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Glossary of Terms commonly used at University




  A
  Academic skills these are skills which enable you to learn how to become a more effective learner and researcher and ensure you are able to demonstrate this within your academic work

 
  Academic Writing is a style of writing which is quite formal. It is different from the style which you use to communicate with friends and different from that which you read in newspapers. Structure and referencing to academic sources are important components of academic writing which you may need to develop. Different types of academic writing tasks require different structures, such as: reports, essays or dissertations.  
  APA Referencing: This is the American Psychological Association referencing style which is used in psychology, information on how to use this referencing style can be found using the following links:

http://learnhigher.ac.uk/Students/Referencing.html
http://www.staffs.ac.uk/about_us/university_departments/information_services/learning_support/refzone/

 
  Aston Replay:

is a service through which students can search for and replay sections of their lectures to increase understanding and for revision purposes.

 
  Assessment Criteria or Marking Criteria: This is a specific set of skills which you are required to demonstrate in order to achieve certain marks in a module. This is a very useful document to use when preparing coursework and revising for exams and can usually be accessed through blackboard modules. More information and advice about assessment can be found through the following links:
http://learnhigher.ac.uk/Students/Assessment.html
http://www.studygs.net/index.htm

 
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  B
  Blackboard:

This is Aston University's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) where you can find information about each of your modules, details about assessment, course materials which your lecturer may upload and much more. You will find that it is essential to use blackboard in order to manage your studies.

 

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  C
  Credits a unit which represents part of a successfully completed university course

 
 
  Critical Thinking:

This is a skill which you will be required to demonstrate within your university studies and this includes a range of thinking skills:

i) knowledge
ii) understanding
iii) application of knowledge
iv) evaluation
v) development of ideas

More information on critical thinking can be found through the following links:
http://learnhigher.ac.uk/Students/Critical-thinking-and-reflection.html
http://www.studygs.net/index.htm

 
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  D
  Directive learning this is when learning or specific projects are set for the group  
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  E
  Elective

a non compulsory module which a student may study at university but still gain credit for

 
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  F
  Fresher

a first year university student

 
  Fresher's Week

This is an event which introduces you to university life. It is an opportunity to learn about the social groups

 
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  G
  Group Work

Working as a group provides students with the opportunity to practice and develop their critical skills with other members on the same course. Group work often requires evaluation of the contributions of other group members.

 
   

 

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  H
  Harvard Referencing: This style of referencing is used within most subject areas at Aston. Information on how to use the Harvard referencing system can be found in the LDC blackboard module or from the following links:

http://learnhigher.ac.uk/Students/Referencing.html
http://www.staffs.ac.uk/about_us/university_departments/information_services/learning_support/refzone/


 

  Higher Education

this refers to the level of education provided by universities and some colleges

 
 
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  I
  Independent Learner

as an independent learner, you should be:

  1. motivated to learn
  2. able to manage your time
  3. able to reflect on your learning.

These attributes should provide you with the insight to become responsible for your own learning and enhance your ability and motivation to learn

 

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  J
  K
  L
  Laboratory sessions:

a class which takes place in a laboratory, this may be a science, computer or language laboratory, which contains specialist equipment for experiments and other practical aspects of the subject to be explored.

 
  Learning Development Advisors

Learning Development Advisors are qualified teachers who work in the Learning Development Centre.  The advisors provide academic support to students in areas such as maths, academic writing, referencing and study skills. 

 
  Learning outcomes

are terms which express what the learner should know, understand and be able to demonstrate in order to complete a module/an assessment successfully. They are important and useful to be aware of because they are created in alignment with teaching and learning and assessment processes.

 
  Lecture

a formal talk given to a group of people (usually students) by a subject specialist

 
  Lecturer

this is the title given to somebody who teaches at a college or university

 
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  M
  Marking Criteria or Assessment Criteria:

This is a specific set of skills which you are required to demonstrate in order to achieve certain marks in a module. This is a very useful document to use when preparing coursework and revising for exams and can usually be accessed through your blackboard module.

