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The Professional Communication Academic Literacy (PCAL) Support offered by the School of Nursing and Midwifery aims to equip nursing students with the literacy and English language skills necessary to successfully engage in academic writing and oral presentation tasks, and to develop the independent learning skills of students.
Tiffany Northall is talking to Suzanne D'Souza (PCALS Advisor) at the School of Nursing and Midwifery - Western Sydney University. The interview covers important topics related to PCALS support including:
- Who can access PCALS?
- PCAL Workshops
- Booking PCAL appointments
- How to contact PCALS?
- Library services and more.
Hear from current students about their PCAL experiences.
Who can obtain PCAL Support assistance?
All students enrolled in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, both undergraduate and post graduate, can access PCAL Skill Support.
Can external students obtain PCAL Support assistance?
External students can email PCAL Staff to make a virtual appointment where PCAL Staff may check an emailed draft of the student's writing and reply by email or make telephone or online contact during the allocated appointment time. External students must email the PCAL Staff a draft of written work at least one full day prior to the allocated appointment time. PCAL Staff will be able to offer guidance on the use of expression, grammar and structure on sections of student writing but will not proof or edit student work or comment on the specific nursing content being discussed in the writing. Students need to contact their nursing tutors and the Unit Coordinator with any content specific questions.
Who are the PCAL Staff?
The PCAL Staff are professionally trained literacy tutors with extensive experience in the teaching of academic literacy and language. The PCAL Staff work with a wide range of students and are sensitive to the cultural backgrounds and diverse linguistic and learning needs of students.
What assistance can PCAL Support provide?
PCAL Staff can provide students with advice on how to analyse an assignment question, and provide guidance on the development of skills in paraphrasing, summarising, structuring texts, organising information and making appropriate grammar and language choices for assessments involving written and oral communication. PCAL Staff can also assist in developing academic sills in reading such as skimming and scanning, and in listening and note taking.
Can PCAL Staff assist me with any nursing content?
PCAL staff will not assist or direct students in the use of content specific to the disciplines of nursing or midwifery in any assignments. Students will need to seek advice from their academic tutors about content-based questions.
What workshops do PCAL Staff offer?
PCAL Staff provide regular skills workshops on academic literacy involving academic writing, reading and grammar skills, and the use of effective oral communication skills. Assignment specific PCAL Support workshops are also provided for some units. Please check the unit vUWS sites and on your home campus for specific PCAL Skills and Support Workshops.
How often do PCAL Skills and Support Workshops run?
PCAL Skills and Support Workshops run on a weekly basis throughout the Autumn and Spring semesters. Please check on the unit vUWS sites (opens in a new window) and on your home campus for the dates and times of the PCAL Skills and Support Workshops.
How can I find out about PCAL Skills and Support Workshop times and locations?
Refer to the vUWS sites (opens in a new window) of the Units you are enrolled in to access information about PCAL Skills and Support Workshop dates, times and locations.
Do I need to book in for workshops?
You do not need to book for the PCAL Skills and Support Workshops. You can email PCAL Staff on your campus for workshop information. When you attend, you will be asked to fill in an attendance sheet and evaluation form for the workshop.
How do I contact PCAL Staff to make an appointment?
Appointments are made by email. A staff member will reply to your email during business hours. Emails received after 3:30pm will generally be responded to the following business day. To book in for a small group or a one-on-one consultation with a member of the PCAL Staff, please send an email to the NM address of your home campus.
Provide at least 3 different days and times you are available. In your email, please include your name and student number. Also include your year of study, the unit name/number and reason for requesting assistance, for example, 1st year, Professional Communication unit 401003 - Assignment 3. Request for a small group session to discuss the essay question.
How early should I book a PCAL Support appointment?
There is high demand for PCAL Support on each campus. It is important that you make appointments early in the semester otherwise you may not be able to be accommodated. Please email two weeks prior to the date you wish to book to secure the appointment date of your choice. In addition, please be advised that you cannot book a last minute appointment for an assessment in the week that it is due. You are asked to prepare in plenty of time and attend the PCAL Support Workshops in preparing for your assessments.
What days and times are PCAL Support appointments available?
PCAL Support appointments on your campus can be booked by email from 9:00am to 3:30pm, Monday to Friday during the teaching sessions each semester.
What do I bring to my PCALS appointment?
You must bring a printed copy of your writing for your assignment with you to the small groups or one to one appointment that includes appropriate in text references for all paraphrases and direct quotes. Also, bring your assignment question, marking criteria and submission guidelines, located in the Unit Learning Guide. Bring a pen/pencil so you can make notes and edit your own work.
How long are appointments with PCAL Staff?
Undergraduate students may book in for 30 minute appointments. Post Graduate students may request a longer appointment. Please note that appointment times may be reduced in peak periods, in order to accommodate other students.
How many times can I see PCAL Staff each week?
You may attend any of the PCAL Skills and Support Workshops. However, for small group and individual consultations students may be allocated only one appointment only per week, particularly during peak periods in the teaching weeks of semester. Postgraduate students may request longer appointments per week if required.
How many times can PCAL Staff comment on each assignment draft?
Students are encouraged to work collaboratively in the PCAL Skill and Support Workshops to review drafts of their own assignments. The sections of a draft for an assessment or the complete draft may be commented on once only by a member of the PCAL Staff, typically this would occur in stages. Students can attend a PCAL Skills and Support Workshop before beginning to write a draft if help is needed in understanding the requirements of an assignment task.
Where are the PCAL Staff located and in which buildings do the appointments take place?
PCAL Skills and Support Workshops are scheduled in tutorial rooms for groups of students on each campus. PCAL support appointments for small groups and one-to-one consultations are conducted in PCAL Staff offices, located in a School of Nursing and Midwifery building on each campus:
- Parramatta South campus - Building EB.LG
- Campbelltown campus - Building 17
- Hawkesbury campus - Building G10
How do I inform PCAL Staff that I have arrived for my appointment?
A phone is located in the foyer of each School Office. Students need to dial the extension number listed next to the internal phone to contact the appropriate PCAL Staff member when they arrive for the appointment.