This Project - Durham University

Report
Transitions into HE
Supporting Student Study Skills Development at Distance
Sam Nolan
Eleanor Loughlin
Malcolm Murray
Elaine Tan
To Cover
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The Idea
Where it comes from
The Project
Where we are at
Contributing to the Project
The Idea
The Idea
“At the heart of successful retention and success is a
strong sense of belonging in HE for all students. This is
most effectively nurtured through mainstream activities
that all students participate in.”
Student belonging is achieved through:
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Supportive peer relations
Meaningful interaction between staff and students
Developing knowledge, confidence and identity as successful
HE learners
An HE experience relevant to students’ interests and future
goals
Findings of 2012 HEA Study into Student Retention
Aim
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This project will develop an innovative e-learning
course to support all incoming first years before they
start at Durham University. The course is designed to
help students develop study skills and to successfully
make the transition into higher education. This panUniversity initiative includes collaborators from all
faculties, together with support services, DSU and
colleges.
Objectives
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The objectives of this project are:
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To develop a small private online course (SPOC) for
incoming undergraduates. This will run through September
and focus on the skills required to make the transition into
higher education. It will be developed in partnership with
current students, to allow us to identify the areas which
students struggle with and develop innovative engaging
solutions at the appropriate level,
Objectives
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The objectives of this project are:
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To exploit existing distance learning tools such as DUO,
video streaming and web-conferencing to create an online
community of learners prior to their arrival at Durham,
To evaluate the impact of these web-based resource upon
students’ learning,
To disseminate this work both within the University and at a
national level.
Where it Comes From ?
Project Evolution
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Many Universities across the UK are developing online
courses to support students making the transition into
HE.
At Durham, we started on a pilot project based in the
Foundation Centre with a series of student interviews
and focus groups.
Focus Group With New Students
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Every student (local and international) wanted more
contact pre-arrival
They wanted:
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More information about their classes
Reading materials
Logistical information about Durham
Looked at good practice elsewhere, e.g. earlier DUBBU
meetings:
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“Opening Doors Early to Academic Integrity – aiding the transition
to and managing expectations of academic practice at University”,
J Thompson (Geography) & J Jurowska (LTT), Durham, 2012
“Delivering Transition Support Through the VLE”, S Davis (LTT),
York, 2011
What do Students Get
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All Students:
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Website http://www.dur.ac.uk/foundation.welcome
Discussion Board
Access to Video Interviews with Former Students
Access to Live & Recorded Webchats
Information on Induction and TB1 Timetables
Introductory Videos from all their TB1 Modules
Short Video & Audio Preparatory Lectures
Quizzes
Access to other learning tools (e.g. Virtual Experiments)
Qualitative Feedback
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In depth focus groups revealed the students often felt
isolated over the summer prior to starting with us. As
one put it:
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“You’ve accepted an offer, but then it all goes quiet.
You just want to get started, but you hear nothing and
all the time you’re worried about whether you’ve made
the right choice. This website was a godsend, it let you
see your tutors, let you talk to your fellow students
and with the weekly webchats, made you feel part of
something.”
Qualitative Feedback
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Increasing student confidence was also evident during
the induction week, with students generally aware of
where they needed to be, and more engaged with the
activities that were taking place. As a staff member put
it:
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“They often come bounding over and say, I know
you’ll be teaching me, as I’ve seen you on the online
videos. That initial confidence has really increased,
and it allows us to start an effective dialogue around
learning earlier.”
This Project: Transitions into HE
University Wide – Study Skills Focussed
Project Outputs
Week 1: Preparing for Academic Study
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Introduction to the Course (Video)
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Understanding how to learn online (video and socialisation
activity)
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How will I be taught and what will lecturers expect? A look at
the spectrum of innovative approaches in teaching at
Durham, with interviews from staff and former students
(Video)
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Making the transition - survival tips from students
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Discussion Board activity to establish student’s expectations
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Completion of the Durham Skills Audit (available in duo)
Week 2: Introducing Independent Learning
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Introduction - Thinking About Learning Independently (Video)
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The evolution of independent learning – experienced 1st year
student discuss their academic careers (Video and
Discussion Board)
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Time Management Exercise - Given a set of classes and
assessment deadlines at fixed points, how would students
prioritise and prepare for them?
