Snakes and ladders curriculum design tool user guide
SNAKES AND LADDERS INTERACTIVE WORKSHOP TOOLSupporting effective curriculum design and delivery to maximise effective student retention and transitionTHE TOOLThis SNAKES AND LADDERS INTERACTIVE WORKSHOP TOOL has been developed to help academic andprofessional/ support staff who work with new students to understand more about these students’ needsand the challenges they encounter and to explore strategies to address them before and on arrival andduring their first year (and beyond).THE REQUIREMENTUnderstanding, supporting and enhancing the experience of new students is a crucial part of a strongly-supported learning environment and key to attracting and retaining a diverse range of students andproviding them with a quality curriculum and a truly transformative experience. Very simply, the motifs/rules of the children’s game “snakes and ladders” have been used. The “snakes” are the challenges/barriers/pitfalls new students have describedTHE CONCEPT when recollecting their first year of study at university. The “ladders” are the enabling interventions that students and staff have identified as having a positive impact. The board is a visual depiction of the first year, divided as follows: pre arrival, first week, pre/post assessment, first term, second term, third term etc.
ACTIVITY (up to 2 hours)Groups may choose to select a specific student cohort to discuss, for example, post-graduates, internationalstudents, part-time students, January starters etc.Working in groups participants study the “snakes” cards and discuss those they consider particularlyrelevant/problematic or interesting, mapping them onto the board at the point/points when they believethey become an issue for students. Annotate or add additional “snakes” as required.Participants then repeat the process, this time creating (or using existing) “ladders” cards by writing downthe strategies they have used or would like to use.The final part of the activity involves group reflection and feedback and agreement on any follow up actions.Follow up actions may range from swapping contact details to sending round a summary of feedback toparticipants or agreeing to trial a new activity in their school/with their seminar group.RESOURCES Willing participants (including students where possible) Pre-printed & blank Snakes and Ladders cards (available for download at: http://jiscdesignstudio.pbworks.com/w/page/54698019/Snakes%20and%20Ladders%20Interactive%20 Workshop%20Tool) Lining paper or large sheets of blank paper Bluetac, selotape, pens Large table / chairs Flip camera / camera RefreshmentsEVIDENCE / SOURCES Beard, C., Clegg, S. & Smith, K. (2007), ‘Acknowledging the affective in higher education’, British Education Research Journal, 33:2, 235-252. Bowl, M. (2003) Non-traditional entrants to Higher Education, (London: Trentham Bks) Cook, A. & Rushton, B. (2008) Student Transition: Practices and Politics to Promote Retention. The START Project, University of Ulster, SEDA Paper 121) Crosling, G., Thomas, L. & Heagney, M. (2008) Improving Student Retention in Higher Education, (Abingdon: Routledge) Yorke, M. & Longden, B. (2008) The First Year Experience of Higher Education in the UK (York: The Higher Education Academy) Yorke, M. (1999) Leaving Early. Undergraduate Non-completion in Higher Education (London & Philadelphia Falmer Press) The University of Greenwich’s Statement of Student Entitlement. Go to http://www2.gre.ac.uk/about/policy - Academic - New Arrivals and Transition Policy
USE IN PRACTICEThe tool has been trialled at external conferences/workshop and with more than 80 members of staff at theUniversity of Greenwich who came together in a range of different groups – cross-institutional, school-specific andas a single academic programme team. Feedback from University of Greenwich staff was overwhelmingly positive , with over 90% stating that their expectations were satisfied. Feedback from participants described the session as “brilliant” and an “excellent learning experience”. One participant reported unmet expectations “in a good way”, having expected an “outline of procedures for induction week” but finding the snakes and ladders exercise on student experience very useful. All those who gave feedback found the workshop constructive and evaluated it as providing “interesting discussions and different perspectives”. Staff tell us they valued especially the “interaction with other staff and especially discussion with the student” and “the group work solutions”.One noted that “the game of snakes and ladders got people talking and sharing their experience and solutions.”It was common for the workshop to end with staff exchanging contact information in order to continue the dialogue.Photos from the Blended Learning conference workshop session (2012)- "Winning hearts and minds: Tools andtechniques to engage staff in curriculum change initiatives - IBLC 2012" Resources for this activity are available at www.jiscdesignstudio.pbworks.com