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  1. 1. Support Me! Develop Me! Retain Me! Can a reflective skills activity increase student engagement, motivation and success? Becka Currant, Head of Learner Development and Student Engagement Neil Currant, Lecturer in PDP and ePortfolio
  2. 2.  Institutional context  What is SaPRA?  How is SaPRA delivered?  Results  Staff and Student feedback  Implications  Discussion Overview
  3. 3.  Medium sized, pre-1992 University  Based in North of the UK  Cluttered HE provision in region  Strong widening participation engagement  High numbers of technical, vocational and professional courses  “Making Knowledge Work” Institutional Context
  4. 4. Develop Me! Meet and chat, pre- entry activities Online resources developme Skills tracking Mobile guides Student voice • Expectations survey • First Year Experience questionnaire
  5. 5. A Brief History of Develop Me! • Extended student model HEA Pathfinder, NTFS Outduction – Pre-entry to post graduation • E-induction HEA e-learning Research Observatory – 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
  6. 6. E-induction Academic: • Early engagement with academic materials and development of academic skills (ning) • Completion of SaPRA to identify levels of confidence and develop action plan to reflect on with personal tutor and evidence in PDP (online resources) 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) • Identify challenges and find answers to burning questions (expectations questionnaire) • Feel ‘at home’ (mobile guides) Primary objective: enable students to manage process of transition in social and academic terms
  7. 7.  Skills and Personal Reflective Activity.  Skills self-audit of confidence in different skill areas.  Covers wide range of skills expected in HE, e.g. academic reading & writing, IT skills etc.  Includes planning activity to develop confidence.  Completed at start of 1st year and used throughout the year.  New versions developed for different stages. SaPRA: What is it?
  8. 8.  Helps students deal more effectively with academic integration and cohesion.  Initiates reflection on prior learning experiences.  Encourages students to think about how they will adjust to being at University.  Personal Development Planning (PDP) SaPRA: Why do it?
  9. 9.  SaPRA is not a test – there are no right or wrong answers.  Students need to be HONEST! They are only cheating themselves if they lie!  No one sees the results unless a student wants them to.  Process is reflective and developmental – needs to be viewed as part of an ongoing process. Key Principles of SaPRA
  10. 10.  Phase 1: Summer 06 – Development of SaPRA for 06/07 paper delivery.  Phase 2: Summer 07 – conversion to electronic format in Moodle for 07/08.  Phase 3: May 08 – conversion to e- portfolio profile (PebblePAD) Delivery of SaPRA
  11. 11. 1) Click on create new then more and choose profile. 2) From the list select the version of SaPRA for your course. 3) Click on Start Profile. 4) Read through the introduction and then begin.
  12. 12. Skills Audit  51 statements (3 were excluded as they were institution specific & not generalisable)  7 skill areas: Academic Writing, Academic reading, Expectations, Individual skills, Communication, IT, Library skills.  Self-rating scale of 1 to 5, 1 = low confidence and 5 = high confidence in skill area.
  13. 13. 778 first year students from 9 subject areas  Engineering  Archaeology  Combined studies  Pharmacy  Psychology  Computing & IT  General Science  Health & Social care  Nursing Research Population
  14. 14. Rank order  IT  Expectations  Communication  Individual skills  Academic writing  Academic Reading  Library Skills Findings: Institutional 1
  15. 15. Top statements (selection from top 10): Using computers for email and web (2.2) Working with others (5.4) Being more responsible for own learning (8.3) Making new friends (11.3) Using ‘Office-type’ programs (12.2) Using social networking sites (12.4) Working to deadlines (13.3) Findings: Institutional 1
  16. 16. Bottom statements (selection from bottom 10)  Giving a presentation (45.8)  Critically analysing texts (43.3)  Writing Bibliographies (39.8)  Understanding citations (39.4)  Finding a variety of sources (not just Google search) (39)  Judging reliability of sources (36.8)  Skim reading (35.3) Findings: Institutional 2
  17. 17.  IT skills ranked 1st or 2nd in all subjects except Health & Social care.  Library skills & academic reading ranked in bottom three for all courses.  Health & Nursing significantly more confident at participation in class discussions.  Psychology students significantly more confident in academic writing. Findings: Subject Based 1
  18. 18. 0.0 5.0 10.0 15.0 20.0 25.0 30.0 35.0 40.0 45.0 Academic Writing Academic reading Expectations Individual skills Communication skills IT Library skills Rank for each section EDT AGES SLED Pharmacy Psychology Informatics Science F H & S found Nursing Findings: Subject Based 2
  19. 19. The Student Voice  “It’s good to know that the institution cares about you”  “the statements are really good, because when you are applying for a job […] the questions they ask you in interviews are based around communication skills and writing skills, or essays”  “it’s going to be really useful when we are filling out application forms or going for interviews and we have got to sell ourselves”
  20. 20. • “I found it really time consuming…but I do understand why, I do understand the importance of it” • “SaPRA has helped me to focus on what I need to” • “Key skills they are really important, I do understand why you put it there. I do see the importance of it” The Student Voice
  21. 21. Comments from Staff  “[Sapra has] helped students to be more strategic in the support that they seek”  “[SaPRA has] helped to inform interventions with my tutees”  “having the cohort overview has helped to contextualise study skills sessions”  “SaPRA has helped us to improve our personal tutoring system – we have something to focus on now that everybody can talk about”
  22. 22. • Year 1 Pharmacy module • Difficulties with previous iterations, with poor student evaluation scores received • Mis-match between student and staff expectations • Large number of competencies to be evidenced in paper PDF • SaPRA helped to refocus course team and provide effective context for development Curriculum Transformation
  23. 23. • Develop Me! strategy has led to a transformation of how we deal with issues of: – Transition, initial engagement and ‘belonging’ within the University community – Retention of students, especially on STEM courses – Engagement of students living at home Institutional Impact
  24. 24. Discussion • How do you deal with student expectations and varying levels of skills? • What input do personal tutors have in helping to manage the process of transition? • How difficult is it to move forward curriculum change at your institution?