Support for . . .
Whether you’re coming from overseas, just out of school, or returning to study after a break, adjusting to the academic requirements of university can be challenging. Assessments and the workload might be different to what you’re used to and you may not always understand what your lecturers expect.
Like Google maps, but for Uni: ASC workshops
We can help you prepare for successful study at Canterbury by helping you learn the “rules of the road” for things like academic writing, preparing for exams, or meeting deadlines.
ASC workshops (ideally before you’ve got an assessment due) are the best place to start.
Zooming in on your work: 1-1 consultations
We can also help you with individual pieces of assessment. A consultation with a Learning Advisor might involve analysing a particularly difficult topic and sketching out a plan, for instance, or having a look at part of an initial draft. We’re not able to proofread full drafts, but can help you identify problem areas and give you the tools you’ll need to improve your work.
We also offer an on-call service (from 11am-2pm in term time, and 12pm-2pm during term breaks) where you can speak with a Learning Advisor for a 10-minute Quick Query on topics such as referencing, your proposed thesis statement, or how to use headings properly.
The Academic Skills Centre offers a range of support services to students who have English as an additional language. Along with our general workshops, we run courses specifically for English language learners:
2018 orientation event for international students
This free event is an opportunity to meet other international students new to UC and participate in workshops to prepare you for your studies. To register email firstname.lastname@example.org (NB: enrolment is limited to the first 30 registrations).
Date: Thursday, 15 February, 2018
Time: 10.00 am – 3.00 pm
Location: Room 210, Puaka-James Hight (Central Library). Enter the Central Library through the main entrance and head to the back wall.
What to bring: Pen and paper or laptop
The English Language Support Programme is a year-long programme designed to help students to improve their academic English. Workshops are 50 minutes long and take place once per week during term time.
The Reading and Writing for English Language Learners workshops focus on key reading and writing skills. These stand-alone workshops are a more flexible option than the English Language Support Programme and may be better suited to undergraduate students.
The Speaking and Listening for English Language Learners workshops provide opportunities for students to practise conversation and discussion with native and non-native English speakers.
Giving an Oral Presentation helps students to improve public speaking and presentation skills. This 2-hour workshop is open to all UC students but is particularly useful for English language learners who would like to practise their speaking in a supportive environment.
Check out other ASC workshops.
Students can book one-to-one consultations with a learning advisor to discuss their written assignments. Topics covered in consultations include analysing essay questions, essay and report structure, thesis structure, grammar and punctuation, and referencing. Consultations are held at the Academic Skills Centre, Level 3, Puaka-James Hight Library.
To book a one-to-one consultation, phone (03) 369 3900 or email email@example.com
Download Succeeding at University in New Zealand: An Academic Guide for International Students
The Academic Skills Centre offers courses and workshops designed to meet the particular needs of honours and postgraduate students.
Academic Skills for Honours Students
Honours study is characterised by greater depth and higher academic expectations. Honours can be challenging but it can also be an exciting step in your educational and intellectual journey. The Academic Skills Centre would like to help ensure that you have the skills you will need to succeed. We offer a number of workshops which address topics relevant to Honours students.
The honours course is offered in Term 1. More info and enrolment
Academic Skills for Thesis Writers
This series of seminars is aimed specifically at students ‒ Master’s and PhD ‒ who are writing a thesis. These sessions together comprise a single course, however, you can choose to attend only those sessions that you will find useful.
Academic Skills for Thesis Writers is offered in the summer and at other times during the year. More info and enrolment
“I found all of the Academic Skills Centre seminars outstanding: positive, enthusiastic presenters, high standard of presentation, plentiful supply of relevant information provided, excellent inclusion of class members and entertaining too.
Thank you. The experience was very valuable for a mature student returning to university study after a number of years out in the workforce.” --- Terrelle
Other Relevant Workshops
Making Sentences Work, Giving an Oral Presentation, The Writing Process and Proofreading Your Final Draft might also be instructive. For those in the Sciences, Science Writing for Postgraduate Students is offered weekly during term times. These can all be found on the ASC Workshops page
If English is not your first language, two courses ‒ Speaking and Listening, and Reading and Writing for English Language Learners ‒ are designed to help you strengthen your English language skills.
In November each year, we host GradFest ‒ a week of seminars and workshops on a wide range of topics of interest to postgraduate students.
You are welcome to use other ASC services and resources.
The Adult Students' Programme is a series of four tutorials offered as extra tuition to help first-year adult students gain an insight into university culture and achieve academic success.
The weekly meetings during the term time provide an opportunity to have regular contact with a small group of first-year adult students, to learn university skills that will help raise grades, and to make a smooth transition to university studies.
Tutor: Jacqui Tither
Course Outline Adult Students (PDF 210KB)
- Demystifying the university system and time management
This section is designed to help students gain an insight into the university culture. It covers note-taking, goal-setting and effective study strategies. Most importantly, it demystifies academic conventions and writing styles, providing ‘inside knowledge’ to help make a smooth transition to university and academic success.
- Critical thinking
Critical thinking is an essential process required for all university assessment. This session will cover the important skills of independent thinking, the techniques of debating a point and drawing conclusions.
- Maximising your reading time
Would you like to improve your reading techniques? This session will discuss the reading process and present techniques for identifying and improving your reading speed; adjusting your reading technique to suit particular purposes; and learning effectively from written sources (including journal articles, books, and textbooks)
- Reading to understand difficult academic texts
Have you ever read a page of text and then wondered what it was all about? In this session, students will become aware of the writer’s structural cues that indicate where the most relevant meaning lies, and will learn how sifting for significance leads to comprehensive understanding of a difficult passage.
