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The Students' Journey with Technology Enhanced Learning



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  • Rich body of literature out there, contact me if you need some starting points!
  • A Brief History of Develop Me!Develop Me! has grown out of a number of different projects (highlighted in pink) which have all focused on increasing student engagement and providing the support learners need, at the time they want it and in a format they can access effectively.  These projects have included:Developing a model of the extended student from pre-entry to post graduation. This approach now forms the backbone of our student success strategy which has re-invented the student lifecycle model originally developed by HEFCE into 4 different lifecycles of applicant, transition, support and guidance and moving on.E-induction where we aim to provide a seamless transition into University through joining together enrolment, induction and transition activities into one place.Integrated online support where we provide 24/7 support to students via our web based materials offering interactive re-useable learning objects for students to engage with when they need to.We have also tried to respond to diverse students by developing a digital typology, the SaPRA tool and engaging with other JISC projects such as LLiDA (Learning Literacies in a Digital Age).
  • E-InductionOur development of e-induction has responded to literature in student retention and engagement which shows that students need to engage with either the academic or social spheres of University in order to be retained (Longden and Yorke, Tinto, Currant and Blaney, Currant and Keenan, Cook et al). The primary objective has been to enable students to manage process of transition in social and academic terms. This is achieved at Bradford by the following areas. Areas highlighted in pink are key Develop Me! strands. Social:Students are able to start the process of making friends through engaging with the social network. Here they can share their hopes, fears and concerns about starting their course. They can also have their burning questions answered by responding to our expectations questionnaire before they come. This helps to make them ‘feel at home’.  Examples of posts are:Hi all getting excited about starting uni, feels strange after not being in a school enviroments for syuch a looooong time. Hope to see you all soon.Hi everyone! I'm starting the foundation degree in Community Regeneration & Development in 26 sleeps and starting to get nervous! Can't wait to meet everyone! I noticed that we are supposed to meet in the atrium on the 21st - anyone know what time?Is everybody as shell shocked and tired as I am, gosh hope next week isn't so tiring.
  • Academic:Providing students with early access to academic materials helps them to engage with their course and feel more confident about starting. Completing SaPRA helps them to identify levels of confidence and develop and action plan to reflect on with their personal tutor. They can also start to record evidence in PebblePad and interact with the online materials to develop their skills. Students have said:“Most of the things that related to the serious aspect of University I found on the University of Bradford website.”“It was good to be able to find out about things any time of day.”
  • 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


  • 1. The Students’ Journey with Technology Enhanced Learning
    Becka Currant
    Dean of Students
    National Teaching Fellow
  • 2. Areas of Focus…
    Changing nature of student population and expectations about learning environments.
    What is the student lifecycle model?
    Ideas and examples of activities for each stage of the lifecycle
    Use of TEL to support ideas
    Impact on the institution of these ideas and approaches
  • 3. But first…
    A short video 
    How much do you know about social media and how technology has revolutionised interactions and communications?
  • 4. So what..?
    Yes, business focused but key messages relevant:
    Brand management and identity
    How people interact
    What devices are being used, when, by whom
    Expectations: information management; delivery; speed; format; ease of access; portability
  • 5. Stating the Obvious But…
    …Higher Education is changing:
    “The university system is in need of ‘radical change’ to provide a better deal for taxpayers and students” (Willetts, 10 June 2010)
    How is the sector going to respond?
    What will you do differently?
    How can TEL support this process?
  • 6.
  • 7. The Impact of ‘massification’
    Over last 20 years Higher education has undergone radical and unprecedented change (Education Act, 1992; Dearing Report, 1997; Roberts Report, 2003; Leitch Report, 2006; Browne, 2010; CSR, 2010)
    Learners are entering with different expectations and assumptions about their experiences
    The student body has become dramatically more heterogeneous and has fragmented in some cases
  • 8. Universities 2.0?
    Diversity of entry routes
    Issues of dealing with developing autonomy
    Earning whilst learning
    Disengaged learners seeking qualification
    Pressures on the system and individuals
    Changing processes within an inflexible system
    Tradition and history
  • 9. How do students think they learn best?
    “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”
    “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”
    “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”
  • 10. The Traditional Curriculum…
    University of X provides per module:
    Lectures x 2 hours x 12
    Seminars x 1 hour x 6
    Group tutorials x 1 hour x 3
    Group work (with assessed presentation)
    100+ hours of independent study (aka the library) per module
    Assessed by coursework and 3 hour exam
  • 11. And if you’re lucky then you get:
  • 12. And the students say…
    University of Salford 2010 NSS Scores for ‘The teaching on my course’ (taken from last accessed 6 Jan 2011
  • 13. The times they are a-changing
    What to do and how to do it?
