Topic outline

  • Introduction

    Preparing to Study

    This course will help you to learn the skills you need to think critically at Masters level.  To be a good critical thinker takes time and practice.  This course gives you an introduction to the skills you need to help you be more critical.  You will develop these academic skills further in the modules you will study whilst being student with Peoples-uni. 

    Apart from reading and thinking critically, we learn by engaging with each other and our tutors.  Therefore participating in each module's discussion forum is a vital part of learning.  In this course you will also learn how to prepare a comprehensive discussion contribution, which is yet another opportunity to practice the academic skills you will need for working on final assignments, and in your future academic and working life.

    On this course you will learn how to:

    1)  ask critical questions

    2)  make reflective notes

    3) search for evidence

    4) judge the quality of evidence

    5) write a discussion post for online forums

    There are no assignments in this course, but the course includes exercises to allow you to practice the relevant skills.

    After each Topic, you can leave feedback for the course development team, so we can improve the course in the future.

    All resources for this course are also in the Resources Library on Student Corner which is available to all Peoples-uni students.  Link to the Student Corner here.

    •  Student Support Forum for New students group, June 2017
      Not available unless: You belong to New students group, June 2017
  • Course Outline and Timetable

    Over the next 6 weeks you need to work through the following activities.  If you are taking this course as part of a group facilitated by a Student Support Officer, this will be the timetable:

    Weeks 1-2:

    • Read the Student Handbook (essential reading and reference material for all our students).
    • Read the learning resources in Topics 1-3 (below).
    • Set up a profile about yourself on Moodle, our online learning platform - see how to do this here
    • Reflect on your study skills.
    • Practice using Moodle and discuss ways to optimise your study skills - take part in a discussion with your fellow students and your student support officer (SSO).
    • Apply for one or two Peoples-uni modules, if you have not already done so - important to do this before the closing date for applications (find the Application Form on our website).

    Weeks 3-4:

    • Take part in the learning discussion within Topic 3 below, between fellow new students and your SSO.

    Weeks 4-6:

    • Topic 1: Critical reading and thinking

      Learning objectives: After Topic 1, students will:
      • Be able to read texts / literature critically, and make reflective notes for later use in the discussion forums/assignment

    • Topic 2: Searching for evidence in the literature

      This week we will explore how you to search for evidence, and to judge the quality of different sources of evidence.  

      Learning objectives: After Topic 2, students will:

      • Know how to apply critical thinking and analysis

      • Know ways to search the internet for academic research

    • Topic 3: Preparing a contribution to a course discussion forum


      This week we will explore how you can prepare a discussion post, ensuring you use correct language, and referencing of other authors’ material you want to use in your assignment, including how to avoid plagiarism. 

      Learning objectives: After Topic 3, students will:

      • Know how to reference appropriately and correctly, using a preferred style

      • Be aware of study style and how to create a study plan suited to your learning needs