Helen Johnston et al 2008


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Session A - RR5-09

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Helen Johnston et al 2008

  1. 1. Engaging students: encouraging success Helen Johnston, Syed Mahfuzul Aziz, C. Yalçın Kaya & Diana Quinn
  2. 2. New start in Engineering: 2008 at Mawson Lakes <ul><li>A new common first year program for Civil, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering students </li></ul><ul><li>broadened access : Associate degree and non-traditional students </li></ul><ul><li>new courses and increased focus on experiential and project –based learning </li></ul><ul><li>new Teaching Team including </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a first year academic director </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>all course coordinators </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning and Teaching Unit staff: learning advisers, academic developer, online adviser </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Library staff </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Students’ first 6 weeks at uni <ul><li>no bells, no rules </li></ul><ul><li>parents in the dark: what they don’t know about they can’t worry about </li></ul><ul><li>new friends, new loves </li></ul><ul><li>a job - luvly money </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Another shift? sure, more luvly money </li></ul></ul><ul><li>a class: not today thanks! </li></ul><ul><li>the Maths quiz? I’ll do next week’s </li></ul><ul><li>Census date: OOPS! </li></ul>
  4. 4. While it’s a given that programs need to offer <ul><li>engaging curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>good teaching </li></ul><ul><li>early assessment </li></ul><ul><li>multiple opportunities to succeed </li></ul><ul><li>Students who don’t attend class and/or complete early assessment tasks are unlikely to hear their lecturers’ and tutors’ advice. </li></ul>
  5. 5. So there’s a communication and support dilemma: how do we reach students? <ul><li>The ‘Supporting students at risk’ strategy is </li></ul><ul><li>an academically focussed intervention </li></ul><ul><li>clearly linked assessment </li></ul><ul><li>SSAR offers </li></ul><ul><li>early & explicit advice to students to join the main game i.e. their academic program . </li></ul><ul><li>SSAR involves </li></ul><ul><li>the Engineering First Year Teaching Team </li></ul><ul><li>course coordinators in target courses </li></ul><ul><li>Learning Advisers in the Learning and Teaching Unit </li></ul>
  6. 6. Academic success is a powerful means of ensuring <ul><li>student engagement </li></ul><ul><li>student persistence </li></ul>
  7. 7.
  8. 8. SSAR target courses, March – July ‘08 <ul><li>Sustainable Engineering Practice (SEP): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>an introduction to the profession and how it is practiced within a sustainable context </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>develops communication, teamwork and project planning using problem-based learning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mathematical Methods for Engineers (MME1)  : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>includes topics in calculus in preparation for Mathematical Methods for Engineers 2. It also includes an introduction to the mathematical software MATLAB </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>first year maths is historically challenging: broadened intake: potential for attrition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>attendance and participation in assessment are crucial </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Enrolment: 200+ </li></ul>
  9. 9. Course expectations <ul><li>SEP </li></ul><ul><li>A Class contact </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Weekly lectures (1 hr) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Weekly tutorials (2 hr) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Assessment – 3 tasks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Individual report , 15% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Student portfolio, 45% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Group project report and presentation, 40% </li></ul></ul><ul><li>MME1 </li></ul><ul><li>Class contact </li></ul><ul><li>lecture (2 hr) </li></ul><ul><li>Tutorial (1 hr) </li></ul><ul><li>Computer practical (1hr) </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Assignment 1                          10% </li></ul><ul><li>Assignment 2                            10% </li></ul><ul><li>Team project                             10% </li></ul><ul><li>Tutorial Quizzes (10x1%)        10% </li></ul><ul><li>MATLAB test                            10% </li></ul><ul><li>Exam                                        50% </li></ul>
  10. 10. Two points of contact <ul><li>Stage 1 lists: before Census date </li></ul><ul><li>SEP: based on attendance </li></ul><ul><li>MME1: based on attendance and assessment performance in 2 quizzes in weeks 2 & 3 </li></ul><ul><li>Stage 2 lists </li></ul><ul><li>SEP: based on Assignment 1 </li></ul><ul><li>MME1: based on continuing quizzes and Assignment 1 </li></ul>
  11. 11. How did students respond? <ul><li>Most students were pleased that someone was taking an interest in them. </li></ul><ul><li>Main student responses in late March: </li></ul><ul><li>struggling (27) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>with content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>with time management, often work related </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>there’s no problem (15) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>attendance lists must be wrong </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>everything is fine </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>withdrawal a possibility (4) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>work-study clash </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Did students contacted in the SSAR process succeed? <ul><li>Many on the first lists did not stay and complete the course. </li></ul><ul><li>Some </li></ul><ul><ul><li>had already withdrawn by late March </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>withdrew before Census date </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>took leave of absence during the semester </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>withdrew after Census date. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>For this paper we examined the final grades of students who completed the course and either passed or failed. </li></ul><ul><li>We have not yet summarised the final status of all listed students . </li></ul>
  13. 13. Summary of results by course <ul><li>SEP </li></ul><ul><li>relatively few students were referred and contacted </li></ul><ul><li>14 of those contacted completed the course </li></ul><ul><li>11 Passed: all new in 2008; stage of contact may be not relevant </li></ul><ul><li>3 Failed: 1 new in 2008, 2 Continuing </li></ul><ul><li>MME1 </li></ul><ul><li>Many more referred and contacted overall </li></ul><ul><li>76 of those contacted completed the course </li></ul><ul><li>18 Passed: stage of contact seems relevant, the majority contacted in Stage 1 </li></ul><ul><li>58 Failed: 39 new in 2008,19 Continuing </li></ul>
  14. 14. Final grades in SEP SEP (students New in 2008 or Continuing) N= 14 Point of contact Stage 1 list Stage 1 & 2 lists Stage 2 list Grades 2008 Cont 2008 Cont 2008 Cont Pass 5 0 1 0 5 0 Fail 0 2 0 0 1 0 Totals 5 2 1 0 6 0
  15. 15. Final grades in MME1 MME 1 (students New in 2008 or Continuing) N= 76 Point of contact Stage 1 list Stage 1 & 2 lists Stage 2 list Grades 2008 Cont 2008 Cont 2008 Cont Pass 9 0 0 2 3 4 Fail 4 4 7 9 28 6 Totals 13 4 7 11 31 10
  16. 16. Implications <ul><li>SSAR contact aims to provide information and support to commencing students </li></ul><ul><li>SSAR </li></ul><ul><li>seems to be most effective in late March, Stage 1 </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>students (SEP and MME1) appreciative of contact </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>students were often successful </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But SSAR </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>seems to be more effective among commencing than continuing students </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>so modified or additional approaches may be needed to support continuing students </li></ul></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Other outcomes? <ul><li>SSAR provides useful insights into the student experience </li></ul><ul><ul><li>commencing students find value in SSAR </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>successful students reported acting on advice. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In MME1 early contact was based on both attendance and quiz participation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MME1 proved as difficult as expected </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>quiz participation was crucial to success </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>by mid-semester students who were not passing were unlikely to pass the course </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>feedback from SSAR supported ongoing course-review by the Course Coordinator </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>more support is now provided for under-prepared students </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Finally <ul><li>This small review of SSAR in Engineering </li></ul><ul><ul><li>has prompted further study of program and course specific questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>role and value of student quizzes in learning in MME1? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>supporting continuing students? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>has raised questions about how SSAR might be used to inform teaching and learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>how can SSAR better meet student and course needs? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>how might we improve our data collection and evaluation processes? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What is the value in collecting longitudinal data in courses of known difficulty e.g. MME1? </li></ul></ul></ul>