At the ALDinHE 2009 conference Steve Rooney and I ran a workshop entitled Disciplinary Action: Working with subjects-departments to design and deliver academic skills training and resources.
We began by introducing ourselves (we're very polite), then explained a bit about how the Student Learning Centre has evolved over the years and gave a brief overview of the workshop. We then ran our first activity - getting delegates to place their service on a spectrum (a piece of masking tape sneakily stuck on the floor before hand) representing the location of the services that they offer - central at one end, departmental at the other. We had no idea how people would arrange themselves, but as it turned out there was a fairly even spread - including representation at the extremes. There were people who considered their services purely departmental (because they were based in a particular faculty or department) and others who considered theirs purely central. We had an interesting discussion at this point about whether being located in a department meant that the skills training offered in this context was therefore 'embedded'.
Finally delegates looked at a case study to encourage discussions around what embedded skills training actually means and how it can be improved. I've long had the notion that skills modules are the thing to aim for when working with departments, but preparing this workshop has got me thinking about whether or not it should be. Whilst it might be embedded from my point of view, is it embedded from the students point of view? Do students perceive skills modules as integrated or do they perceive them as silo-ed? What do you think?