Postgraduates have similarities and differences to undergraduates, their unique needs need to be considered when designing and delivering units and courses for them.
This page aims to support those involved in designing and delivering courses and units for postgraduate coursework students.
Crane and Kinash (2016) investigated the postgraduate student experience as part of an Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching project.
Some of the following postgraduate student themes and needs surfaced within the research.
Student engagement is defined as students’ involvement in activities and conditions that are linked with high-quality learning. When higher education institutions understand the nature of student engagement and work towards influencing it for the better, the impact on outcomes for students and learning processes is significant.
Many post-graduate students need to fit their studies around full-time work and family commitments, this means that courses need to be designed with this in mind.
- Facilitating synchronous sessions out of standard work hours and/or if you have students located overseas then sessions that are scheduled at times realistic for their timezone.
- Blended designs – ie. Combining online study with face-to-face intensives
- Making sure any assessment that relies on group-work can be done remotely
The postgraduate population is diverse. As such, the approach taken to support the learning of a cohort needs to be appreciative of their unique requirements and characteristics.
Explore an overview of postgraduate students demographics at ACU.
Scaffolding and transition
It is easy to assume that because a student has completed an undergraduate degree that they will have the necessary academic skills for postgraduate study. Since many of our students may not have been at university for 10-30 years, this makes it essential to scaffold student’s academic skills and transition them back into the conventions and expectations of higher education.
Providing the right feedback at the right time can lead not only to increased student satisfaction, but also improved learning outcomes for students. Additional opportunities for feedback can boost overall engagement amongst postgraduate students.
Authentic and real-world learning
Many post-graduates bring with them a varied and rich work history, drawing on this can support peer-to-peer learning and engagement.
There is a common myth in higher education that postgraduate’s don’t need employment support; that they can take care of their own employment needs. This is not the case, with many postgraduate students choosing to return to study to change career or disciplines there is the need to support these students with employability.
Explore postgraduate employability needs and strategies.
Crane, L., Kinash, S., Bannatyne, A., Judd, M-M., Eckersley, B., Hamlin, G., Partridge, H., Richardson, S., Rolf, H., Udas, K., & Stark, A. (2016). Engaging postgraduate students and supporting higher education to enhance the 21st century student experience. Final report prepared for the Learning and Teaching Support Unit, Australian Department of Education and Training.
Page last updated: 2017-12-15
Short url: http://www.acu.edu.au/1329858