My ideal first_day_final

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This is a report drawing upon the research carried out for the 'Student Sense of Belonging' project, a collaboration between researchers in London Universities interested in the first year …

This is a report drawing upon the research carried out for the 'Student Sense of Belonging' project, a collaboration between researchers in London Universities interested in the first year experience. This report provides interim observations with reference to a three-university study into the implications of students’ sense of belonging in UK tertiary education. The study employs a survey measurement based on the Psychological Sense of School Membership (Goodenow, 1993), which was administered to over 1,300 first-year, first-semester students. To enrich the survey data, descriptions related to the ‘sense of belonging’ phenomenon were recorded via the Biographic Narrative Interpretive Method (Wengraf, 2007) and will be subject to further analysis via this method in later stages of the project. Initial findings include emergent themes and practice-based opportunities to increase students’ sense of belonging. Appendix A (p 10 onwards) will be of interest to those seeking international student views on the induction process.

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  • 1. ‘My Ideal First Day’ Implications for induction from a three (London) university project This report summarises the data from two questions from the data gathered, and focuses on the student induction experiences. The two open ended questions on the questionnaire: 3.15 What did you like most about [your first 6 weeks]? 3.16 What did you like least [about your first 6 weeks]? And the final question from the interviews: Looking back, what would your ‘ideal’ first day at University be like? Project Implications for Induction Emergent themes identified include: Early socialisation appears to be important Difficulties in the development of personal identity within the university environment may influence a student’s self-concept of being an ‘insider’ or ‘outsider’ High value placed on the quality of staff-student engagement both within and outside the classroom Functioning in groups, both formally and informally appears to be significant Branded materials creates and increases a sense of student identity and belonging Internationalisation - induction activities need to be informed by the cultural and demographic backgrounds of the student body. Consideration for diversitysuch as disability, gender and age Good practice from the three institutions include: Welcoming and meaningful pre course contact Social activities such as icebreakers, staff interaction both formal and informal Early movement into teaching groups Learning names Inductions to all areas eg VLE, library, careers, student services Expert staff both tohostdebates and speak about themes in disciplines Expectation management Avoid Information overload Introduce student charter Scheduled and regular post induction/late induction information Academic skills as well as time management, stress management Please see Appendix A for extracts from student interviewees on ‘My ideal day’
  • 2. Background: LondonMetropolitanUniversity, WestminsterUniversity and QueenMaryUniversity have been working on ‘student belonging’,a collaborative research project, partially funded by the HigherEducationAcademy. The Student Belonging Project has its origins in the Black and Ethnic Minority studies carried out at London Metropolitan University Business School, the PSSM psychological tool used for profiling and measuring students’ sense of belonging in the USA and the interest of colleagues at Westminster University who were seeking to engage students on a huge first year module with their studies. Our study explores the effectiveness of different initiatives/practices for student induction within the three different institutions and their impact on students’ sense of belonging using a measurement of belonging, thePsychological Sense of School Membership (PSSM), (Goodenow,1993) instrument as a benchmark. The project adopted a cross-institutional approach with a view to developing an informed understanding of whether differences in institutional characteristics, curriculum design and students’ background are determining factors in the development of the sense of belonging. Research carried out at LondonMetropolitanUniversity shows the positive impact of curriculum initiatives on retention and attainment in first year undergraduates (Johnson et al 2009). A QueenMaryUniversity pilot in the summer of 2009 utilised the PSSM instrument and semi structured interviews to measure sense of belonging among undergraduate economics students. Westminster Business School has also addressed this issue in its curriculum redesign starting 2011/12. Methodology: A literature review was undertaken to identify the key themes in the literature. The review covered literature in the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, USA, South Africa, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand and provided a foundation of knowledge from a range of peer reviewed texts. Consideration of the interrelated themes informed and supported the research strategy. Evaluation of the themes provided insights and further understanding of the specified research area of ‘students’ sense of belonging in higher education’. The overview allowed context specific discussions from the perspective of institutional research, and the formulation of further research proposals. A mixed method approach was adopted using both quantitative and qualitative data. A questionnaire was drawn up informed by the Goodenow PSSM (1993) instrument and the Australian National Student Survey. The questionnaire was conducted with first year, first semester students during weeks 6 and 7 of the first semester 2010/11. A sample of 1346 students from across the 3 universities (London Met, Westminster and Queen Mary) completed the questionnaire. An obvious caveat is that only students attending seminar classes in those weeks completed the questionnaire. The survey was supplemented by selected interviews with students from each of the three institutions, drawing upon research interviews interpreted within a qualitative tradition of ‘cultural stories’ (cf Miller and Glassner 1997). We were interested in how students narrate their experiences of belonging, the meaning they ascribe to their narrations and the insights these can offer our emerging understanding into the factors impacting on a student sense of belonging. Biographic Narrative Interpretative Method (BNIM) draws upon both German and to some extent US schools of thought from the early 20th century. The method has been successfully used to draw out the “stories” or narratives from interviewee’s lives (Wengraf 2001). What is of interest to the researcher is what the interviewee selects to share, and the way in which their individual story is portrayed. The interview is structured such that the interviewee has the time and space to develop their narrative contribution. The interview transcripts are then interpreted through separate analyses of the living
  • 3. of the ‘lived life’ and the ‘telling of the told story’ that are then brought together and their connections explored. Following Wengraf (2007) each institution selected three interviewees; three sets of rich data offer a complex and nuanced set of interpretations and avoids over simplistic ‘compare and contrast’ when two interviews transcriptions are analysed. The primary aim of the project is to identify some simple first steps from day 1 to emphasise the importance of promoting a sense of identity and a sense of belonging within the School and the wider university community. Participating University Research Interests: LondonMetropolitanUniversity: Involving students in extra curricula activities Work by Johnson and Pokorny (2009) indicated that students who get involved in extra curricular activities are more likely to perform well and stay within the university without ‘dropping out’. Their study showed that students from a Black and Ethnic Minority (BME) background were most likely to perform poorly, and their engagement outside the classroom was mainly within their community groups. QueenMaryUniversity: A tool for identifying issues At Queen Mary, the School of Economics and Finance’s focus on research led to an under-estimation of the importance of the student’s learning experience. Over time, a gradual deterioration of the staff-students relationship took place. Often students would find it difficult to engage with the School to discuss teaching and learning issues. Over time, frustration led to disaffection and to a reduced sense of belonging. WestminsterUniversity: Concerns about mass modules WestminsterBusinessSchool has been rolling out a new suite of integrated first year modules of up to 1000 students. The School Director for Learning, Teaching and Quality Enhancement had concerns with issues related to student retention and how the move to ‘mega’modules may affect this. AngliaRuskinUniversity: Building upon current good practice for induction Dr Debbie Holley (formerly from London Met and now at ARU) is the lead biographic researcher on the Student Belonging Project, and has been part of the project team taking the work forward. The detailed analysis and student profiling would be of interest in the Department of Education, in terms of informing induction processes and procedures. Statistical tables: Open question on what students liked/disliked most/least by week 7 across 3 universities The questionnaire asked students to give an indication of what has given them the most and least enjoyment since joining University. The vast majority of the students took the opportunity to briefly express their views and the tables below provide a rough summary of the main issues raised by the students. An analysis of the students’ responses allows the identification of five ‘broad’ categories to describe the main reasons for the enjoyment with their studies:
  • 4. Figure 1: the students’ enjoyment of their studies can be summarized into five broad categories For a number of students London represents a new and exciting experience and studying in such a diverse and international city represents a source of enjoyment for many. Social interaction is a key determinant of the students’ experience at University. This has been expressed in various forms by the students and the broad category ‘social interaction’ includes a number of different aspects/facets that are summarized below: Social interaction Group/team work Meeting new people/friends/from different countries/different background Having fun with friends and lectures Meeting different cultures Social events and the night life Freshers/induction week Getting involved in Societies The learning experience is another source of enjoyment for many students: the ability tolearn about a new subject, engage with motivated and friendly lecturers and, more generally, just being an undergraduate student are some of the main drivers of students’ enjoyment. A more detailed account of the factors mentioned by students is summarized below: Learning experience Learning about the subject/new skills/new culture Studying at University/Improve my knowledge Interaction with good/friendly/relaxed teachers Ability to improve knowledge of English language The student life Writing essays Hands on activities/case studies