 
  Mentor

this is a person who provides help or advice to somebody over a period of time in order to develop and/or address a particular area of difficulty

 
  Module

a unit or a subject area which forms part of the whole university course

 
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  N
  Note Making Skills

People make notes for a number of reasons, it could be for revision purposes, research or lecture notes. Always be sure of the reason why you are making notes, as this will determine your approach in making notes.
Always make sure that your notes are:

  1. easy to read
  2. easy to understand and concise
  3. well organised
  4. in your own words
  5. that the important points are easy to identify
 
  Numeric Referencing Style

This is another referencing style which is usually used within the school of Engineering at Aston, though some lecturers prefer their students to use the Harvard system, so always check with your lecturer which referencing style they would like you to use. Information on the Numeric Referencing System can be found through the following links:

http://learnhigher.ac.uk/Students/Referencing.html
http://www.staffs.ac.uk/about_us/university_departments/information_services/learning_support/refzone/

 
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  O
  OSCOLA or Oxford Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities

is the referencing style used within law, more information on which can be found using the following links:

http://learnhigher.ac.uk/Students/Referencing.html
http://www.staffs.ac.uk/about_us/university_departments/information_services/learning_support/refzone/

 
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  P
  Personal tutor

this person is your point of contact at university for academic advice; they may not actually teach you, but they are your first port of call for academic issues.

 
  Plagiarism:

this is what can happen when a person (usually accidentally) fails to reference their work correctly and it appears as though they are trying to pretend that somebody else's work or ideas are their own. The consequences of plagiarism can be very serious, so it is important for students to familiarise themselves with the process of referencing, help with which is available online from:

http://learnhigher.ac.uk/Students/Referencing.html
http://www.staffs.ac.uk/about_us/university_departments/information_services/learning_support/refzone/

Aston students should also remember that they can find advice and help on referencing and avoiding plagiarism from Learning Advisors and Student Writing Mentors within the Learning Development Centre and within the LDC Blackboard module.

 
  PLATO (Plagiarism Teaching Online)

This is an online tutorial available to Aston students, where you can enhance your understanding of plagiarism and develop your referencing skills.

 
  Post-graduate

this term is used to refer to students or a course/qualification which is of a higher academic level to a bachelor level degree

 
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  Q
       
  R
  Reading List

This is a list of books/articles that your lecturer thinks are important and relevant to your course. However, you may not necessarily be expected to access and read every text on your list.

Listen to the podcasts on reading for more information:

http://www1.aston.ac.uk/current-students/academic-support/ldc/get-ahead/podcasts/reading/

 
  Reading week this is a week where there is no formal teaching. The idea is that students are given a week to concentrate on their studies, work on assignments, do further reading for a particular module. It must be noted that not all degree programmes have a reading week

 
  References

Within your academic writing, you are expected to read and refer to theories/studies and work by respected people/organisations within the subject area. The way in which you refer to the author(s) varies according to the referencing system which you use, but usually, references contain information about the author's surname and the year the text was published.

References should be included throughout an essay and a comprehensive list of references should be included at the end of any piece of academic writing. Referencing styles include: APA, Harvard, Numeric and the OSCOLA, information on which can be found within the LDC blackboard module or from:

http://learnhigher.ac.uk/Students/Referencing.html
http://www.staffs.ac.uk/about_us/university_departments/information_services/learning_support/refzone/

 
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  S
  School

there is some confusion over this term in HE. A school is used to refer to an area of study. For example, you may study French at university, as a student, you belong to the French department, which forms part of the School of Languages and Social Sciences (which is also comprised of several other departments)

 
  Self directed learning this is where the individual takes the responsibility and initiative to select, manage and assess their learning activities.
 
  Semester this refers to a division of the academic year, e.g. first or second semester. Some universities choose to use the word ‘term’.  
  Seminar an arrangement for a subject specialist and a group of people to gather together to study and discuss the subject in more detail  
  Student support

this is an umbrella term which encompasses services which include:

  1. Welfare
  2. Careers
  3. Finance
  4. International office
  5. Counselling
 
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  T
  Term this refers to a division of the academic year, e.g. summer term/spring term. Some universities choose to use the word 'semester'  
  Tutor in HE, tutors are different to lecturers in that they may actually be postgraduate students or lecturers who are responsible for delivering seminars for undergraduate level students  
  Tutorial a period of study which involves a small group or an individual student with on tutor  
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  U
  Undergraduate a person studying their first degree at college or university  
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  V
  Virtual learning environment (VLE)

this is an online resource used to support teaching. This is particularly useful for students and staff and may contain information on assessment criteria, lecture notes, tasks, you may even be required to submit assessed work via a VLE. Aston University uses Blackboard, though you may be accustomed to other VLEs such as Moodle or Webct

 
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  W
       
  X
  Y
  Z

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research