    Where to find the time?
    How to evaluate effectiveness?
  • 14. Student success
    Better preparation
    Fair admissions
    Flexible progression
    First steps in HE
    Student Life Cycle Model
    The Student Lifecycle Model
    Layer et al, 2002
  • 15. Bradford Student Lifecycle Model
  • 16. Applicant (Preparation) Lifecycle
  • 17. Transition Lifecycle
  • 18. Progression and Support Lifecycle
  • 19. Moving On Lifecycle
  • 20.
  • 21. Examples of activities?
    Successful student recruitment
    Downloadable apps and media
    Use of social media to support choices
  • 22. Transition
    Transition is a key issue with regard to the student experience (Tinto, 1987, 1993; Pitkethly & Prosser, 2001; Longden and Yorke, 2008; the STAR project, 2008; HERE project, 2019)
    Transition starts before students arrive – from the moment they think about applying
    Transition continues throughout their University lives – between semesters, modules, concepts, years/stages and upon exit
  • 23. Context
    "... programs which most effectively meet the range of transition issues…must be grounded and nourished within the "everyday life" of universities, in their learning & teaching environments and in their student support services, rather than developed and implemented from above. Qualitative data suggest that the extent to which students are "welcomed", their social interactions with teachers and their early experiences of course advice and support services are the most crucial variables in successful transition."
    Pargetter et al (1998) in Cook & Ashton, Student Transition: Practices and policies to promote retention
  • 24. Develop Me!
    Skills tracking
    Meet and chat, pre-entry activities
    Online resources
    Mobile guides
    Student voice; AboutUoB mobile app
  • 25. A Brief History of Develop Me!
    Extended student model HEA Pathfinder, NTFS Outduction, HERE project
    Pre-entry to post graduation
    E-induction HEA e-learning Research Observatory, HERE project
    Seamless transition into University
    Integrated online support HEFCE
    24/7 support available
    Responding to diverse students ELESIG/HEA/JISC/HEFCE
    Digital typology
    LLiDA work, development of SaPRA
  • 26. E-induction: Social
    Start process of making links with peers on courses and other students in University (ning)
    Share hopes, fears and concerns about starting course (ning, expectations questionnaire)
    Identify challenges and find answers to burning questions (expectations questionnaire)
    Feel ‘at home’ (mobile app)
  • 27. E-induction: Academic
    • Early engagement with academic materials and development of academic skills (ning, mobile app)
    • 28. Completion of SaPRA to identify levels of confidence and develop action plan to reflect on with personal tutor and evidence in PDP (SaPRA, online resources)
  • Social Network
    Easy way of linking with people
    Useage is so high it would be foolish not to!
    They can help to increase student retention and engagement:
    [My worst experience was] “Feeling small if stood in the atrium whilst no one known is present.”
    “there needs to be more small group inductions so its easier to get to know people and make friends”
    “I feel a little less conspicuous, thanks to some very nice people. At the risk of sounding sappy, all I had to do was reach out :-)"
  • 29. Ten Ways to Change Undergraduate Education
    Make Research-Based Learning the Standard
    Construct an Inquiry-Based Freshman Year
    Build on the Freshman Foundation
    Remove Barriers to Interdisciplinary Education
    Link Communication Skills and Course Work
    Use Information Technology Creatively
    Culminate with a Capstone Experience
    Educate Graduate Students as Apprentice Teachers
    Change Faculty Reward Systems
    Cultivate a Sense of Community
    The Boyer Commission on
    Educating Undergraduates
    Boyer, 1999
  • 30. Progression & Support Lifecycle
    Support needs to be personalised, appropriate and effective
    Re-induction as important as initial induction
    Nurturing communities
    Managing transition to next level of study
    Dealing with ‘sophomore slump’
    Issues of accessing support; identifying when appropriate
  • 31. Moving On Lifecycle
    Alumni support: making the most of graduates; ensuring the community continues
    Outduction project: focusing on improving understanding of the final year experience
  • 32. “Technology isn’t a solution though is it? People should be spending more time on campus face to face. Students should be engaging with each other. Let’s have less online and more face to face.”