  • 5. Other people work hard and it has pushed me to work hard Attending seminars Relate more with my lecturers than it is possible in my own country The library resources The ability to learn some specific subjects such as fashion or marketing is a source of enjoyment for many students. Moreover, the requirement of taking ownership of their own learning, i.e. of becoming a more independent learner is mentioned by a number of students as a source of enjoyment and satisfaction. There are a rather diverse set of factors that can negatively affect the student’s experience in particular in the early stages of their life at University. It is possible to broadly group these factors into five categories whose relative importance, in terms of frequency of mention, is shown in figure 2: Figure 2: broad categories of factors negatively affecting the students’ early experience at University For many students travelling is costly in various ways: either in terms of distance and time lost travelling, pure monetary cost or just the hassle of having to deal with public transport. Engagement with lecturers is key in particular in the early period of the students’ experience at University. Friendly and supportive yet firm and fair lecturers can help speed the process of settling down and develop in students a greater sense of acceptance and fit. The main concerns expressed by students is summarised below: Engagement with lecturers Lecturers are not supportive Lecturers show a lack of knowledge of the subject Classes are large and lecturers cannot know everybody Poor teaching
  • 6. Feeling teachers are not interested in your personal development Seminar tutors not very helpful/respectful One of the challenging aspects of University life is to learn to cope with a new and demanding learning environment. Many students raise various concerns about their engagement with studying at University. Some of the issues raised by students is summarised as follows: Learning experience Poor timetable/Long gaps between lectures and seminars Early start Difficult/easy/boring seminars Challenge of having to speaking front of other students Being prevented from attending lectures/seminars because of debt To give presentations is challenging Heavy workload To work in group is difficult Issues related to the use of the VLE (Blackboard) Students put a lot of positive value on the interaction with their peers both inside and outside the classroom. Inside the classroom they dislike immature and noisy behavior as well as the lack of attendance to lectures and classes by fellow students. A ‘hidden’ cost in the process of students’ settlement into University life is the engagement with either an inefficient or confusing or unhelpful administration. These inefficiencies manifest themselves in various forms and are highlighted by students as: Administrative issues Administration/Unhelpful/Disorganised administration General organisation of University Getting lost around campus Lack of communication about cancellations or changes of timetable The short comments from students are useful in identifying strategies that can help them settle in more quickly and develop a strong sense of belonging: Foster socialisation among students through social events, games, ice-breakers, virtual social networks etc.; Make staff aware of the important role they play in establishing friendly, supportive, fair and firm relationships with the students inside and outside the classroom; Connect with the students’ excitement and interest for their subject by offering engaging activities such as high-profile talks, involvement in research projects, etc.; Appreciate the transition costs that students face when confronted with a new learning environment and support them in enhancing their communication, presentation skills etc.; Appreciate that the cost of administrative failures has an impact on the students’ perception of their learning experience and will have an impact on students’ surveys of the quality of their education. Three key issues come through: unfriendly/ disinterested teaching staff;
