Fulfilling diverse learner needs: preparing students for university success through a personalised online learning experience

How can we best prepare international students to make a successful transition into undergraduate study at university? This e-poster will present an innovative online solution to this challenge. Developed by the University of Sydney Centre for English Teaching, the ‘Academic Skills for University Success’ Specialisation is a series of five massive open online courses (MOOCs) aimed at supporting students in the transition to tertiary study at an English-medium university. The specialisation is aimed at a global cohort of learners and provides an introduction to the core values and expectations of academic culture.
This e-poster will outline how evidence-based course design, alignment with best practice principles in online learning, and innovations in adaptive courseware contribute to a personalised approach to teaching the 21st century skills essential to academic preparedness – information and digital literacy, problem solving, critical thinking, communication, and ethical and social responsibility. They also build understanding of what it means to be a global citizen who contributes to positive change in the world.

This e-poster aims to enable you to:
*  understand how evidence-based course design allows the curriculum to address diverse learner needs in the academic preparation space
* identify innovative online pedagogical strategies that promote personalised and independent learning, self-reflection, engagement, and  student-centredness  in an online environment at scale
* explore how an academic skills preparation course can develop  21st century skills and promote an understanding of global citizenry.

Ms Katherine Olston


University of Sydney Centre for English Teaching

Katherine Olston is the Director at the University of Sydney Centre for English Teaching (CET). She oversees all aspects of the organisation such as strategic planning, managing financial health, professional development, performance appraisal, curriculum design and the integration of technology-enhanced pedagogy. Katherine is passionate about technology-enhanced learning; her most recent project has been to lead the conceptualisation, design and development of CET’s specialisation ‘Advanced Skills for University Success’, a series of five MOOCs delivered via Coursera that aims to prepare undergraduate students for study at English-speaking universities. She is also actively engaged in researching teaching and learning in the digital space. Her research focuses on the role of peer-facilitation in the development of critical thinking skills in the collaborative construction of a blog within the context of a pre-tertiary-level academic skills preparation course. Katherine holds a Masters in Learning Science and Technology (Research, University of Sydney), an International Diploma of Language Teaching Management (University of Queensland), and a Masters of Fine Art (Research, University of New South Wales).