Progressing to Undergraduate Study in Hospitality and Tourism Dr Pete Cannell (pcannell@qmuc.Ac.uk)
Background • Higher national awards in Scotland • 25% of HE students in FECs • The widening participation forums • Mapping, tracking and bridging • School of business and enterprise at queen Margaret university college
Patterns of Progression • ‘It is evident that the further and higher education sectors could be better informed about the volume and pattern of student progression from FE to HE’ • (MacLennan et al, 2000)
Transition • CHERI report (2004) found: ‘… a high degree of consensus about the importance of the issues of first year support…’but‘it found relatively little consensus about how these issues should best be tackled.’
The Study • Interviewing hospitality, tourism and events management students with HN awards pre and post-entry • Contextualised by questionnaire data from larger group of students
Learning Pathways • The report highlights the extent to which direct entrants acquire maturity in motivation and attitudes to study in the course of learning pathways, which often encompass ‘false starts’ straight from school, full and part-time employment and college study.
Case Study 1 • Student ‘B’ went straight from school to University (in Northern Ireland) to study but left after the first Semester. She found the University style very different from school and wasn’t sure if this was what she wanted to do. She transferred the following year to a Further Education College. The Tech course in Tourism seemed more interesting – more work related and also fitted with an interest in learning Spanish. At the end of the course she ended up living in Spain for 6 months and planned to start at QMUC in the following year.
Case Study 2 • Student ‘D’ had a two-year gap between leaving school and enrolling on an HNC. He worked in various part-time jobs before college and continued to do this while at college. After a year he transferred to the HND and then planned to move to the third year of an articulated degree course.
Breadth of Career Aims • Students with quite specific career aims and on vocational courses still value open-ness and breadth.
Influences • Expectations of university study seem to be shaped most strongly by peers and by college staff who have particular links with the university.
Induction • The first few days at university are critical to the success of transition. Students want the chance to meet and form relationships with their peers, to orient themselves in relation to their new surroundings and to have clear information about timetabling and the distribution of course contact time. • Administrative and academic information given in the first few days of the first semester is largely a waste of time as students suffer from ‘information overload’.
Transition • Direct entrants to the third year at university find that there is no major gap in their subject knowledge. • Direct entrants feel that the skills they bring with them are not always recognised in bridging courses or by university staff.
Skills • Students with HN qualifications embarking on undergraduate study bring with them a diversity of skills and experience acquired at college and in the workplace. • Support for the development of academic writing skills to cope with a diverse range of assessment methods is not well integrated into the curriculum.
Recommendations - Induction Should: • Be staged to avoid information overload. • Facilitate social links with peers. • Provide clear and accurate information on timetables and programme organisation. • Allow opportunities for orientation to the campus. • Link in a coherent way to ongoing support in modules and through the personal academic tutor system.
Recommendations - Bridging Should: • Avoid a deficit model. • Be grounded in a constructivist approach, which recognises, values and builds on the diversity of skills that direct entrants bring with them. • Recognise the importance of the development of academic writing skills and adopt a pedagogical approach consistent with that which the students will encounter in subsequent modules.
Recommendations - Peer Support • Mentoring or buddying arrangements should be available for direct entrants.
Recommendations - Learning Skills Development • Institutions should aim for a coherent approach to learning skills development across and between modules. The development of generic materials that can be customised and used within modules may be one way of achieving this.
Recommendations –Staff Development • Focus on developing an awareness of the diversity of student skills and backgrounds and the ways in which the curriculum can be developed and adapted to make positive use of this. • Support staff to develop and use forms of formative assessment that can support student learning.