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Students’ early experiences and University interventions to support the transition of first year undergraduates. Julie Prior. Session outline. University of Glamorgan How it all began, a programme specific initiative The ‘Timeline’: findings from a programme and faculty pilot

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Julie prior

Students’ early experiences and University interventions to support the transition of first year undergraduates

Julie Prior

Student Writing in Transition Symposium 2011 (NTU)


Session outline

Session outline

  • University of Glamorgan

  • How it all began, a programme specific initiative

  • The ‘Timeline’: findings from a programme and faculty pilot

  • Faculty Advice Shops

  • Online learner support tools - cross faculty

  • Final thoughts

  • Current research


University context

Total students – 23,900 (17,000 on campus)

84% undergraduates

60% full time

19% EU and overseas

32% under 21, 39% aged 22-29, 29% aged 30+

4 Academic Faculties

Advanced Technology

Business and Society

Creative & Cultural Industries

Health, Sport and Science

University context


Initiatives to target at risk groups

Initiatives

to target

‘at risk’

groups

Buddy Scheme

Late Starter Support

Resit Revision Week

PASS

Drop-in

Room

Progress Meetings

Initiatives to target‘at risk’ groups

on Year 1 of theBA Business Study Scheme

(2001-3)


Year 1 retention performance

Main Initiatives

Attendance monitoring

Absence follow ups

Monitor coursework submission and grades – results follow ups

Exit interviews / ‘drop out’ follow ups

Central contact point for first years

Drop-in visitor analysis

Student profiles - problems, experiences, etc

Award Board analysis

Follow up non-progression

Outcomes

Accurate data

Reasons for WD/TFR/SS

Identification of

- at risk groups

- key risk times

Set up of early warning systems

‘Risk’ specific initiatives for 2002/3

Year 1 – retention & performance


Key findings 2001 2

High risk groups

Late enrolees

Repeating students

Existing HE transfers in

Unprepared/transition issues

In HE for wrong reasons

High risk times

Induction and enrolment

Early weeks of first term

Summer / re-enrolment

withdrawal v non-progression

Key findings 2001/2


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Buddy

Scheme

Resit

Revision

Week

‘at risk’

groups

Drop-In Room

PASS

Progress

Meetings

Late Starter

Support

Initatives to target

'at risk' groups


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‘at risk’

groups

Buddy

Scheme

Late Starter Support

Resit

Revision

Week

Drop-in Room

P A S S

Progress

Meetings


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The Buddy Scheme – informal email contact with a designated second year student

Aims

Support early transition to HE environment

Provide additional ‘informal’ support networks

Offer personal and individual contact link

‘Unprepared’ – highest cited reason for WD & SSEarly disengagement – highest withdrawals during induction and first few weeks of term


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‘at risk’

groups

Buddy

Scheme

Resit

Late Starter Support

Revision

Week

Drop-in Room

PASS

Progress

Meetings


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Mini-induction events for late enrolees / transfers in

Late starter packs

Ongoing email contact and/or progress meetings

Linked with another first year student

Aims

Facilitate integration into the Award

Combat feelings of isolation - being ‘out of the loop’

  • 2001/2 - 10 late starters - only 4 progressed to year 22002/3 – 17 late starters - only 5 progressed to year 2


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‘at risk’

groups

Buddy

Scheme

Late Starter Support

Resit

Revision

Week

Drop-in Room

P A S S

Progress

Meetings


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Established a base room, where students can informally call in for information, advice and guidance

Aims

Provide an accessible and non-judgmental central contact point for students

Act as an intermediary/sign post for other services

Early identification of problems – pre-empt cumulative effect which can lead to withdrawal

  • Reasons for ‘drop-out’ can be complex and inter-related, but often solvable with right intervention and support


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‘at risk’

groups

Buddy

Scheme

Resit

Late Starter Support

Revision

Week

Drop-in Room

P A S S

Progress

Meetings


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Progress meetings with:

Repeating students

Students with low attendance records

Students with non-submissions, failure or low grades in early assessments

Aims

Maintain regular contact with ‘at risk’ students

Action planning – successful strategies for continuing

Encourage students to be proactive in addressing difficulties and or ineffective behaviour


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‘at risk’

groups

Buddy

Scheme

Resit

Late Starter Support

Revision

Week

Drop-in Room

P A S S

Progress

Meetings


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Peer Assisted Student Support - a mentoring programme run by level 2 student volunteers

Study skills workshops to target specific problem areas, eg: time management, academic writing, research and referencing, etc

Aims

Support academic transition to HE standards and expectations

Offer students additional scheme specific academic support

Encourage the formation of study groups


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‘at risk’

groups

Buddy

Scheme

Late Starter Support

Resit

Revision

Week

Drop-in Room

P A S S

Progress

Meetings


2000 1 33 students 15 failed to progress to 2 nd year 2001 2 only 13 students 8 failed to progress

Free, week long revision event during the summer

subject specific exam, assignment and open sessions

daily advice surgery

study skills workshops

Aims

Raise performance and attendance at resits

Encourage ‘clean progression’ to year 2

Opportunity to offer academic advice and guidance to failing students

2000/1 - 33 students (15%) failed to progress to 2nd year 2001/2 – only 13 students (8%) failed to progress

20 students @ £4,500 per annum = £90,000


Estimated saves over 2 years

2001/2 17 @ £4,500 per annum = £76,500

2002/3 20 @ £4,500 per annum = £90,000

Potential projected revenue £499.5k

2003

Cross school role

Support extended to all first year UG students in Business School

Estimated ‘saves’ over 2 years


Julie prior dr karen fitzgibbon

Julie Prior& Dr Karen Fitzgibbon

Student Expectations and University Interventions - a timeline to aid undergraduate student retention


The project 2001 3

Student Achievement Co-ordinator

Year 1 BA Business Studies Scheme

(approximately 200 students)

Advice Shop Manager

School of Humanities and Social Sciences

(approximately 5,000 students)

The project (2001-3)


Timeline to aid student retention

Timeline to aid student retention


Zone 1 issues

preparedness

integration/isolation

adaptation to new environment

understanding HE expectations

Students expecting contact

Zone 1 issues


Examples of student dialogue

“At school my teachers told me what to do and when to do it. Here, [university] I’m just left to get on with it.”