  • 7. administration issues, and students struggling to cope with their work. Question 3.15 What did you like most so far? Groupings from student responses: London factor Social interaction Learning experience Subject specific interest Being independent 400 students cited meeting new people/friends/from different cultures Excitement around meeting lecturers, writing essays, their subject material The London Factor significant Question 3.16 What did you dislike the most so far? Groupings from student responses: Travelling, cost of travel, public transport, travel time Halls of residence Engagement with teachers Teaching and Learning Social Issues raised and response 1. Poor timetabling between lectures and seminars, early starts, barred for debt: there is a need to manage student expectations as part of induction. 2. Encourage a culture of study groups of friends, peer support, not studying in isolation: students still need to develop a sense of independence and to pick up and run with their own academic agenda. 3. Engagement with teachers; lack of knowledge; poor teaching; feeling teachers are not interested in your personal development; they don’t know my name; main lecturer is fine, seminar tutor is not interested in me: strategies are required to improve knowledge of the students, e.g. students can bring in 4 passport photos and give one to each seminar tutor. 4. Work pattern is not to their liking; no consistent pattern but certain areas – groupwork, talking in front of class, heavy workload, difficult or easy or boring seminars: quality of inductions need to be improved; staff could do more to help students work in groups, help manage deadlines, but an issue with groupwork is that it is such high stake/risk in terms of assessment. 5. Administration staff are unhelpful and the lack of organization is especially frustrating, cost of arriving if a class is cancelled… 6. Teaching and ‘friendly’ staff – there are important issues here, for example internationalisation and diversity issues in terms of student engagement: student focus groups can help to unpack
  • 8. exactly what is meant by staff being unfriendly/unhelpful. Is there an issue about sense of belonging for staff as well? Or about staff not knowing how to engage with a different, more diverse and tech savvy generation of students? Issues arising from interviews: This blackboard thing “also the blackboard thing, it was a real struggle, I didn’t know what they were talking about OK what’s that! Blackboard, so they should put an example, maybe just show how to use it.”Extract: Student DD Individual talk/induction “There are things like sometimes you feel so detached from your lecturers and tutors not that sort of one to one, it’s not as good as it should be.I don’t know if the tutors, the personal tutors have a lot of student to deal with but there should be that sort of one to one to find out how you are progressing and all that.” Extract: Student DC A facebook page so I can contact other students even although I can’t be there on the day “Probably give the opportunity of people to look up each other maybe later on, like a facebook thing or something so people could find each other. Yes because I met some people at the induction day, we had a talk and this and that, but we haven’t been able to find each other later on.”Extract: Student JB Students want all the cohort and all the staff to attend the social events “yes it would be nice if more of the tutors that we are going to see throughout the semester coming to the induction, not just a few…spend more time with them and have some interaction with them so you would remember it.” Extract: Student JB Current Institutional Induction practices: London Metropolitan University Business School (LMBS) Pre welcome pages with ‘tasks to do’ opening page: http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/londonmet/lmbs/pre-welcome-week/home.cfm BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance: http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/londonmet/lmbs/pre-welcome-week/ba-acctg/ba-acctg_home.cfm MA International Hotel and Restaurant Management: http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/londonmet/lmbs/pre-welcome-week/ma-ihrg/ma-ihrg_home.cfm (BA (Hons) Business Management): http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/lmbs/pre-welcome-week/ba-bm/home.cfm Students really liked the staff photo and short profile of staff on their courses. More adventurous course leaders uploaded video clips, had links to team members’ books, images and so on.
  • 9. Students are asked to research what makes a good business leader based on business leaders from various ethnicities, especially those with humble beginnings. Twelve leaders are profiled and if the student’s birthday is in January, they looked up Anita Roddick, February - Levi Roots, and so on. More pre-welcome tasks scheduled and a new marketing initiative involving a campaign for February starters – students were offered places in February and there were concerns regarding‘hanging around’. Thus, February starters did a 2-day week minus-2; a 3-day week minus-1 and a 5-day welcome week. This was not popular with students who tended to work up until the week prior to their course commencing. There is a drive to incorporate more social activities in inductions, and a budget of £10,000 was set aside for various initiatives, such as hiring a boat,etc; however central ideas and local delivery were problematic. A competition was suggested and only 20 students and very few staff turned up for the boat trip. The result was that more funding was poured into inductions: the course leader can choose an activity choice of Madame Tussauds, the London Eye or a boat trip. Centrally organised inductions tended to consist of Powerpoints/talks, and were not popular. While inductions are still being centrally organized, there is a real need to include local staff with delivery far earlier in the process. Westminster At Westminster the induction is over a 5-day period, and this is organised by school, not by site. It is plagued with technical problems such as registering students, taking photos and entering data. The system crashed last year and was out of use for