Your first study period at university is an exciting, but especially busy time when you will learn about all of the support services, systems, and processes attached to James Cook University. In the first few months, you will also have to navigate large, new physical and online environments and make new friends in your course of study. Students who are proactive participants in university life are more likely to stay and succeed, so be brave, embrace your new life, and get involved.
How will this module help me?
- Find out more about your JCU campuses
- Learn about the free, professional support services available
- Understand the different types of classes you will attend
- Discover all the extra-curricular activities you can join in with
How long will this module take?
Professional Support Services
We have a mantra at JCU that smart students seek support, so we encourage students to adopt proactive, help-seeking behaviours in order to succeed. This is especially important in first year, when you are aiming to become an independent, self-directed learner who manages their own study responsibilities. JCU offers a wealth of free, professional support services, which are detailed in the JCU Student Support Services Directory. The staff who work at these services are highly-trained, experienced professionals, including psychologists, occupational therapists, teachers, career counsellors, librarians etc, so you will receive high-quality advice and support tailored to your individual needs.
The support services are all available via phone or Zoom, if you would prefer to be contacted in the comfort of your own home. Lastly, aim to ‘study smarter, not harder’ and access these services early to fast track your success and minimise any unnecessary stress.
The purpose of a tutorial (or tute) is for a focused group discussion about subject content for the week, which is usually facilitated by a sessional tutor, who may be a PhD student with advanced knowledge in your field of study. They are usually one to two hours per subject, and are typically held in small classrooms with some of the students in your subject (10-30 people). There may be five (or more) repeated tutorial options for your subject each week, but you will only enrol in one class and attend that tute for the whole study period. External students will usually have their tutorials delivered via Collaborate.
Tutorials are for talking – so bring all your questions along that you would like to discuss and get answers to, as well as any pre-prepared tutorial activities. It is important to note that you may be graded on your tutorial participation (not just attendance), which could be worth 10% of your overall mark for the subject. Your sessional tutor may also be the marker of your subject assignments, and will often know you better than your lecturers due to the small class sizes for tutes.
These classes are designed for you to demonstrate practical skills in a scientific or computer laboratory, or an art studio. Like tutorials, workshops/labs are held in small classrooms for one to two hours each week. You will need to complete any preparation activities in advance and participate in guided demonstrations or undertake experiments, which you will usually be graded on. These classes may require you to wear protective clothing (lab coats, closed shoes) or bring some instruments/equipment that you have purchased, so it is good to budget funds for these expenses.
The purpose of field trips is to learn how to collect and apply data/information in relation to theory and produce reports as part of real-world learning. Your lecturer will usually facilitate these field trips, which are often located in remote sites, such as museums, JCU research centres, industry sites, and local/regional nature reserves. They can range in duration from one to five days and are a compulsory part of your course. Like laboratory classes, there is often costs attached to these mandatory field trips, such as bus fares, hire/purchase of technical equipment, accommodation, and food expenses.
These learning experiences are extended, hands-on practical experiences that take place in professional settings, and are not part of every course at JCU. Supervision is provided by professional staff on site in clinical, industry or community settings, which can be in a local or a remote region for one to six weeks at a time. Students are required to undertake preparation activities for their placement and perform duties as required to develop important graduate skills. Students must also cover the costs of any accommodation, meals, transport, clothing, etc. associated with these compulsory activities as part of their course. You can find out more information at the JCU Student Placements and Projects website.
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