University of Portsmouth's History Blog

My Experiences with Learning Development

Cameron Meeten, who is studying for a master’s degree in naval history, encourages all students to take advantage of the services offered by our learning development tutors.  Although not at the moment able to meet students face to face, the learning development tutors can still offer plenty of advice by online methods.

Learning development is one of the most valuable resources at the university and I implore all SASHPL students to take advantage of the guidance available. Learning development offer personal guidance in the development of academic skills and have something to offer all students regardless of where they are in the process of their degree.[1] Whilst attending the Student Voice Committee at the beginning of the year there were discussions about the ways in which the university provides academic support to students. I was at the start of a new degree and after hearing about the support that learning development provide, I decided to pay a visit. When I was an undergraduate I unfortunately did not utilise the help offered by learning development; this was partially because I was not aware what they did for students. I would have certainly paid them a visit during my undergraduate degree had I known how learning development can help students like myself.

Rhetoric, German engraving, c. 1541, British Museum

Rhetoric, German engraving, c. 1541, British Museum

My first visit to learning development was to gain insight into how to improve the structure of my essays. I submitted a draft of the essay that I was writing and arranged a one-to-one meeting. At the meeting Laura kindly went through my essay with me and providing a detailed set of notes on how I could be clearer setting out my argument, and how I could improve the signposting in my work. This significantly helped me improve my essay which I later received a distinction in the clarity of writing and structure portion of the feedback. Learning development helped me with a very specific part of my essay writing, and they offer a wide variety of academic advice. In the one-to-one meetings learning development offer specific essay guidance such as essay writing skills, the use of academic language as well as the development of critical thinking skills. Leaning development also offer more general study advice such as organisational, reading, and note-taking skills. I am certain that every student could do with some help on at least one of the areas that learning development are able to assist with.

One of the most useful services provided by learning development is assignment feedback. Following my first visit to learning development I have used this service on every single assignment that I have submitted. Learning development can look at an assignment draft (up to 1500 words) and will go through it with you in a one-to-one meeting. Following this meeting your learning development tutor will email you a document which outlines their feedback and the discussion points of the meeting. No essay is perfect, and sometimes a second set of eyes on a piece of work can be of great value.

In addition to one-to-one meetings learning development also offer workshops which you can book an appointment on to.[2] These workshops are tailored to provide help to a group of students on a very specific topic. These workshops are particularly useful if there is a specific area which you wish to focus on. Workshops that have been provided in the past include critical thinking, referencing and dissertation sessions.[3]

Learning development offer appointments to any SASHPL students who are looking for guidance with their academic work. The help and advice they offer is very beneficial when acted upon, and I encourage all SASHPL students who wish to improve their work to pay a visit. Unfortunately face to face meetings are not available for the time being due to the coronavirus outbreak, however feedback can still be provided via email.

Good luck to all students who decide to utilise the help that is available to them!

Thank you Laura, for all the help you have given me so far this year.

[1] https://moodle.port.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=5877

[2] https://sashpllearningdevelopment.youcanbook.me/

[3] https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/sashpl-learning-development-6248854919


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