Academic Skills

Academic Skills

Dr Sam McCormick is the co-ordinator of this page. This section of THESIS focuses on enhancing student academic skills. 


Learning from Video

In this past 12-15 months we have all had to adapt rapidly to new ways of working and learning both as teachers and learners. Speaking out loud to silent video cameras and a series of on-screen initials while guessing at the emotional reactions of students attending the classes probably feels as weird as watching lectures in the teenage bedroom you were hoping to leave behind. It has also been difficult to gauge how much is being taken in. Fortunately, because psychologists tend to investigate EVERYTHING possible, the Learning Scientists Blog  has provided a summary of a study (Noetel et al., 2021) investigating the advantages and disadvantages of learning from video. In that article,  I’m most interested in the finding that there is an advantage for learning when you watch a lecture with a peer. This really fits in with my personal experience of online training at work and choir rehearsals in my spare time. What we’ve been missing most without live lectures then, is not just seeing and interacting with the people teaching us, but sitting with others learning the same things.

To read more about this study, read the blog entry in full or perhaps, read the original article. In general, the Learning Scientists blog is an excellent source of evidence-based information about the best way to  get to grips with reading journal articles at university , to learn new material and for effective revision techniques and to deal with other academic problems.


Academic Skills Blogs

THESIS members and contributors have written several blogs aimed at promoting the academic skills of our students. Such blogs include Dr. Nodin’s guide to essay writing , Dr. Fairlamb’s advice on approaching your education, and CeDAS’ Dr. Adrian Wallback’s guidance on effective revision skillls.

Several of our students have also written blogs about their experiences of studying during the COVID-19 pandemic, where they describe learning strategies they have adapted during this time. We hope other students will also find these helpful. Click here to read the blog voted ‘best in the series’ by Gabrielle Nieuwoudt.


Social Psychology in the News (SPIN)

SPIN is a student-led discussion group whereby the aim is to provide Psychology students the opportunity to learn more about Psychology, and consider how to use their learning to explain real-world phenomenon and popular news stories. SPIN includes a mix of Psychology students from all cohorts to provide sharing of knowledge, and the opportunity for students to pick subjects of their own choice. SPIN also offers opportunities for students to gain key skills and increase their employability, for example by writing up summary blogs of the topic. SPIN was awarded a College Excellence Teaching Commendation in 2019. You can find out more about SPIN here (http://pc.rhul.ac.uk/sites/spin/) or by contacting Dr. Sam Fairlamb (Samuel.fairlamb@rhul.ac.uk).