Viva la *evolution: The online Communication and Research Skills unit at UWA

Megan Fitzgibbons, Siri Barrett-Lennard, Gina Sjepcevich, Roz Howard

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference presentation/ephemera


Tech-savvy but time-poor, today's university entrants vary widely in their academic skills. Some can write, reflect and do research in the ways we expect. They are confident speakers who can contribute well in teams. Others, however, find academic writing torture and independent study anathema. Oral presentations leave them tongue-tied. So how can we help? One way is through Communication and Research Skills (CARS), an online unit created by the UWA Library and STUDYSmarter team in 2010. Since then, CARS has scaffolded thousands of UWA students through the stages of starting assignments, finding the best evidence, writing assignments, delivering presentations, and working in teams. Although this content is crucial, the e-learning space has been ever-changing: what recently seemed so innovative now feels old-fashioned. We are therefore re-creating CARS: revisiting and re-imagining it in light of new technologies and new student expectations. Supported by an Improving Student Learning grant from UWA's Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning and by Student Services, our new design is flexible, reusable, and engaging, with the potential for modules to be integrated in other learning practices at UWA ( In this presentation we discuss our re-envisioning of CARS, which incorporates principles of learner-centred design. We hope to spark conversations about not just the "how" of designing online learning experiences, but also the "why" - the integration of foundational skills at the start and throughout the university journey.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015
EventTeaching and Learning Forum 2015 - Teaching and Learning Uncapped - University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
Duration: 29 Jan 201530 Jan 2015


ConferenceTeaching and Learning Forum 2015 - Teaching and Learning Uncapped


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