study period after the teaching period
- an examination period
At University students participate in:
Lectures are designed to impart core knowledge about a particular field of study to students. They are also used to advise students of changes in the course requirements or assessments. Lectures are usually broken down into hour blocks of meaningful instruction on a topic. Attending lectures is essential for successfully completing a course.
During a lecture, the lecturer will be at the front of a large theatre. Lecturers will speak extensively on a topic, and may use visual or audiovisual materials during class. A lecturer will usually present their own academic opinion of a particular topic, derived from their own specialist knowledge and research. Lecturers also keep up to date with the latest academic findings in their area, and incorporate this into their lectures each time they teach a course. Some lecturers may provide their lecture in a recorded format, or distribute notes during the lecture. These may assist students with revision, but are not a substitute for attending lectures.
Your primary lecturer will probably also be your Course Coordinator, who can assist you with academic or administrative problems to do with your course during their nominated consultation times.
Preparing for a lecture may involve set readings from a textbook, and/or texts, and/or major monographs (single author books). Texts are designed to prepare you to understand a particular lecture, or to impart background information so that you can best benefit from a lecture.
Tutorial attendance is compulsory. Tutorials are classes held in smaller groups over an hour. Tutorials are an opportunity for students to raise questions about lectures.
Tutorials may include:
- informal or formal presentations from students
- structured or unstructured group discussions driven by students and led by the tutor
- role-playing scenarios or reliving major debates from a discipline
- encouraging students to understand the view they believe to be right
- encouraging students to understand why others hold different views
Tutorials are often assessed on the basis of participation, which is usually considered as making appropriate quality contributions to discussion. If you have difficulty with speaking in groups, or in public, you should make use of University support services to improve your skills and confidence in this area. Developing your capacity for making coherent oral arguments is an important learning outcome.
Preparing for a tutorial involves reading set materials, which is essential to successfully completing a course. These readings are often available for purchase in a compiled format as a study kit. Students have the opportunity to gather the readings themselves, but it is often easier to purchase a study kit. There may also be additional readings that will improve your learning experience during a tutorial.
- are single classes usually held over three hours
- include a period of primary instruction lead by the Seminar leader (like a lecture)
- include a period of secondary instruction involving group discussion (like a tutorial)
- are mainly used for second and third year courses
Some courses may substitute or supplement tutorials with online tutorials, discussion groups or other electronically accessed resources. These have a similar purpose to tutorials.
Some courses have set excursions to locations that are related to the course material. Excursions are generally organised to deepen students’ understanding of the core material, to provoke new experiences and perceptions, and as the basis of assessments.
All courses on offer are assessed in a “progressive assessment” mode. This means that assessments are spaced throughout the entire semester, and the development experienced and feedback gained from completing one assessment task assists in the completion of future assessments. Types of assessment include:
- tutorial participation
- tutorial presentations
- learning journals
- short exercises
- annotated bibliographies
- essay plans
- short or long essays
- in class tests
- formal exams during examination period
Assessment detail is provided in your Course Outline.