Week 3: Digital Literacy & Managing Information
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Introduction - getting the best from the web (Video)
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Digital Fingerprints - managing your identity online (Video)
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Digital Footprints - thinking about the trail you leave (Video,
Web Exercise & Discussion Board)
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Learning & Researching Online – discipline specific search
strategies, managing information, collaboration tools,
networking, copyright, security. (Video & Activity)
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Entering a community of academic practice. Staff and
students discuss their disciplines and how they engaged with
them before and after entering University. (Video)
Week 4: Preparing to Arrive at Durham
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Reflection on and discussion of the skills audit completed in
week one (Video & Discussion Board)
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What skills have you developed as a result of taking part in
the programme? (Video)
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Has the programme led you to think differently about your
skills development priorities? (Video)
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Introduction to the Academic Skills Programme for
undergraduates (to be launched October 2014) (Video)
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Introduction to PDP (Video)
Project Outputs
Week 1: Preparing for Academic Study
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Introduction to the Course (Video)
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Understanding how to learn online (video and socialisation
activity)
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How will I be taught and what will lecturers expect? A look at
the spectrum of innovative approaches in teaching at
Durham, with interviews from staff and former students
(Video)
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Making the transition - survival tips from students
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Discussion Board activity to establish student’s expectations
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Completion of the Durham Skills Audit (available in duo)
Week 2: Introducing Independent Learning
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Introduction - Thinking About Learning Independently (Video)
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The evolution of independent learning – experienced 1st year
student discuss their academic careers (Video and
Discussion Board)
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Time Management Exercise - Given a set of classes and
assessment deadlines at fixed points, how would students
prioritise and prepare for them?
Week 3: Digital Literacy & Managing Information
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Introduction - getting the best from the web (Video)
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Digital Fingerprints - managing your identity online (Video)
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Digital Footprints - thinking about the trail you leave (Video,
Web Exercise & Discussion Board)
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Learning & Researching Online – discipline specific search
strategies, managing information, collaboration tools,
networking, copyright, security. (Video & Activity)
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Entering a community of academic practice. Staff and
students discuss their disciplines and how they engaged with
them before and after entering University. (Video)
Week 4: Preparing to Arrive at Durham
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Reflection on and discussion of the skills audit completed in
week one (Video & Discussion Board)
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What skills have you developed as a result of taking part in
the programme? (Video)
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Has the programme led you to think differently about your
skills development priorities? (Video)
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Introduction to the Academic Skills Programme for
undergraduates (to be launched October 2014) (Video)
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Introduction to PDP (Video)
Year One
Week 1 – Summer Development 2014
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Introduction to the Course (Video)
Understanding how to learn online (video and
socialisation activity)
How will I be taught and what will lecturers expect? A
look at the spectrum of innovative approaches in
teaching at Durham, with interviews from staff and
former students (Video)
Making the transition - survival tips from students
Discussion Board activity to establish student’s
expectations
Completion of the Durham Skills Audit (available in
duo)
Example – Student Tips – Quotes from Video
“People look at Durham as a
“People look at Durham as a
brilliant University, I thought this
brilliant University, I thought this
would mean it was a pressured
would mean it was a pressured
environment – its not there is
environment – its not there is
plenty of help there if you need
plenty of help there if you need
it, its just a great place to be”
it, its just a great place to be”
“I was just flabbergasted in my
first lecture … for me it’s the
size and scale. After a week or
so you get used to it. If I could
have let myself know something
then, it would be ‘don’t worry’”
Example – Staff– Quotes from Video
“People look at Durham as a
“An ideal student would need to
brilliant University, I thought this
be someone who is passionate
would mean it was a pressured
about their subject with lots of
environment – its not there is
enthusiasm, but also someone
plenty of help there if you need
is interested in learning and
it, its just a great place to be”
acquiring knowledge”
“The biggest challenge new
students face is taking onboard
all of the new information really
quickly, the first couple of
weeks and finding your feet that
is really the biggest challenge.”
Management Structure
Advisory Group
Staff Developer
Management
Group
SN, EL, MM, ET
Review
Committee
Summer
Students
Review Committee
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Student Evaluating Consultants:
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We will employ a review committee of 6 students per faculty
to evaluate the produced materials.
These students will meet once in the Michaelmas and
Epiphany Terms.
In reviewing the materials students will make
recommendations and suggest improvements as
appropriate.
Advisory Group
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Their role to :
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Offer on advice and guidance on developed materials
Provide volunteers for taking part in filming and interviews
Offer previously developed materials for inclusion for their
students.
They will meet:
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October 14 – Consider materials produced
January 15 – Consider feedback from review panel
June 15 – Consider materials produced
October/November 15 – Consider feedback from review panel
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Conclusion
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The Idea
Where it comes from
The Purpose of Today
The Advisory Group

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