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The University of Southampton

PRES0021 Independent Learning (Pre-sessional LTTC Taiwan-Southampton)

Module Overview

This module is non-credit bearing and forms part of the Pre-sessional LTTC Taiwan-Southampton Pathway. Part 1 is based at the Language Training and Testing Center (LTTC) at National Taiwan University and Part 2 is based at the University of Southampton. On this pathway, you study academic speaking, listening, reading and writing, and also attend independent learning workshops to further develop critical thinking and study skills necessary to succeed at the University. Within the independent learning 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. The Independent Learning module follows the University of Southampton Pre-sessional Course B Independent Learning syllabus during your time at the University of Southampton, and is also an integral part of the LTTC syllabus.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

In recent years the importance of the role of independent learning with its emphasis on student-centredness has been recognised as an integral part of EAP programmes (see Appendix 1). As part of the development of focused EAP independent learning programmes, 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 module was specially designed as a core part of the EAP Pre-Sessional programmes. Its rationale was 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 was 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 (detailed below) you will also attend a compulsory advising session once a week with your Independent Learning Advisor (ILA) when in Southampton. Additionally, during the module, you will also be required to write a reflective blog of your language learning process. Together with the compulsory elements of the module, you also have the option to attend conversation cafés and drop-in clinics. Independent learning is also prioritised on the LTTC syllabus (prior to arriving in Southampton); however sessions are based around developing computer-based research and language development skills and engagement with learning, referencing and developmental resources. Tutorials and dedicated sessions are open for two hours daily, and you are encouraged to interact and engage reflectively in the learning process, which develops towards the Independent Learning module at Southampton.

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 your 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


PART 1: LTTC TAIWAN INDEPENDENT LEARNING SYLLABUS Independent Learning on part one of the Pre-sessional Taiwan-Southampton Pathway (at the LTTC) offers an introduction to independent learning, engagement with expectations of autonomy in a university context and development of skills and thinking that are continued and expanded upon during your studies on Pre-sessional Course B in Southampton. Learning activities involve daily two-hour timetabled sessions for individual study (with computer access) and a weekly workshop where students engage with ideas and practices of independent study, particularly in relation to points A, B, E, G, H, I and K set out below. At the LTTC, independent learning is closely connected with ongoing tasks and assignments, such as collaborative or individual research and developing language skills and knowledge with the aid of various resources available to you during your studies. PART 2: UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON INDEPENDENT LEARNING SYLLABUS (PRE-SESSIONAL COURSE B) A. INTRODUCTION TO INDEPENDENT LEARNING • Understanding the importance of IL during the course and in a UK university. • Developing awareness of classroom expectations during the course. • Knowing the expectations of seminar groups and skills in independent learning sessions. • Learning the importance of Blackboard on the course. Introduction to eFolio and the EAP Toolkit. Using Doodle to book advising sessions. • Becoming familiar with the Language Resource Centre (LRC). B. LEARNING RESOURCES • Appreciating how the range of materials and resources available to you at both universities (NTU and Southampton) can be best applied for independent language learning. This will include virtual materials. C. INTRODUCTION TO BLOGGING • Engaging with blogging as a form of reflective writing. • Learning how to use Wordpress. D. DEVELOPING AWARENESS OF CRITICAL THINKING IN YOUR SEMINAR SKILLS • Reviewing of the concepts of critical thinking such as analysis, argumentation, questioning, evaluation and reflection. • Reviewing seminar skills such as preparation and active participation. E. RESEARCHING SKILLS • Undertaking an introduction to researching effectively. • Planning and directing your research. • Using the library databases. • Learning how to effectively plan a library session using the internet, Webcat and TdNet. • Using search engines effectively and critically, and analysing materials found on the internet F. REVIEWING REFERENCING • Using and citing resources in an academic context. G. USING FEEDBACK AND REFLECTION TO IMPROVE LANGUAGE LEARNING • Identifying feedback as a resource. • Responding positively to feedback. • Implementing feedback. • Developing strategies to improve. H. ACTIVE LEARNING • Identifying and implementing successful active learning/studying strategies. • Recognising and reflecting upon key comparisons between active and passive learning/studying. I. TIME-MANAGEMENT, ORGANISATION AND MOTIVATION • Considering how to manage time and how to manage it more effectively. • Considering cultural norms in relation to time keeping. • Being introduced to different ways of organisation: paper based and electronic. • Sampling reference management software, Endnote, Mendeley and Zotero • Learning about what motivates us and how to keep motivated throughout the course. J. CRITICALLY ASSESSING RESOURCES • Critically assessing resources. • Peer reviewing. • Developing rigorous research methodologies K. ESSAY PLANNING • Linking all sessions. • Planning time, collecting data, organising resources, utilising reading strategies, making critical assessments, reviewing basic essay, paragraph and sentence structure advice, and referencing. L. EXAM STRATEGIES • Exploring approaches and attitudes to exams in the UK including collusion and cheating. • Identifying and discuss examination strategies. • Identifying needs and targeting needs. • Using appropriate study strategies and learning resources. • Improving time-management skills. • Managing exam stress/nerves.

Special Features

This independent learning module forms part of LTTC Taiwan-Southampton Pre-sessional Pathway and is taught alongside academic speaking, academic listening, academic reading, and academic writing.

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; and freer discussion/task sessions.

Resources & Reading list

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

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

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

General resources. A wide selection of study skills books are also available in the Hartley library and Learning Resources Centre. Extra independent learning resources at the University of Southampton can be found in the Language Resources Centre (LRC) and Avenue Library – both located at Avenue Campus – as well as at the RTC and Hartley libraries.


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

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


Assessment Strategy

Independent learning is not assessed.

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