Instructional Support is part of the Quality System for Education at University of Stavanger (UiS), and includes all systematic measures that help make learning and teaching easier and more accessible to the university's staff and students. Instructional Support helps making the studies universally designed.
Instructional Support is one of the areas that has seen limitations caused by the corona pandemic. A number of measures and regulations applies to all physical scenarios and interactions, as reported on the university's coronavirus information page. A question service for students has been established as part of the digital study expedition. This may be used for corona-related questions that is not answered on the coronavirus information page.
Other services may also apply to corona-related Instructional Support problems. The Student Welfare Organisation in Stavanger (SiS) has counselling services for students. In cooperation with the Student Organization StOr and the University of Stavanger (UiS), the Student Welfare Organisation in Stavanger (SiS) supports the initiative «We all need someone», presenting services and advice to students, underlining the importance of good conversations, nice experiences and social events during the corona period.
In Norway, there are no national requirements or guidelines specifically addressing the universities' Instructional Support or how it should be organised. Instructional Support should nevertheless work towards meeting the general legal requirements for universal design and support, and for the general legal requirements with regards to the working, studying, and learning environment. Due to the lack of national guidelines, it is up to each individual university how it will design and organise its Instructional Support, and it differs quite a lot between the universities in Norway.
There used to be a divide between learning support and teaching / instructional support. Nowadays, the term Instructional Support is used as a collective term for both areas. This is not the least due to an increasing emphasis on student-active learning, where many of the learning arenas have students in roles both giving and receiving instruction. While some of the Instructional Support elements at UiS are directed primarily towards employees, others are aimed primarily at students, and some address all students and staff.
Instructional Support at UiS
At UiS, Instructional Support is organised in line with the university's general organisational model. Elements offered to all students and/or staff regardless of faculty/department or study programme, are mostly organised centrally. Elements that have students and/or employees within an organisational unit as their primary target group will normally be organised within that unit.
Much of the centrally organised learning support is organised through the Education Department, NettOp-UiS, UiS continuing education, the University Library, the Student Welfare Organisation in Stavanger, the Student Organisation StOr, the Unit for University Pedagogical Work Uniped, and by Attende with its «Studies with Support» initiative. Instructional Support from these units is provided regardless of which faculty or department staff and students are affiliated. In other cases the target group for the support offerings will be limitated.
Stavanger University Library
The University Library is a key provider of Instructional Support for students and staff. In addition to the main library at Ullandhaug, there are special libraries in Bjergsted, at the Archaeological Museum, and at Stavanger University Hospital.
The library provides access to extensive academic material, both for the subject areas at Ullandhaug, and for other subjects and disciplines. The students at UoS are also offered reading space. The University Library runs the university's Learning Support Centre, offering evaluation of reading and writing difficulties, as well as academic guidance to students at UiS who have special challenges. The Learning Support Centre offers learning support to students with reading and writing difficulties in the form of individual learning support, help with assignment writing, study techniques, and the writing of applications.
Instructional Support by aid of the library's Data Lab and the 3D-lab is available for students and teachers, while the study workshop is aimed specifically at students.
The library's courses and seminar/webinar programmes form an important part of the instructional support. Most courses are open to all students and staff at UiS, in both Norwegian and English. Lecturers at UiS can book courses from the library for integration into their teaching. The content of these courses may be adapted to the needs of the participants. The course and seminars offered ranges from courses in academic writing, through use of analytical tools and reference tools, to programming techniques and general life skills.
Uniped contributes to the employees at the University of Stavanger (UiS) being offered good academic support structures in their work to promote the quality of teaching. The unit shall contribute to the scientific staff developing and improving their foundation for professional teaching.
The unit for university pedagogical work is located in the university's Division of Education. The unit provides instructional support, among other things, through various courses for the development and further development of the teaching competence that is required in the university's strategy and in current legislation. The unit is also working on the university's merit scheme for educators. Read more on Uniped's website.
NettOp-UiS is the department for development of digital learning resources and solutions for online education at UoS, thus making direct contributions to instructional support for employees and students.
NettOp-UiS has a practical approach to the development of digital teaching and the implementation of e-learning, always working towards the learning objectives and the teacher's pedagogical goals. NettOp-UiS can assist with instructional support in the form of advice regarding the format and didactics of web-supported or web-based courses, with text and scripts for digital teaching materials and with video, visual elements for digital teaching materials, online dissemination; photo processing, video recording, drawing, animation, et cetera. Read more on NettOp-UiS's website.
The student organisation at UiS - StOr - works to safeguard the students' democratic, academic and social needs and rights. The students' need for instructional support is included in this. Instructional support is among the tasks taken care of by the student organisation's working committee. The «Fadder» sponsorship scheme for students as well as recruitment and follow-up of the elected representative scheme for students are both included in this. Both schemes include instructional support, and within the elected representative scheme, the instructional support also includes training and assistance given to the individual elected representatives. The elected representative scheme covers around 300 students in various positions of trust, ranging from the individual course representatives to elected representatives in central councils and boards. Read more on the student organisation's website, and on the student organisation's own website.
It is academically challenging to be a student, and all students come to university with their own individual preconditions. When preconditions creates additional challenges and burdens, it is possible to get adaptations and facilitation.
Facilitation of the study situation may concern physical or practical conditions, or pedagogical measures.
The University of Stavanger has an office for such facilitation of the study situation. Read more on the webpage for facilitation for students with additional needs.
SiS Health is a free health service for all students who have paid the semester fee. The SiS Health offering includes a number of services, some of them falling within the Instructional Support framework.
SiS has a public health nurse, psychologists, a social worker and a physiotherapist who can all provide help when needed. SiS Health also offers several courses and group services. The psychologists in SiS Health have created an advisory webpage for those who are struggling to settle into student life. The webpage aims to be useful for those struggling with stress, anxiety, loneliness, or other burdens. Read more about the offerings on the SiS Health webpage.