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ALTC09: Connecting Transitions and Independent Learning: developing academic strategies
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ALTC09: Connecting Transitions and Independent Learning: developing academic strategies


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Presentation made at ALTC09 on 9 September 2009, about: our transitions, social media and independent learning in HE project. See

Presentation made at ALTC09 on 9 September 2009, about: our transitions, social media and independent learning in HE project. See

Published in: Education

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  • 1. Connecting Transitions and Independent Learning Richard Hall (, @hallymk1) Heather Conboy (, @heaths123)
  • 2. Some context
    • In terms of your learners:
      • Describe the types of journeys that they make into HE
      • Describe the types of issues that impact their transition into HE
      • Describe how you manage these issues
    • Do technologies have a role in these descriptions?
  • 3. CoTIL project: headlines
    • HEA e-Learning Research Observatory project looking at:
    • Challenges of transitions: adapting to cultural and academic expectations; socialisation; contact with significant others; moments in time
    • The impact of read/write web technologies
    • Expand pedagogic borders beyond the classroom, campus and VLEs; radical or progressive pedagogies
    • Two strands: peer-mentoring managed by students; level 1 Historians using social media for reflection
  • 4. Ravensbourne, 2008 Hall, 2009; after Ravensbourne, 2008
  • 5. Peer-mentoring: institutional or social tools?
    • VLE = familiarity; ‘legitimate’ activity; administrative convenience.
      • This preference related more to the mentors' intentions
    • Social tools = chatty and informal; can be more critical.
      • “ it was important that the mentees did not feel intimidated by the scheme, which was why we decided to use Facebook”
    • No greater engagement from mentees using social tools.
      • “ as time went by without contact we resorted to any methods available”
  • 6. Peer-mentoring: matters arising
    • Social engagement and affective learning
    • "it has been very rewarding for me, knowing that I have eased other peoples fears with regard to all aspects of the course.”
    • Boundaries: mentors as stakeholders in an “institutional” scheme impacts participation, and the selection of technologies.
    • Mentors have to ‘push’ services and expertise. There are critical moments in time – assessments – that need to be seized.
    • More structured and earlier training, including on creating and maintaining communities, and emphasising the benefits for mentees.
  • 7. The use of learning logs in History
    • An embryonic taxonomy, which defines four types of engagement with reflection by apprentice historians emerged from the logs.
    Simple reflection on performance Emerging criticality Sophisticated criticality Affective reflection a questioning approach a social learning approach evaluating sources and evidence analytical speaking and writing skills positive emotional engagement and personal development.
  • 8. The use of learning logs in History
    • Engaging the affective side of learning with apprentice learners; understanding how cognition and emotion are mutually-reinforcing
    • Logs demonstrated how the transition into working as a historian in HE was seen to be personal, but located as a social activity.
    • The nurturing role of tutors as mentors in a collective endeavour aimed at subject mastery framed by personal, student ownership of engagements within an institutionally-provided space.
  • 9. Recommendations Mentors : engagement impacted by perceptions of: the 'institution' and its role; available technologies; and of the efficacy of peer communication. Mentors need to engage their mentees in a discussion about these issues. Programme teams: should develop coherent approaches for transitions that include the development of the whole person . Support staff : need to give advice about the available technologies and guidance around building communities of practice for self-managing students. Institutional managers : must consider the ability of learners to plug-in/manage their own technologies, networks and content.
  • 10. One final issue
    • Do staff turn technologies into an unnecessary boundary for students to cross?
  • 11. Some references: 1
    • Anagnostopoulou, K. and Parmar, D. (2008) Practical Guide: bringing together e-learning and student retention, Middlesex University & University of Ulster,
    • Broad, J. (2006) ‘Interpretations of independent learning in further education’, Journal of Further and Higher Education 30(2), 119-43.
    • Glasgow Caledonian University (2008) Learning from Digital Natives Project, HEA,
    • Hall, R. (2009), Towards a fusion of formal and informal learning environments: the impact of the read/write web, EJEL 7(1), 29 – 40
  • 12. Some references: 2
    • HEA Evidence Net:
    • Ravensbourne (2008), Learner Integration :
    • University of Ulster (2008) Student Transition And Retention Project.
    • Yorke, M and Longden, B. (2008) The first-year experience of higher education in the UK (Phase 2), HEA.
  • 13. Licensing This presentation is licensed under a Creative Commons, Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales license See: