Have you read through all the details in your Subject Outline? What do you want to achieve by the end of the session? Your Subject Outline is the best place to start
This video shows UOW lecturer Dr Jen Roberts explaining the importance of Subject Outlines
Each subject you are enrolled in has a Subject Outline which you can download from the subject's Moodle site.
Your Subject Outline contains essential information to get you through the session and prepare you for success. It will include details about weekly topics and readings, and instructions for assessment tasks. It also includes some general information about who to contact or what to do if something goes wrong and interrupts your studies.
Check your Subject Outline before you ask your teacher or subject coordinator a question, often you will find the answer you need!
What is in your Subject Outline
Each faculty or schools' subject outline will look slightly different but they all contain essential information to get you through the session. This includes
- details of your lecturers and coordinators, their consultation times, and how to contact them
- essential and recommended readings
- your timetable and assessment details for the subject
- an overview of the subject content
Your subject outline will let you know what you are expected to do to successfully participate in the subject, including
- reading the recommended texts for each week
- preparing for quizzes and assignments.
Every subject you are enrolled in will have a set of learning outcomes. Everything that you do in a subject is designed to help you achieve the subject's learning outcomes. This includes readings, class activities, and (of course) assessment tasks.
Learning outcomes represent the set of skills or abilities that are the intended result of your learning in that subject. They can provide clues about what to look for in the readings, and what you are expected to demonstrate in assessment tasks.
If you have any questions about the focus of your subject, check the learning outcomes first as this may hold the answer you need
This section of your Subject Outline includes the detail of the assessment tasks for the subject. This helps you to prioritise your time, and to work out what information resources you need to complete each task.
Assessment task details include:
- The type of assessment task e.g. essay, group report, oral presentation, online activity etc
- How many marks each assessment task is worth e.g. 10%, 50% etc
- Formatting e.g. how many words, what presentation style
- The due date
- The assessment criteria e.g. what the marker is going to focus on when evaluating your work
- Whether you are required to submit your work to Turnitin (an online text-matching software program that will check your referencing)
Each of your assessment tasks will be marked based on a range of criteria, depending on what you have been asked to do and how it relates to the Learning Outcomes of the subject.
The assessment criteria will be used by your teacher or marker to evaluate your work. There will be different criteria depending on the type of assessment task you are doing.
You should check your assessment criteria as you prepare your assessment task as it contains clues about what you should be doing. (i.e. Things like 'Demonstrate your independent research skills', and 'Present your argument')
If you are unsure about what the assessment criteria means ask your teacher or subject coordinator for more information. Or, consult with an academic writing expert through the Learning Co-Op.
Refer to your Subject Outline to identify which style of referencing you need to use for your assessment tasks. The style you need to use may vary from subject to subject.
A common referencing style used at UOW is UOW Author-Date (Harvard). Some faculties or schools use other referencing styles relevant to their discipline, e.g. Law uses AGLC, and both Psychology and Education use APA.
The UOW Referencing and Citing Guide provides examples of how to reference a wide variety of resources that you'll be using in your assessment tasks. In the guide, you'll find examples of how to reference the different parts of in-text references and the reference list.
First, pick one of your subjects.
Q1: Do you already have a Subject Outline near you? For instance, in your bag or on your desk, or even downloaded on the computer you are using now?
Congratulations! You are off to a good start.
Make sure that you find and download all the Subject Outlines for the subjects you are studying this session.
Q2 Do you know the name of your tutor and subject coordinator?
Yes - Congratulations! It is always good to know the names of the people you are learning from, and who you might need to contact if you need help later.
No - It is surprising how many students never learn the names of their teachers! Take note of the names of your teachers. This will make it easier for you to communicate with them when you need to.
Q3 Do you know how your teachers prefer to be contacted?
Yes - Congratulations! You have paid attention to the details, either listed in the Subject Outline or discussed in class.
No - Check these details as some of your teachers have specific consultation times, while others prefer to be contacted by email.
Q4 Have you noted the due dates of all of your assessment tasks in a calendar or planner?
Yes - Congratulations! You understand the importance of planning ahead and time management. You could also block out some time to work on these tasks so you have time to edit your first draft.
No - Take note of the due dates of all your tasks in all of your subjects, so you can see if there are any weeks when you have two or more tasks due at the same time. If you do, you will need to plan ahead to so that you balance out your study time so that you allow yourself enough time to work on each task.
Q5 Have you compared the amount of marks allocated to each assessment task ?
Yes - Well done. You can anticipate how much work and time to allocate to each task by working out how much it is worth.
No - This is a good idea if you have a number of tasks all due in the same week. Plan and balance your preparation of tasks before the due dates, taking into consideration how much each task is worth.
Q6 Do you understand what format you are expected to use for each assessment task?
Yes - Congratulations! You are well prepared. You can still ask questions and listen to any extra instructions given by your teacher in class.
No - Check with your teacher or an academic writing expert at the Learning Co-Op if you are uncertain of the format of the assessment task.
Q7 Do you know which referencing style you are expected to use in this subject?
Yes - Congratulations! Knowing the correct referencing style will help you as you do research for your assessment task. It will save you time later on if you keep your notes in the correct style.
No - Check the style you are expected to use for each subject, as different subjects may use different referencing styles. It is important that you get this right, or you may accidentally lose marks.