Designing and delivering postgraduate units and courses
Postgraduates have similarities and differences to undergraduates, their unique needs need to be considered when designing and delivering units and courses for them.
As ACU's Postgraduate Strategy particularly focuses on postgraduate coursework students, this page aims to support those involved in designing and delivering courses and units for postgraduate coursework students.
Crane et al. (2016) investigated the postgraduate student experience as part of an Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching project.
Some of the following 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.
The postgraduate population is diverse. They can have varying: academic and work experience, non-study commitments, locations, cultures and digital literacy, amongst other differences. As such, the approach taken to support the learning of a cohort needs to be appreciative of their unique requirements and characteristics.
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 students' 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.
There is a common myth in higher education that postgraduates 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 their employability.
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.