Bolton keynote

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Keynote delivered at University of Bolton Annual Learning and Teaching conference, 8 July 2010. Looking at themes emerging from HERE project.

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  • Rich body of literature out there, contact me if you need some starting points!
  • Travel – wrong mode of transport for destination, lack of planning etc
  • Process not an end in itself. Multi-pronged: Addressing multiple aspects of student experience; services; using a range of interventions Embedded: Whole staff responsibility
  • Relevant Student centred Strategy levelMulti-pronged: Addressing multiple aspects of student experience; range of interventions Collaborative Range of interventions Across student lifecycle Co-ordinated Whole staff responsibility Transparent Intervention level Timely – at the right time and in advance Collaborative
  • to improve student retention and success
  • Develop Me! The Develop Me! model was first piloted in 2006. Since then it has grown considerably in response to feedback from staff and students. Develop Me! currently consists of five different strands. These are:A social network hosted in ning and found online at http://developme.ning.comSaPRA: our in-house Skills and Personal Development Activity. SaPRA focuses on helping students to identify their levels of confidence in different skill areas such as academic reading, academic writing, communication skills and so on. SaPRA utilises PebblePad. More information about SaPRA can be found on our website.Online skills development resources. These resources provide 24/7 help and support to students who have identified that they need to develop a particular skill area. Students interact with the resources in a number of different ways for example as a result of a 121 intervention with an LDU adviser, after completing SaPRA or after attending an LDU workshop.Mobile Guides. The mobile guides are available at www.braduni.mobi and provide students with information about the University in an easy to access format. We are currently pursuing the idea of creating a iPhone app that users can download onto their iPhones or iPod touches. This will be followed up with versions for windows based devices in the near future. Research into the Student Experience. We have been actively researching the student experience at Bradford since 2005. This research has been fundamental to the implementation and refinement of the Develop Me! approach. Without regular feedback from the student body I would feel less confident that our approach was meeting the needs of students. However because we have such an open dialogue with the student body I am confident that what we are doing is meeting their needs and doing so in a way that they want it to be done. Many Universities have developed social networks in the last few years, but I am especially proud of the way in which we have done this at Bradford as it’s been truly student led.
  • Bolton keynote

    1. 1. Why Am I Here? Why Should I Stay? Understanding student expectations, experiences and reasons for engaging with University<br />Becka Currant <br />Dean of Students, National Teaching Fellow<br />
    2. 2. Listening to the narratives<br />What do our students think about their experiences?<br />How do they feel about being at university?<br />
    3. 3. Expectations prior to arrival<br />“I hope I can become more confident as well as stretch myself in lots of new ways, push my boundaries. I hope University can support me in this and help me when I flounder”<br />“I didn't really know what to expect...”<br />I didn’t have any idea how it was going to be because…it is just different than in my country, and the way of teaching and everything <br />
    4. 4. Concerns/Worries<br />“I was concerned about having the skills because I hadn't studied for a long time”<br />“I had not done anything like it for 13 odd years, so that adds another level of toughness to it”<br />“I was expecting it to be tough and harder than it was”<br />“I think anyone coming to Uni with an expectation of it being easy is fooling themselves”<br />
    5. 5. How do students think they learn best?<br />“I prefer practical learning as I like to do things and get bored when just listening to someone talking. I do quite well when working in a group as well as it gives me more ideas and opinions” <br />“Through repetition. I like to study independently initially but then to consolidate the learning I like to discuss it and have feedback on it. I have a low attention span and so find a lot of reading and quiet time very hard work. I like to interact with people and so the discussion and debate of ideas appeals to me greatly” <br />“I learn best from doing things or thinking through a problem with other people or by writing something down, drawing it. I don't learn much by just reading something”<br />