several hours.Because of sheer numbers involved, the induction process can be overwhelming for the students. However, this is ameliorated by the students getting placed into ‘cohort’ groups of 25 straight away and they remain in those for the whole of the first year. Queen Mary In past years, induction was limited to a 30-minute welcome from the Head of School followed by a meeting with the academic advisors. Since 2008, the induction programme has been restructured and it is now built over 3 days (Wednesday/Thursday/Friday). Induction is organized by the senior tutor in collaboration with the School’s Student Support Manager and with support from student helpers (year 2 and 3 students who voluntarily give up their time to help the School in its initiatives). The student helpers also become ‘buddies’ for the first year students during their first semester at University. The format is as follows: Wednesday: welcome talk (about one hour) by the Head of School; presentation of the UG team, talk by the Senior Tutor and the Student Support Manager. The talk ends with a discussion with students about the expectations (staff and students) of studying at University .After the talk, the students meet with their academic advisors (each advisor has about five to ten students per year of study). These are welcoming meetings during which the programme of study is approved. After the meeting with advisors the students are invited to a lunch that is attended by all School members. During lunch an icebreaker is organized (find someone who can swim/has an iPad/lecturer who teaches xyz). Enrollment follows at the end of the day. Thursday: the students are divided into small groups and the student helpers take the groups for a campus tour. Students then attend a compulsory diagnostic mathematics test. The test results are discussed by the mathematics lecturer in the first mathematics lecture. Students who perform poorly in the test are asked to attend support classes during the semester.
  • 10. Friday: there are brief talks by the library, careers, the societies, students union and the coordinator of the Peer Assisted Support Scheme (a mentoring scheme to support year 1 students).The ‘trade game’ is played afterwards. The game is educational and its outcomes are discussed at the end with all students. Welcome back talks for year 2 and year 3 students are also organized. These usually last one hour and are followed by meetings with the academic advisors. Induction in 2012/3 This year the induction period is extended from three to five days to reflect the importance of induction on the student body. The new and extended programme now includes: Extra and longer sessions for careers and libraries; On Thursday, a talk by a member of staff about a topical economic issue or, alternatively, a debate where two academics discuss current economic events; o Queen Mary would like to explore the University of Amsterdam approach – a sofa in the Atrium and every week, there is a talk or debate about current issues in an open space/forum. o Instead of student personal tutors in their offices, a large space is used with teas and coffees for a welcome week, once in semester A and once in semester B. Story telling activity: on the Monday of induction week students are divided into small groups and are asked to investigate through pictures or videos any economic issue of their interest in the area around the University. On the Friday of induction week the students are asked to give short presentations of their work. The best pieces of work receive a small prize. Additional activities that will be introduced this year include: getting in touch with students before they come to University and also strengthening induction for latecomers. Broader Issues: University Email Accounts: getting students to read them. At Queen Mary, staff will not answer student emails from a non-university account. One question the project team has considered is whether activities should be designed to orient the students in the environment where they will be studying. Importantly, students should be consulted to avoid the tendency to ‘assume’ (see appendix A for extracts from student interviews). Two of three Universities want classes suspended in week 7 to talk about careers and have personal tutorials, but often students do not attend these sessions. Students frequently ask for more pastoral care. Report drafted by Debbie Holley (Anglia Ruskin) and Guglielmo Volpe (Queen Mary) with project members Susanne Kane Linda Johnson, Myrtle Emmanual, RonkeShoderu (LMBS) Debbi Husbands and David Chalcraft (Westminster)
  • 11. Appendix A ‘My ideal day’ I’m going to ask you a final question. Imagine the first day at university, so new students, and if you were going to design that day, what would it be like? First day at university, you mean like after the enrolment and everything? I think I would have, it’s like this lecture that I had today, I would put it somewhere at the beginning because it makes you – it’s clear to you what you are going to do in the future, what modules, what you are going to study. Because at the beginning – and also they should have the lecture maybe should include some stuff how does it work about all the CA1 form, you can attach it to, every coursework you are going to submit, where is that and how. And maybe having a tour of the university. And that competition thing, that was a good thing, so I would definitely include it because you