Spring 2007
ISSN 1477-1241


The focus of the first issue of the academic year is independent learning

This is a subject close to our hearts as we balance the need to support our students in their studies, particularly when they are new to MMU, while at the same time encouraging their development into successful, independent life-long learners.

The importance of students being skilled in obtaining information relevant to their programme is emphasised in the article by Karen Peters, Rosie Jones and David Matthews who examine the link between the acquisition of information skills and the development of independent learning. They highlight the ways in which MMU library is helping students to become information literate.

It is well recognised that students can learn a lot from sharing knowledge and experiences with their peers and Rachel McLean describes an enjoyable way of doing so, facilitated by tutors, in her article on the use of ‘Knowledge Cafes’.

Sharon Handley argues the case for a university-wide language strategy, citing the increasing international mobility of students whereby MMU, like most Higher Education Institutions, both exports home students and imports overseas students. She reviews the provision of language support for overseas students within MMU and also examines how we prepare our students prior to their periods of study in non-English speaking countries. Provision for language study is available through the UNIWIDE scheme, though not all programmes structures allow students to avail themselves of this opportunity.

Ken Parsons describes the results of a satisfaction survey of students using a variety of work packs aimed at encouraging independent learning within the Department of Interdisciplinary studies at MMU Cheshire.

For those of you contemplating running courses on-line, Anita Gill gives a first-hand account of her experiences within the team that developed the first on-line Certificate in Egyptology, at Manchester University .

This issue rounds off with news from around MMU. This year sees the merging of the faculty academic standards committees with the learning and teaching committees to form the new faculty academic development committees. The learning and teaching committees were always a good source of faculty news so we hope that the chairs of the FADCs will continue to pass on any learning and teaching news. In this edition we have reports from Humanities, Law and Social Science, MMU Cheshire , and Science and Engineering. I am grateful to Helen Jones, Brian Murphy and Allen Fisher for providing the information. Emily Shields brings us news from the library and Robert Ready details changes within the Learning and Teaching Unit.

Finally, we would like to thank Rachel Forsyth in the Learning and Teaching Unit for all her stirling efforts as the editor of Learning and Teaching in Action since 2002. Rachel has now taken up a new post within the Learning and Teaching unit, details of which can be found in ‘News from the LTU’ in this issue. Rachel will remain part of the editorial team of Learning and Teaching in Action.

If you have any ideas for articles or themed issues, please contact me.

Instructions for authors can be found in this issue.

About the Author
photo of Maureen Dawson

Maureen Dawson
Learning and Teaching Unit

e-mail: m.m.dawson@mmu.ac.uk
telephone: 0161 247 1205