    6. 6. Feelings About the Course<br />“It’s challenging but its good fun I really enjoy it, the content I really, really like”<br />“I am really enjoying it”<br />“I like, love it! ...the content and just I am really enjoying learning... taking all the information in… although it is a lot of work I just really enjoy that part of it, sort of doing the research going to the library and finding out the stuff”<br />
    7. 7. What is their best experience?<br />“I think the best part for me was meeting so many new people. I didn't know anyone else before I came here, and I was worried about not making friends, not fitting in etc. But on my very first day (the welcome talk), I already got talking to a few people, and that really worked wonders for my confidence” <br />“The tutorials were very helpful to guide the students during the year. Also seminars and other supporting classes. I felt that the lecturers were people who we can speak with and this is necessary for a non English student”<br />
    8. 8. Stating The Obvious But…<br />Higher Education is changing…<br />“The university system is in need of ‘radical change’ to provide a better deal for taxpayers and students” (Willetts, 10 June 2010)<br />How is the sector going to respond?<br />
    9. 9. The Impact of ‘massification’<br />Over last 20 years Higher education has undergone radical and unprecedented change (Education Act, 1992; Dearing Report, 1997; Roberts Report, 2003; Leitch Report, 2006)<br />Learners are entering with different expectations and assumptions about their experiences<br />The student body has become dramatically more heterogeneous and has fragmented in some cases<br />
    10. 10. Students 2.0?<br />Who/what are modern students? <br />A vision of students todayWesch (2007)<br />Engaging Students at Bradford (Currant, 2009)<br />What issues do they face? <br />What challenges does this pose for us?<br />How do we respond to differences from the ‘norm’?<br />
    11. 11. What about Universities 2.0?<br />Diversity of entry routes<br />Issues of dealing with developing autonomy<br />Older – with additional responsibilities/issues?<br />More local, many with existing established peer groups<br />Earning whilst learning<br />Disengaged learners seeking qualification whilst unsure what University life is about<br />Reduction in places: increased competition<br />
    12. 12. Possible Policy Changes?<br />Reduce ‘burden on tax payer’<br />Strengthen finances of universities<br />Improve the quality of the student experience<br />Example?<br />“Students should be able to study for a degree at any university in England, but attend lectures at their local further education college.” (Willetts, 10 June 2010)<br />
    13. 13. What Will This Mean For Us?<br />Significant changes to how we do what we do<br />Increase in part time students? More flexibility?<br />How will we engage diverse learners and support a different learning experience?<br />What do we know about student expectations, experiences and reasons for engaging with University? <br />
    14. 14. Why Do Students Leave University?<br />Because they are not engaged<br />Not engaged academically<br />“I am not clever enough”<br />“The course is not what I thought it would be”<br />Not engaged socially<br />“I feel lonely”<br />“I am homesick”<br />“The other students are not friendly”<br />
    15. 15. Do we know…<br />What ‘transition’ means to different individuals?<br />What does ‘transition’ mean to you?<br />What have you done to address issues of student transition, expectations and engagement?<br />What impact has this had?<br />
    16. 16. Transition<br />Transition is a key issue with regard to the First Year Experience (Tinto, 1987, 1993; Pitkethly & Prosser, 2001; Longden and Yorke, 2008; the STAR project, 2008)<br />Transition starts before students arrive – from the moment they think about applying<br />Transition continues throughout their University lives – between semesters, modules, concepts, years/stages and upon exit <br />
    17. 17. Student success<br />Better preparation<br />Fair admissions<br />Flexible progression<br />First steps in HE<br />Student Life Cycle Model<br />Layer et al, 2002<br />
    18. 18. Student success<br />Clear expectations<br />Flexible assessment, regular feedback<br />Explicit requirements<br />Support during first year<br />Transitions Life Cycle Model<br />Currant, 2009<br />
    19. 19. Why Come to University?<br />Balance of power between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation <br />Why have they decided to come to University at all?<br />What do they expect… <br />of University itself?<br />to do once they leave?<br />