“My friends spoke of ‘your University friends’ (who they never met) as if these people were an odd bunch of misfits who wore scarves and smoked dope all day.”

“I found it so hard living at home, still looking after my little sister, being expected to pick her up from school even when that meant missing a lecture. My parents just didn’t understand how different I needed to be as a university student compared to when I was doing my A levels.”

Examples of student dialogue


Key elements for reducing attrition in zone 1

Comprehensive induction, staffed by ‘the good guys’

A central point of contact for student queries

‘Catch up’ provision for late enrolees

Key elements for reducing attrition in Zone 1


Zone 2 issues

time-management

made the right choice

- award?

- university as a whole?

Students maintaining contact

Zone 2 issues


Examples of student dialogue1

“Wow Uni is great - partying, new friends, coming and going whenever I want, sleeping in, only 12 hours of classes. Then BOOM assignments!

Suddenly I didn’t know if I was coming or going. Up late reading, then partying, sometimes not going to bed at all. First assignment 27% - from then on I started to manage myself a lot differently.”

“I want to leave. Everything is so different and I can’t cope. I miss my family, I’m not enjoying the subjects and my first assignment…well I haven’t got a clue where to start”.

Examples of student dialogue


Key elements for reducing attrition in zone 2

Establish early warning systems to identify students ‘at risk’

register checks, non submissions, etc

Ensure necessary support measures in place

Key elements for reducing attrition in Zone 2


Zone 3 issues

disengaging

drifting off

non-submission

poor attendance

Students seeking contact

Zone 3 issues


Examples of student dialogue2

“My lecturer keeps telling me that university is a whole new ball-game...my work has to be a critical appraisal, with evidence and references to back up my argument – but what exactly does this mean?”

“In the beginning I thought this is easier than my A’ levels, but that was because I didn’t really understand what I was supposed to be doing. I mean I went to all my lessons and everything, but other than that I pretty much just hung out with my new friends. It took me a while to catch on to the all the ‘extra’ time I should be putting in.”

Examples of student dialogue


Zone 4 issues

drift away

academic failure

resits

failure to progress versus withdrawal

Students needing contact

Zone 4 issues


Examples of student dialogue3

“I haven’t sat an exam for nearly 20 years. I just don’t think I’m going to be able to cope.”

“I know I should have prepared better, but the exams seemed ages away and I planned to catch up over the holidays. I feel I’m slipping further and further behind and I’m really frightened I’m going to fail.”

“Does a D grade mean I’ve failed?”

“I’ve failed some modules. Am I allowed to continue - will I be kicked off the course?”

Examples of student dialogue


Key elements for reducing attrition in zone 4

Contact underachievers - provide clear and constructive feedback on their results

Ensure staff are available to offer practical guidance and advice on strategies for continuing

Vigilant monitoring at the start of the new term – who has not returned?

Key elements for reducing attrition in Zone 4


Timeline conclusions

Multi-faceted issue

Pigeon-holing responsibility/staff development

Engaging students with the service

Simplistic interventions work

Timeline conclusions


2005 an advice shop in every faculty

2005An Advice Shop in every faculty


Advice shops baseline provision one stop shops

STUDENT FACING - Drop-in service/appointment system to provide:

Academic advice

Pastoral care

Withdrawal, suspend studies, transfer advice

Mitigating circumstances advice

Referral to other faculties and support departments

FACULTY FACING

Establishing appropriate Mitigating Circumstances process

Involvement in open days, induction, etc

Designing and implementing intervention processes

Communicating between Faculty staff, students and other Uni support depts

Use data captured to produce a research programme for Advice Shops

Advice Shops’ baseline provision‘one stop shops’


Student pressures before

Student pressures – before


After

…..after


The glamorgan online learner support tools

The GlamorganOnline Learner Support Tools


Glamorgan online learner support tools

Glamorgan Online Learner Support Tools


Question sets

Question sets


Examples of transition questions

Examples of transition questions

  • Are you enjoying your studies?

  • How do you feel you are settling into university life?

  • Do you have a good idea of the approach you need to take to pass your studies?

  • Have you missed any time-tabled sessions?

  • Do you understand why you need to work independently at university?


Sample question

Sample question


Sample of data from 2010 11

Sample of data from 2010-11


Sample of data from 2010 111

Sample of data from 2010-11


Final thoughts

Final thoughts...

  • Reliable data about the student experience

  • Evidence based initiatives

  • Can be, but don’t have to be resource intensive

  • Get staff buy in

  • Disseminate data for institutional learning


Current research

Current research

  • What do we know about the experience of students who have considered leaving their studies?

  • The changing nature of students’ social experience within University

  • Student profiling at induction - understanding student expectations and perceptions of HE study


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