get to know people around you. I think that’s about it, because you don’t want to bore them, so just keep it simple and just tell them the basic things they should know about studying at xxxxx, it’s about how everything works, the coursework stuff. And they have seminars, they have lectures, deadlines we have to meet. Also the blackboard thing it was a real struggle, I didn’t know what they were talking about OK, what’s that! Blackboard, so they should put an example maybe just show how to use it. That’s how I would do it. Extract: Student 1 . ..Tell me a little bit more about what you think that could be. Something to shock. It could be anything really. Make it more like, well when you’re starting uni it’s momentous for you, but for everyone it’s just a normal day. But if it was more like a presentation, hi everyone, hi, how are you doing, a big show in a way. Not something to cheapen it because then you feel like you’re going to the circus. But for me, something that would shock or just grab your attention. Someone charismatic, I find that when somebody’s talking to me, and they really have this energy in their voice, it comes to me as well. So it’s as if they’re taking you along on what you’re doing. So when you feel that you’ve gone to a presentation or a lecture and you feel that wow, I actually followed what he’s talking about and in a way he’s a bit cool, it gives me something to talk about. If I go to a lecture and I know it’s been a really good lecture, the next person I see I will tell them hey, I went to a really good lecture, do you want to know what it was about? And that gives us something to talk about. We had this law lecturer and we always used to think OK lecturers always stand at the front and just talk and go. But then he started walking up and down and then it was – oh! Is he a lecturer, are you sure? He’s just come in and just taken over. But it was just out of the ordinary, something that makes you feel more comfortable that OK this isn’t too strict, just let your guard down a bit and relax. And then just go with it. So in a way, even though our lecturer, he isn’t actually shocking us, he isn’t taking all his clothes off and running up and down but it’s just something out of the ordinary, not just boring, that would be really good. Even our seminar teacher she’s a bit strange sometimes but she’s different and I like her for that. Because I think the academic stuff literally just started the day after but academic can be what the course is about. There has to be that, you can’t just have fun and then you realise OK, [inaudible] then you forget. But the one we had was quite good but it just seemed a bit too stringent if that is the proper word. It just seemed like really formal, you just sit there, they tell you what the module’s about. You don’t understand what they’re talking about and you want to ask a question but you know that you don’t make sense because you don’t understand what they’ve said. So you just sit there, you go to the freshers, have a bit of fun and then just go with your bag full of freebies. If they made it – the rooms here are smaller so it’s harder to do a lot more. But if the classes are a bit small
  • 12. it makes it easier for everyone to know each other. So you can talk to other people and if it was just in smaller groups of people doing the induction, it would have been a lot nicer. Even the tour, we did a tour and I remember them taking us through the library and the group was so large that when they were talking we couldn't actually hear anything. So it’s as if we were just walking ten yards, stopping, couldn't hear anything, just looked around. And then walked around so I mean, it wasn’t her fault, she wasn’t really the loudest speaker but you didn’t know. And then in the end, we had to do the whole tour of the library again, I still don’t know how some things work. Like the printers, I remember thinking they were touch screen and pressing the screen and everyone’s looking at me like I was demented. But you get the hang of it, when push comes to shove and you need to print your work before the deadlines. You learn how to do it really quickly. Extract: Student 2 Suppose that we go back to the first day of university and the question is, if you could design that day, what would be the perfect day for you? So you’ve just come to university, first day, could be induction. Getting to meet people that – everyone’s shy and everyone’s [inaudible] I’m mature now. And as you go along you learn, I’ve learnt this, as you go older, it’s like – some kind of plateau, I read up on [inaudible]. As you grow older, you become more defensive against other people , new people. Now if you have, [inaudible] everyone just meeting each other and getting to know each other, five minutes each, everyone’s getting to know each other. Give them a bit more space, understand each other, it’s more fun. And then having like trips and not compulsory, there’s no such thing as compulsory but trips like the whole economics just first year, they need to go on that trip and you all have to – like you announce it in every lecture. And everyone will go. It’s like you just give them that little boost because they remember. It’s like I’ve met some people like I met someone on Thursday, I met a friend on Thursday from economics, the year group, and that person said how come we never spoke before? And that person was like – because when we started university, I went into that little