    20. 20. Why Are You Here?<br />Because “I have nothing else to do”<br />Because “my parents/siblings told me to come”<br />Because “I don’t want to get a job”<br />Because “I want to study the subject”<br />What impact will this have on engagement? Why are our students here? Why should they stay?<br />
    21. 21. HERE Project<br />HERE Project (Higher Education: Retention & Engagement) <br />Collaborative investigation look at two areas of student retention and success. <br />Partners: NTU (lead); Bournemouth; Bradford<br />Two strands<br />Student doubters (first years)<br />Programmes with better than peer rates of retention<br />
    22. 22. HERE Project<br />Student doubters (first years)<br />Higher number of students have doubts than leave but what makes them stay?<br />Survey conducted at each partner NTU, Bournemouth & Bradford <br />Programmes with better than peer rates of retention<br />Based on the observations of significant differences in rates of retention between ostensibly similar programmes<br />
    23. 23. Student Transition Survey (2008/9)<br />
    24. 24. Why do students doubt?<br />Significant numbers of students have doubts but for different reasons:<br />Course related issues<br />Student lifestyle<br />Finances<br />Personal incidents/problems<br />Personal/emotional issues<br />Homesick/missing family and/or friends<br />
    25. 25. Why Do Students Stay?<br />Bradford Data<br />
    26. 26. Why Do Students Stay?<br />
    27. 27. Why Do Students Stay?<br />
    28. 28. Why Do Students Stay?<br />
    29. 29. HE system<br />Organisational system<br />Academic system<br />Social system<br />Student relations<br />Student engagement & belonging<br />Professional services system<br />Dispositions & capacities<br />May & Thomas, 2010<br />
    30. 30.
    31. 31.
    32. 32.
    33. 33.
    34. 34. Strategy level: Core Principles <br />
    35. 35. Intervention level: Core principles<br />
    36. 36. Common Outcomes<br />
    37. 37. Why Have I Stayed?<br />
    38. 38. The Importance of Friends<br />“Support from family and friends has really helped me”<br />“My determination and the support of friends, family and my personal tutor”<br />“Being here I have received all the help and support I've needed and more, this has made me want to continue and see the degree through to the end!”<br />“Friends and realising the importance of finishing my degree”<br />
    39. 39. Developing a Community<br /><ul><li>“I think it starts when you walk down the street and you see someone and you go hey … I know them from University and that’s what made me feel like it [like I belonged]”
    40. 40. “The more people you know through other clubs and stuff the more you feel part of the University”
    41. 41. “The second term is when I started to feel more at home because in the first term you are always referred to as a fresher and 2nd term you are a first year student…I’ve got more friends, more like friendships, rather than just knowing lots of people” </li></li></ul><li>What does all this mean?<br />Challenges with engaging students in their studies<br />Conflicting pressures and concerns taking focus away from University<br />Lack of ‘academic maturity’ and poor decision making in some cases<br />Focus on positives; making time to listen, hear and build communities…<br />
    42. 42. What Can We Do?<br />Identify student expectations of University <br />Make explicit institutional requirements<br />Demystify the complex, codified structures<br />Provide holistic induction experience<br />Supportive assessment process<br />Provide early formative assessment<br />Engage with curriculum to inspire learners<br />Define curriculum engagement<br />Academic and Social integration <br />
    43. 43. Some areas of focus…<br />Induction, transition and initial engagement<br />Engaging students in University life - building a real, sustainable and workable University community<br />Research into the student experience – listening to the student voice and making changes<br />
    44. 44. Develop Me!<br />Skills tracking<br />Meet and chat, pre-entry activities<br />Online resources<br />Mobile guides<br />developme.ning.com<br />Student voice<br /><ul><li>Expectations survey
    45. 45. First Year Experience questionnaire
    46. 46. Student experience research</li></ul>www.bradford.ac.uk/<br />developme<br />www.braduni.mobi<br />Meet and chat online<br />
    47. 47. If you can only make one change…<br />How often do you smile at people?<br />
    48. 48. Smiling helps with…<br />Belonging<br />Building a community<br />Staff morale<br />Student satisfaction<br />Initial impressions<br />Putting a human face on the experience<br />League tables<br />Smiley KPI!<br />
    49. 49. Any Questions?!<br />
    50. 50. <Thank you!/><br />

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