Keynote presented to University of Bedfordshire, June 2008. Focus on how we support and respond to diverse student needs with an ever changing student population. What is it like to be a student in the 21st century?
Supporting Diverse Learners – What do we know? Becka Currant Head of Learner Development and Student Engagement
Overview <ul><li>What do we know about the student experience? </li></ul><ul><li>Expectations of modern students </li></ul><ul><li>Meeting those needs </li></ul><ul><li>Next steps </li></ul>
What do we know about the student experience? <ul><li>National research in FYE ongoing </li></ul><ul><li>UK behind in terms of research compared with America and Australia </li></ul><ul><li>Issues identified have not really changed </li></ul><ul><li>Problems have wider impact due to differences in student population </li></ul>
Students 2.0? <ul><li>Who/what are modern students? </li></ul><ul><li>A vision of students today Wesch (2007) </li></ul><ul><li>What issues do they face? </li></ul><ul><li>What challenges does this pose for us? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we respond to differences from the ‘norm’? </li></ul>
Expectations prior to arrival <ul><li>“ 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” </li></ul>“ I expect to sign up to do a hundred and one things and then get stressed because I can't cope with them all. Or I expect I will try too hard and therefore overload myself with unnecessary pressure and get stressed”
How do students think they learn best? <ul><li>“ 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” </li></ul>“ 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” “ 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”
<ul><li>“ 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 I already got talking to a few people, and that really worked wonders for my confidence” </li></ul>What is their best experience? “ 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”
<ul><li>“ Lecturers that present the course material in such a way that what could be a boring lecture is interesting” </li></ul>What one thing would they change? “ More meetings to promote the relation among student (same or different years).. to exchange experiences, knowledge about life in the city, at Uni..etc…” “ More podcasts from lectures to be available” “ I want observers come to observe lecturers and see how they teaching. I also want them to ask students in private about lecturers” “ More online FAQs to assist those of us who cannot always contact the university during opening times”
Meeting those needs… <ul><li>Extended student model </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-entry to post graduation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>E-induction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Seamless transition into University </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Integrated online support </li></ul><ul><ul><li>24/7 support available </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Digital typology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Responding to diverse student needs </li></ul></ul>
E-induction <ul><li>Academic: </li></ul><ul><li>Early engagement with academic materials and development of academic skills </li></ul><ul><li>Completion of SaPRA to identify levels of confidence and develop action plan to reflect on with personal tutor and evidence in PDP </li></ul><ul><li>Social: </li></ul><ul><li>Start process of making links with peers on courses and other students in University </li></ul><ul><li>Share hopes, fears and concerns about starting course </li></ul><ul><li>Identify challenges and find answers to burning questions </li></ul>Primary objective: enable students to manage process of transition in academic and social terms
Future support (2008 onwards) Integrated Online Support Develop Me! Online E- Induction Module Course Specific Information Health & Safety Information Integrated support for skills development and understanding development needs Generic University based information (the usual paper bumpf sent out to freshers!) Bespoke interactive exercises to promote academic and social cohesion prior to arrival and first few weeks Targeted information relevant to particular courses
Develop Me! Meet and chat online <ul><li>Expectations survey </li></ul><ul><li>First Year Experience questionnaire </li></ul>Meet and chat, pre-entry activities developme.ning.com Online resources www.bradford.ac.uk/developme Skills tracking Mobile guides www.braduni.mobi Student voice
Digital Typology Digitally Inexperienced Digital Socialites Digitally Reluctant Digitally Experienced Experience of technology Degree of educational contribution High Low Low High
4 categories of learners: <ul><li>Digitally Inexperienced </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mature students? Haven’t really been exposed to technology </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Digitally Reluctant </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not keen on using technology but know it is there and can use it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Digitally Experienced </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Institution needs to respond to expertise. Will it be fully supportive of their needs? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Digital Socialites </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How can the institution harness their skills. Is there appropriate software available to support needs? </li></ul></ul>Developing the typology
<ul><li>What implications does this have for your role? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you know about the experiences of your students? </li></ul><ul><li>How will you respond to an ever diversifying student body? </li></ul><ul><li>What else is on the horizon? </li></ul>Where do we go from here?