group. Now I can’t break out of that group, the people [inaudible]. [inaudible] an aspect of that, me you see that I float around everyone, I’m just everywhere. I don’t keep my guards up, I walk around, hello, are you OK? I just walk around, that’s how it’s got to be, that’s how I see it. But some people, they’re just restricted to who they can talk with and relax and be themselves with. Extract: Student 3 Yes, sure. I mean – yes, I just think that being the first day, the perfect first day would be this kind of thing, this feeling that wow, I’m going to learn a lot, everyone is sharing the same feeling, it’s going to be a new life. Going to be three years with new experiences and everything and just ……..first day. Extract: Student 4 Well we’ve just got one final question that we ask everybody. So, you mentioned the induction day at the first day at university, and we’d like to know really from everybody if they could design their first day for new students at university, what would it be like? Well definitely be pretty much like it was our induction day, get all the students from the same programme together. Have more of those socialising games, to get everybody to know each other. Probably give the opportunity of people to look up each other maybe later on, like a Facebook thing or something, so people could find each other. Yes, because I met some people at the induction day and we had a talk and this and that, but we haven't been able to find each other later on. If there was a side with for example all the students that are on that programme and they could
  • 13. communicate with each other or something like that. That would be interesting. And yes, make it interactive, more socialising between the students. Give information about the different departments and who to ask for what in the university, which was done in our induction. Basically we were introduced to the module leader and advisors and some of the tutors. So yes, getting to know the people that we are going to be dealing with throughout the semester, that’s nice to see the people and to have their contacts. Yes, that’s, the induction was I think very well organised and yes, pretty much what I want to see. Well, the major staff was presented, I would say and they had their e-mails and phone numbers and room numbers so that went quite well. Yes, it would be nice if more of the tutors that we are going to see throughout the semester coming to the induction, not just a few. It would be nice to see more of them and maybe spend more time with them and have some interaction with them so you would remember it, yes. Maybe have hand-outs, each tutor to have some hand-outs with contact details and basic information about the course. I know that all that could be found on the website probably but yes it would be interesting to have some interaction on the day… Extract: Student5 So what would your ‘ideal’ first day be like? It would be similar to the day I had when I got here because clearly, when you go to a new place you need to be talked to about how the environment is, how you need to behave and what you need to do when you get there. Definitely it was all here when I got here, the first lecturer was all about introduction to different lectures, introduction to different module leaders. I had an idea, I had a basic understanding of what was going on here. Maybe improve the team working exercises just to get the students to be involved because I realised when we were all sitting there, not everyone was really interested after an hour because people felt bored and tired. So maybe just to get us into doing different activities, that would definitely keep us active, the new students coming up. And I think that would be a slight change. The one we did was excellent but maybe one more ……. And also, the awards they gave were very good because the people who had the highest mark, they got to receive vouchers to go to the canteen to actually have discounts on food. That was really good, that was really good. Extract: Student 6 And if you were to design your perfect first day? I think if I was to design the perfect first day at university I would rather do it on a departmental basis, rather than a whole, select the business, the whole business thing is too big. Maybe I would get two departments on each day that sort of thing. Speak to them in detail, don’t rush it through. If maybe we could give an extra two weeks to help the sort of induction process, if that helps to help students settle in then why not, that’s something I would suggest personally. The first day I would make it as welcoming as possible and sort of leave the serious things towards the end, start with what we normally call them ice breakers, try and relax the person. Feel that once we’ve got you, you’re like okay line up here, it was just too much. And when you get in there like okay this cause is so.. uni it’s difficult, it’s up to you on your own, and you’re like oh my god this is really serious. I know it is serious but obviously by the time you went through the application process it’s rigorous enough to know that you want to be here. But when you get here you want to get some sort of reassurance that oh this is it, this is how it is. Just like when you got your new job I am sure the best thing that you always remember is your induction, you never forget your induction, no matter how long you’ve been in that company. I think that should always be got right. Extract: Student 7