Understanding managing first year risk factors
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Understanding & managing first-year risk factors. Tina Uys Department of Sociology. Diversity of students. Diverse types of schooling Diverse financial positions Varies from students with generations of university experience to 1 st generation students Diverse exposure to technology.

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Understanding managing first year risk factors

Understanding & managing first-year risk factors

Tina Uys

Department of Sociology


Diversity of students
Diversity of students

  • Diverse types of schooling

  • Diverse financial positions

  • Varies from students with generations of university experience to 1st generation students

  • Diverse exposure to technology


What do they have in common
What do they have in common?

  • Used to external discipline

  • Extensive contact time

  • Limited expectations outside the class room

  • Relatively small classes

  • Lots of free time

  • No conception of 40 hour work week


What do we want to achieve
What do we want to achieve?

  • Promote changes in thinking, especially with regard to beliefs about knowing and learning

  • Critical thinking: ability to identify and evaluate multiple perspectives in an effort to make informed decisions in their personal and professional lives

  • Beliefs about knowledge impact beliefs about learning


Beliefs about knowledge
Beliefs about knowledge

  • Absolutism/objectivism: Knowledge absolute/transferable; facts disconnected from everyday thinking

  • Multiplism/Subjectivism: Knowledge based on personal opinion

  • Evaluativism: Evidence-based critique of multiple perspectives

    • Complex: critique of theoretical knowledge

    • Practical: critique of practical experiences


Conceptions of learning
Conceptions of learning

  • Qualitative: Intention to make meaning

    • Understanding

    • Seeing different perspectives

    • Change as a person

  • Quantitative: Focus on aggregating information

    • Increasing one’s knowledge

    • Acquisition, memorising, recall

    • Application

  • Transitional: Meanings in practical contexts important

    • Practical understanding

    • Sense making


Link between personal epistemology and learning
Link between personal epistemology and learning

  • Non-availing beliefs: Views about knowledge that hinder learning

    • Objectivist beliefs – quantitative conceptions of learning

    • Subjectivist beliefs – transitional or quantitative – latter predominant


Link between personal epistemology and learning 2
Link between personal epistemology and learning (2)

  • Availing beliefs: Views about knowledge that help learning

    • Practical evaluativism: conceptions of learning transitional or quantitative with transitional predominant

    • Complex evaluativistic: Qualitative conceptions of learning


What do we want to promote
What do we want to promote?

  • Assist first year students to move from views of knowledge that state that all opinions are valid (subjectivistic) or that knowledge consists of simple content that need to be mastered (objectivistic) to

  • An understanding of the constructed nature of knowledge as complex, tentative & evidence-based


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