Even if the programme is fully booked, it is likely there will be space on the day, so feel free to turn up. If you would like to be notified when this lecture is next scheduled, request it at a different time or day, or just find out more, email Jacqui.
Te Puna Manawa/PASS Academic Skills programme is run in liaison with the Māori and Pacific Development Teams and takes into account the cultural and contextual component of writing and reading practices for Māori and Pacific Island students. The programme is offered throughout the year; it includes a formal study skills course which covers essay/report structure, critical thinking and constructing an argument, clarity, syntax, punctuation and layout. The programme also includes individual and group sessions, in which students can receive more specialised tuition in addressing the deeper language, literacy and discourse issues pertaining to specific disciplines.
Consultations are up to 40 minutes long and can cover any questions relating to writing, critical thinking or study. Here are some examples of the types of questions that students ask:
- Have I answered the question?
- How do I take effective notes in lectures or from my readings?
- Would you check the grammar in this essay? (We will explain any errors, but we do not proofread entire assignments.)
Consultations are held at the Academic Skills Centre, Level 3, Puaka-James Hight (Central Library) and are offered fortnightly. If you are bringing written work, print it in a 12-point font with double spacing. Also, please bring the handout with the essay question and any other relevant materials.
To book a one-to-one consultation with Jacqui Tither, phone (03) 369 3900.
Formal workshops: Dates and times and venue
- Wednesdays, 18 July to 15 August 1:00–1:50 pm (Learning Pod follows session from 2:00-2:50 pm): passed
The next set of dates for this learning event has not yet been scheduled.
Learning pod/group tutorials
(The next pod/tutorial for this learning event has not yet been scheduled).
The Academic Skills Centre supports students who have verified specific learning disorders (SLD), or who suspect that they may have difficulty in a particular aspect of learning. Many SLD students do not need major modifications to succeed at university, and the aim of the workshops and consultations is to help students discover different methods of learning which can promote academic success.
Students are given individual support in consultations to develop practical strategies and self advocacy in ways best suited to their preferred learning styles. Writing support can include checking that the question has been answered, that there is a clear logical argument, and that main ideas have been presented in a clear and effective order. Individual consultations are held at the Academic Skills Centre, Level 3, Puaka-James Hight (Central Library) and are offered one per fortnight.
If you are bringing written work, please print it in a 12-point font with double spacing. Also, please bring the handout with the essay question and any other relevant materials.
Phone (03) 369 3900 to book a one to one consultation with Dr Jacqui Tither, SLD Learning Advisor.
Learning pod/group tutorials
(The next pod/group tutorials have yet to be scheduled)
The Academic Skills Centre offers one-to-one consultations for distance students by phone and email. You can book an appointment by following these steps.
- Contact ASC by phone: (03) 369 3900 or Toll Free 0800 827 748, and ask for the Academic Skills Centre.
- Have in mind some dates/times that will suit you for a distance appointment
- Email your work from your university email address to your assigned advisor before 9 am on the appointment day, along with specific questions or concerns that you have. Please include the essay/assignment question if you have one.
- The advisor will read your paper for the first 25 minutes prior to calling you. For example if your appointment is at 2.00 pm, you will be phoned at approximately 2.25 pm.
- You and the advisor will work through the issues that you have both identified in the assignment, essay or report. Be ready to take notes and be sure to have your questions prepared!
- The total time of your appointment, including reading, will be 50 minutes. You are welcome to make an appointment as often as every two weeks for up to 10 appointments per year.
ASC also offers distance students quick query support. Quick queries can be anything on writing or study that can be answered in up to 10 minutes. A short query can be emailed to the general ASC mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on Toll Free 0800 827 748, and ask for the Academic Skills Centre. Please be aware that your question will be answered at the next available on call session.
We look forward to hearing from you!
A significant portion of our work supports the work of academic staff, both within scheduled courses and by means of additional customised services.
ASC can provide discipline- and course-specific sessions tailored to the skills and learning objectives identified by the lecturer as necessary for student success. Research shows that this kind of targeted skills training is particularly effective for enhancing students’ learning and performance.
Embedded teaching takes place either during scheduled course time or as supplementary classes, and can be designed to meet the needs of students in any course, from first year through to postdoctoral study. A sample of 2016 embedded teaching includes:
- Structuring an argument for Law
- Making posters and giving presentations for Engineering
- Essay writing for English
- Exam skills for Management
- Report writing for Psychology
- Annotated bibliographies for Education
- Report and thesis writing for Computer Science
Workshops and seminars
ASC offers workshops and seminars throughout the year. Those which focus on topics such as the writing process, thesis proposals, grammar, punctuation, concise writing, time management and exam preparation are suitable for all students. In addition, there are classes designed for specific student cohorts such as:
- Non-native English speakers
- Māori and Pasifika students
- Adult returning students
Supplementary workshops can also be created at the request of lecturers or students.
Academic staff regularly refer students for one-on-one appointments with Learning Advisors. While this direct feedback on written work is beneficial to students at all levels of study, it can be particularly valuable for postgraduate students who are navigating the complexities of thesis-level research and writing.
Distance learners have access to a range of ASC services too. We offer embedded sessions within courses where students are required to spend time on campus, and individual students are encouraged to schedule one-on-one telephone consultations. See the Distance students tab (above) for more information on the full range of services available.
Accessing ASC assistance
All ASC services are available free of charge. If you would like to discuss adding an embedded session to a course, it is advisable to email us at least a month in advance to ensure staff availability. Please indicate:
- The course and level
- The academic skills you would like covered
- Possible dates and time
For all enquiries
get in touch with the team at ASC