Adventures in Albany: Assignment essentials in the Great Southern region

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The start of a new semester can be a confronting time for new students. There’s a lot to learn, skills to develop, classes to find, and schedules to manage. Students don’t always know what they don’t know, so the first few weeks are crucial to gaining the necessary confidence and knowledge for the journey. For regional students, navigating the transition to study can be more challenging due to isolation from their institution and their peers. To help bridge the gap, Curtin University Library delivered an in-person, all-day academic and study skills workshop for university students based in the Great Southern region for the third year running. 

There are a few goals associated with the ‘Regional Bootcamp’ sessions:

  • Introduce the students to essential academic and study skills;
  • Provide an opportunity for students to form connections and build a study network; and,
  • Ensure students are aware of their regional university centre.

The Regional Bootcamp comprises four sessions targeting skills development in areas crucial to assignment success: research, academic writing, and referencing (the fourth session introduces the ever-popular program, EndNote). In response to feedback received during earlier iterations of the Bootcamp series, the day starts with the tough stuff – referencing and EndNote – before tackling searching and writing after lunch.   

Throughout the day, we run a series of warming activities and provide opportunities for group work so that participants get to know their peers. Connections are formed, and problems or fears are shared. Within the room, there’s a realisation that everyone is in the same boat, and the challenges ahead become less overwhelming. When asked why they wanted to attend a face-to-face session, participants responded:

It feels more supportive to be together in person. I wanted to meet new people in a similar boat.

I’m in my first year and have no idea. I wanted to meet people and be able to ask questions and have group discussions.

The Bootcamp is delivered in partnership with the Great Southern University Centre (GSUC), which has been supporting Albany-based students since it was established in 2021. GSUC provides a 24/7 dedicated space for students to study, away from the distractions of home, and study assistance from a Learning Support Coordinator. GSUC is integral to supporting the student experience, providing campus-style facilities and the opportunities to network with other university students. The Bootcamp is an opportunity to promote the service to students who may not otherwise be aware of it to ensure they receive all of the support available to them.   

Regional Bootcamps are a great way to ensure that regional students start their university studies on the right foot, equipped with integral academic and study skills, and connected to their local services, universities, and peers. One student reported, “it was so much information in little time, but it wasn’t overwhelming at all. Thank you!” All in all, a worthwhile adventure to the south.

Written By:
Claire Murphy, Acting Deputy Director, Learning, Research, Engagement and Global
Curtin University Library

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