Exploring 'academic depth' in Higher Education

Alke Gröppel-Wegener, Lesley Raven, Helen Bowstead, Katy Vigurs, Geoff Walton


Information discernment is an important skill that is part of studying in Higher Education, although it often seems that students might not be aware of this crucial part of academic practice. This paper presents the evaluation of a visual method for introducing students to the provenance of secondary sources, using the metaphor of sea creatures living in an academic ocean. The same resources were used as a starting point for sessions delivered to a number of programmes in different disciplines in three different HE institutions in the UK at different academic levels. The findings discussed here introduce the different perspectives of the tutors who led the sessions, providing an insight into potential challenges and opportunities of using this visual concept to introduce academic practice to students in art, media and design, communication and public relations, education, as well as international students. The conclusions drawn from this episodic overview show that while there was some polarisation, overall a visual approach seemed to have potential in assisting students in building their academic literacy skills. Furthermore, it was the facilitation of a discussion of provenances of sources that seems most important in this endeavour.

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