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The University of Southampton

PRES0002 Independent Learning (Pre-sessional Course A)

Module Overview

This module is non-credit bearing and forms part of Pre-sessional Course A. Within this module, you will develop a set of skills, strategies and techniques that will collectively contribute to your understanding of learner autonomy in a UK Higher Education environment. This professional skills set is transferable and will be valuable not only in the immediate context but also in your further education and employment.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

In recent years the importance of the role of independent learning with its emphasis on student-centeredness has been recognised as an integral part of EAP programmes. As part of the development of focussed EAP independent learning modules, the use of blended technology has proved to be particularly beneficial and throughout the module you will be encouraged to develop and engage with such tools. This independent learning programme was specially designed as a core part of the EAP Pre-Sessional programmes. Its rationale is to provide a scaffold for you to develop your independent study skills. The range and variety of support offered by the introduction of blended technology is intended to allow you to individualise the pace and focus of your learning. The Pre-Sessional independent learning module is designed to equip you with the transferable study skills that you need to be successful on not only the Pre-Sessional programme but also within the wider university environment. The module is designed to work in partnership with the reading and writing and listening and speaking syllabi. Alongside the weekly study skills session (indicative content detailed below) you will also have the opportunity to attend an advising session with a member of the Language and Academic Advising Team. Together with the compulsory elements of the module (Academic Skills classes), you also have the option to attend extra-curricular activities such as conversation cafés, drop-in advice clinics, and support seminars.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand what is expected of you as an autonomous learner in the UK Higher Education system
  • Efficiently and effectively identify reliable sources appropriate for your discipline
  • Employ critical researching skills
  • Reflect on you individual learning styles and employ methods to aid your own learning
  • Understand strategies for learning such as time-management, organisation and motivation
  • Employ referencing conventions and have a general knowledge of referencing management software
  • Understand and effectively use digital tools and systems to enhance your learning


A. INTRODUCTION TO INDEPENDENT LEARNING 1. Understand the importance of Independent Learning during the module and in a UK university. 2. Understand classroom expectations during the module. 3. Understand expectations of seminar groups and skills in independent learning sessions. 4. Learn how to book advising sessions. Brief introduction to the importance of Blackboard on the Pre-sessional programme. Introduction the EAP Toolkit. 5. Become familiar with Library resources B. LEARNING RESOURCES 1. You will learn how a range of materials and resources available to you at the university can be best applied for independent language learning and academic study. This will include materials based at the library, as well as virtual materials. C. DEVELOPING AWARENESS OF CRITICAL THINKING IN YOUR SEMINAR SKILLS 1. General review of the concepts of critical thinking such as analyse, argue, question, evaluate and reflect. 2. Seminar skills review such as preparation, active participation. D. RESEARCHING SKILLS 1. Introduction to researching effectively. 2. Planning and directing your research. 3. Using the library databases. 4. You will learn how to effectively plan a library session using the Internet 5. Using search engines effectively and critically analysing materials found over the internet E. REVIEWING REFERENCING 1. Having identified materials this is a review as to how to use and cite resources in an academic context. F. USING FEEDBACK AND REFLECTION TO IMPROVE LANGUAGE LEARNING 1. Identifying feedback as a resource. 2. Responding positively to feedback. 3. Implementing feedback. 4. Strategies to improve. G. ACTIVE LEARNING 1. Identify and implement successful active learning/studying strategies. 2. Recognising and reflecting upon key comparisons between active and passive learning/studying. H. TIME-MANAGEMENT, ORGANISATION AND MOTIVATION 1. Considering how to manage time and how to manage it more effectively. 2. Considering cultural norms in relation to time keeping. 3. Introduction to different ways of organisation, paper based and electronic. 4. Introduction to reference management software, Endnote, Mendeley and Zotero 5. Learning about what motivates us and how we can stay motivated throughout the Pre-sessional programme. I. CRITICALLY ASSESSING RESOURCES 1. Critically assessing resources. 2. Peer review, who wrote it, when it was produced, suitability. 3. Rigorous research methodologies J. EXAM STRATEGIES 1. Explore approaches and attitudes to exams in the UK including collusion and cheating. 2. Identify and discuss examination strategies. 3. Identifying needs and targeting needs. 4. Using appropriate study strategies and learning resources. 5. Time-management. 6. Managing exam stress/nerves.

Special Features

This independent learning module forms part of Pre-sessional Course A and is taught alongside academic reading and writing and academic listening and speaking.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

You will experience a wide variety of teaching and learning methods including: workshops; individual, pair and group work in class; set tasks to be completed outside class; use of technology for learning; advising sessions.

Independent Study1
Total study time33

Resources & Reading list

Northedge, A (2005). The Good Study Guide. 

Lowes, R, Peters, H, and Turner, M (2004). The International Student’s Guide: Studying English at University. 

Reinders, H, Moore, N, and Lewis, M (2008). The International Student Handbook. 

A wide selection of study skills books are also available in both Avenue and Hartley libraries. 


Cottrell, S (2008). The Study Skills Handbook. 

Pears, R, and Shields, G (2010). Cite Them Right: The Essential Referencing Guide. 


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

All set texts and teaching costs are met by the University.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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