  • 33. We’re on the fringes
  • 34. Needy students will seek us out
  • 35. Traditional advertising reaches a few more
  • 36. Two options
    Use existing networks
    Create a new network
  • 37. Using existing vs. new networks
  • 38. So we’re using social media…
  • 39. …to help us reach many more
  • 40. And they can communicate with us…
  • 41. …and they tell their friends about us
  • 42. …and they tell their friends about us
    “I think that the Facebook page is a great idea and I have since spread the word to mates and got them to join”
  • 43. …who then follow our social media
  • 44. …and numbers using our services increases
  • 45. Organisational system
    HE system
    Academic system
    Social system
    Student relations
    Student engagement & belonging
    Professional services system
    Dispositions & capacities
    May & Thomas, 2010
  • 46. How do your programmes become ‘grounded and nourished’?
    What do you do to welcome your students?
    Do you provide social interactions with teachers/staff and other students?
    How do you embed course advice and support services?
    Can technology provide a solution to some of the issues?
  • 47. Intervention level: Core principles
  • 48. TEL provides answers
    But it doesn’t provide all of them
    And it doesn’t always work
    And people need to know what is expected
    They need to:
    Buy in
    Sign up
    Commit to
    Immerse themselves
    And they need support to make it work.
  • 49. Any Questions?!
  • 50. <Thank you!/>
  • 51. References
    Caldwell, J., Toman, N., and Leahy, J. (2006) Diversity and difference in the learning experience of students in contemporary mass Higher Education. Paper presented at NUI Galway 4th Annual Conference on Teaching & Learning 8-9 June 2006
    Cook et al, 2007; The STAR Project [last accessed 16 January 2009]
    Currant, B., & Keenan, C. (2009). Evaluating Systematic Transition to Higher Education. Brookes eJournal of Learning and Teaching, 2(4).
    Currant, B (2008) Towards a New Typology of Digital Learners: Issues for 1st Year Support Workshop delivered at the 3rd EFYE Network Conference, May, Wolverhampton
    Currant, B and Keenan, C (2008a) Learning from learners about developing e-learning resources to support transition to HE Proceedings of SEEL conference, July, Greenwich
    Currant, B and Keenan, C (2008b) Evaluating Systematic Transition to HE paper to be published in Brookes e-journal of Learning and Teaching (BeJLT) in December 2008
    Dearing, R. (1997) Higher Education in the Learning Society Crown Copyright Norwich
    Draper, S (2008) Tinto’s model of Student Retention available online: last accessed 4 Nov 2010
    Harvey, L., Drew,S. & Smith, M. (2006) ‘The first year experience, a review of the literature for the Higher Education Academy’ [online] Retrieved 1 December 2008 from
    Leitch, S (2006) Prosperity for all in the global economy - world class skills HMSO, Norwich [available from] accessed 24 February 2009
    NAO (National Audit Office) (2007) Staying the course: the retention of students in higher education. Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General. London: The Stationary Office, available from
    Peelo, M. & Wareham, T. [Editors] (2002) Failing Students in Higher Education The Society for Research into Higher Education, Open University Press
  • 52. References
    Quinn, J., Thomas., et al (2005) From life crisis to lifelong learning: Rethinking working-class 'drop out' from higher education, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
    Rhodes, C. and Nevill, A. (2004) Academic and social integration in higher education: a survey of satisfaction and dissatisfaction within a first-year education studies cohort at a new university, Journal of Further and Higher Education, 28.2
    Roberts, G. (2003) Joint consultation on the review of research assessment: consultation by the UK funding bodies Available from [last accessed 8 November 2007]
    Scott, P. (1995) The Meaning of Mass Higher Education Buckingham SRHE/Open University Press
    Thomas, L., 2002, ‘Student Retention in higher education: The role of institutional habitus’. Journal of Education Policy, 17(4), pp.423–42.
    Tinto, V. (1993) Leaving College: Rethinking the Causes and Cures of Student Attrition. (2nd Ed) Chicago: University of Chicago Press
    Toman, N.; Leahy, J. and Caldwell, J. (2005) The Learning Culture of Students in Contemporary Mass Higher Education. Proceedings of 3rd International Conference - What a Difference a Pedagogy Makes: Researching Lifelong Learning & Teaching Conference (2005) Centre for Research in Lifelong Learning
    UK Government Further and Higher Education Act, (1992) (c.13) HMSO, Norwich
    Yorke M. and Longden B. (2007) The first-year experience in higher education in the UK: report on Phase 1 of a project funded by the Higher Education Academy. Available at [last accessed 7 November 2008]
    Yorke, M. (1997), Undergraduate Non-completion in Higher Education in England, Report 1, HEFCE, London.,
    Yorke, M. and Longden, B. [editors] (2004) Retention and Student Success in Higher Education. The Society for Research into Higher Education, Open University Press