Developing students’ academic literacy and mathematical self-efficacy through multi-media learning resources

Deane, Mary; Samuels, Peter and Williams, Gareth (2009). Developing students’ academic literacy and mathematical self-efficacy through multi-media learning resources. In: 6th LDHEN Symposium, Apr 2009, University of Bournemouth.


The availability of resources to support students in Higher Education (HE) has increased significantly in recent years (MacArthur et al., 2008). This arguably reflects a growing demand, particularly in relation to the range of academic literacies tertiary level students are expected to acquire (Lea and Street, 1998). In particular, adaption to contemporary learners’ preferences has led to a shift from textbooks to more accessible resources such as web pages, downloadable leaflets and video clips (Prensky, 2001). It has been recognised that developing learners’ literacies can help to reduce dependence on learning support tutors, and that instruction in critical thinking and writing is most effective when grounded in the relevant contexts (Gottschalk and Hjortshoj, 2004).

This paper reports on collaborative development at two UK HE institutions of contextualised, accessible resources in academic writing and mathematics study skills (Bean, 2001; Kahn, 2001). The initial development of single sheet paper and online leaflets in generic academic writing competencies is outlined and evaluated (Griffin, 1982). The subsequent development of similar mathematics study skills resources is then described. Current work to develop more contextualised academic writing resources is outlined, along with future plans to develop mathematics study skills resources in other media.

More broadly, this paper explores relationships between writing development, mathematics support, and learner autonomy (Lillis, 2001). It investigates the provision of physical and virtual learning spaces to enhance students’ success, and promotes a collaborative model of supporting students’ discipline-based study. It will interest policy makers concerned with the student experience, retention, and Widening Participation.

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