University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-101
Number of pages11
JournalBlended Learning in Practice
VolumeSpring 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021


One of the key roles of a university is to create independent learners. To achieve this students need guidance on how to learn independently, help to build their academic confidence, and direction on learning the discipline. This article investigates ways in which teachers can develop independent learners, specifically in the discipline of maths, with the focus on activities for first year university students. The activities proposed can be implemented within a standard university setting. Specific barriers to student learning are the threshold concepts of the discipline. Teaching students how to recognise and work through the threshold concepts can help them to develop as independent learners as well as speed up their learning progress. The following activities have been explored within a first year university maths environment:
1. A group presentation to enable students to get to know each other and to start developing their communication skills.
2. Students explain a threshold concept to their peers.
3. Students create their own maths problems and peer-review problems.
4. Weekly guidance on tasks expected of students to show them how to learn independently.
By making several changes to my teaching practice and assessments it has been possible to increase the focus on developing independent learners. Providing a more diverse range of activities has resulted in increased student satisfaction.

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