Helen Johnston et al 2008

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Session A - RR5-09

Session A - RR5-09

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  • 1. Engaging students: encouraging success Helen Johnston, Syed Mahfuzul Aziz, C. Yalçın Kaya & Diana Quinn
  • 2. New start in Engineering: 2008 at Mawson Lakes
    • A new common first year program for Civil, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering students
    • broadened access : Associate degree and non-traditional students
    • new courses and increased focus on experiential and project –based learning
    • new Teaching Team including
      • a first year academic director
      • all course coordinators
      • Learning and Teaching Unit staff: learning advisers, academic developer, online adviser
      • Library staff
  • 3. Students’ first 6 weeks at uni
    • no bells, no rules
    • parents in the dark: what they don’t know about they can’t worry about
    • new friends, new loves
    • a job - luvly money
      • Another shift? sure, more luvly money
    • a class: not today thanks!
    • the Maths quiz? I’ll do next week’s
    • Census date: OOPS!
  • 4. While it’s a given that programs need to offer
    • engaging curriculum
    • good teaching
    • early assessment
    • multiple opportunities to succeed
    • Students who don’t attend class and/or complete early assessment tasks are unlikely to hear their lecturers’ and tutors’ advice.
  • 5. So there’s a communication and support dilemma: how do we reach students?
    • The ‘Supporting students at risk’ strategy is
    • an academically focussed intervention
    • clearly linked assessment
    • SSAR offers
    • early & explicit advice to students to join the main game i.e. their academic program .
    • SSAR involves
    • the Engineering First Year Teaching Team
    • course coordinators in target courses
    • Learning Advisers in the Learning and Teaching Unit
  • 6. Academic success is a powerful means of ensuring
    • student engagement
    • student persistence
  • 7.
  • 8. SSAR target courses, March – July ‘08
    • Sustainable Engineering Practice (SEP):
      • an introduction to the profession and how it is practiced within a sustainable context
      • develops communication, teamwork and project planning using problem-based learning
    • Mathematical Methods for Engineers (MME1)  :
      • includes topics in calculus in preparation for Mathematical Methods for Engineers 2. It also includes an introduction to the mathematical software MATLAB
      • first year maths is historically challenging: broadened intake: potential for attrition
      • attendance and participation in assessment are crucial
    • Enrolment: 200+
  • 9. Course expectations
    • SEP
    • A Class contact
      • Weekly lectures (1 hr)
      • Weekly tutorials (2 hr)
    • Assessment – 3 tasks
      • Individual report , 15%
      • Student portfolio, 45%
      • Group project report and presentation, 40%
    • MME1
    • Class contact
    • lecture (2 hr)
    • Tutorial (1 hr)
    • Computer practical (1hr)
    • Assessment
    • Assignment 1                          10%
    • Assignment 2                            10%
    • Team project                             10%
    • Tutorial Quizzes (10x1%)        10%
    • MATLAB test                            10%
    • Exam                                        50%
  • 10. Two points of contact
    • Stage 1 lists: before Census date
    • SEP: based on attendance
    • MME1: based on attendance and assessment performance in 2 quizzes in weeks 2 & 3
    • Stage 2 lists
    • SEP: based on Assignment 1
    • MME1: based on continuing quizzes and Assignment 1
  • 11. How did students respond?
    • Most students were pleased that someone was taking an interest in them.
    • Main student responses in late March:
    • struggling (27)
      • with content
      • with time management, often work related
      • there’s no problem (15)
        • attendance lists must be wrong
        • everything is fine
    • withdrawal a possibility (4)
      • work-study clash
  • 12. Did students contacted in the SSAR process succeed?
    • Many on the first lists did not stay and complete the course.
    • Some
      • had already withdrawn by late March
      • withdrew before Census date
      • took leave of absence during the semester
      • withdrew after Census date.
    • For this paper we examined the final grades of students who completed the course and either passed or failed.
    • We have not yet summarised the final status of all listed students .
  • 13. Summary of results by course
    • SEP
    • relatively few students were referred and contacted
    • 14 of those contacted completed the course
    • 11 Passed: all new in 2008; stage of contact may be not relevant
    • 3 Failed: 1 new in 2008, 2 Continuing
    • MME1
    • Many more referred and contacted overall
    • 76 of those contacted completed the course
    • 18 Passed: stage of contact seems relevant, the majority contacted in Stage 1
    • 58 Failed: 39 new in 2008,19 Continuing
  • 14. Final grades in SEP SEP (students New in 2008 or Continuing) N= 14 Point of contact Stage 1 list Stage 1 & 2 lists Stage 2 list Grades 2008 Cont 2008 Cont 2008 Cont Pass 5 0 1 0 5 0 Fail 0 2 0 0 1 0 Totals 5 2 1 0 6 0
  • 15. Final grades in MME1 MME 1 (students New in 2008 or Continuing) N= 76 Point of contact Stage 1 list Stage 1 & 2 lists Stage 2 list Grades 2008 Cont 2008 Cont 2008 Cont Pass 9 0 0 2 3 4 Fail 4 4 7 9 28 6 Totals 13 4 7 11 31 10
  • 16. Implications
    • SSAR contact aims to provide information and support to commencing students
    • SSAR
    • seems to be most effective in late March, Stage 1
        • students (SEP and MME1) appreciative of contact
        • students were often successful
      • But SSAR
        • seems to be more effective among commencing than continuing students
        • so modified or additional approaches may be needed to support continuing students
  • 17. Other outcomes?
    • SSAR provides useful insights into the student experience
      • commencing students find value in SSAR
      • successful students reported acting on advice.
    • In MME1 early contact was based on both attendance and quiz participation
      • MME1 proved as difficult as expected
      • quiz participation was crucial to success
      • by mid-semester students who were not passing were unlikely to pass the course
      • feedback from SSAR supported ongoing course-review by the Course Coordinator
        • more support is now provided for under-prepared students
  • 18. Finally
    • This small review of SSAR in Engineering
      • has prompted further study of program and course specific questions
        • role and value of student quizzes in learning in MME1?
        • supporting continuing students?
      • has raised questions about how SSAR might be used to inform teaching and learning
        • how can SSAR better meet student and course needs?
        • how might we improve our data collection and evaluation processes?
        • What is the value in collecting longitudinal data in courses of known difficulty e.g. MME1?