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.
Our e-induction plans have responded to literature in student retention/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). This is achieved at Bradford by the following areas. Areas highlighted in pink are key develop me strands.
(figures in brackets are average rank across all cohorts)
H&S more mature students with a weaker academic background and possibly lower socio-economics.
Support Me! Develop Me! Retain Me!
Can a reflective skills activity increase
student engagement, motivation and
Becka Currant, Head of Learner Development and
Neil Currant, Lecturer in PDP and ePortfolio
What is SaPRA?
How is SaPRA delivered?
Staff and Student feedback
Medium sized, pre-1992
Based in North of the UK
Cluttered HE provision in
Strong widening participation
High numbers of technical,
vocational and professional
“Making Knowledge Work”
Meet and chat, pre-
• Expectations survey
• First Year Experience
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
• Early engagement with
academic materials and
development of academic
• Completion of SaPRA to
identify levels of
confidence and develop
action plan to reflect on
with personal tutor and
evidence in PDP (online
• Start process of making
links with peers on
courses and other
students in University
• Share hopes, fears and
concerns about starting
• Identify challenges and
find answers to burning
• Feel ‘at home’ (mobile
Primary objective: enable students to manage process
of transition in social and academic terms
Skills and Personal Reflective Activity.
Skills self-audit of confidence in different skill
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
New versions developed for different stages.
SaPRA: What is it?
Helps students deal more effectively
with academic integration and cohesion.
Initiates reflection on prior learning
Encourages students to think about how
they will adjust to being at University.
Personal Development Planning (PDP)
SaPRA: Why do it?
SaPRA is not a test – there are no right or
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
Key Principles of SaPRA
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
1) Click on
then more and
2) From the list select the version of
SaPRA for your course.
3) Click on Start Profile.
4) Read through the introduction and
51 statements (3 were excluded as they
were institution specific & not
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
778 first year students from 9 subject areas
Computing & IT
Health & Social care
Findings: Institutional 1
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
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
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)
Judging reliability of sources (36.8)
Skim reading (35.3)
Findings: Institutional 2
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
Psychology students significantly more
confident in academic writing.
Findings: Subject Based 1
Expectations Individual skills Communication
IT Library skills
Rank for each section
H & S found
Findings: Subject Based 2
The Student Voice
“It’s good to know that the institution cares about
“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”
• “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
• “Key skills they are really important, I do
understand why you put it there. I do see
the importance of it”
The Student Voice
Comments from Staff
“[Sapra has] helped students to be more
strategic in the support that they seek”
“[SaPRA has] helped to inform interventions with
“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”
• Year 1 Pharmacy module
• Difficulties with previous iterations, with
poor student evaluation scores received
• Mis-match between student and staff
• Large number of competencies to be
evidenced in paper PDF
• SaPRA helped to refocus course team and
provide effective context for development
• Develop Me! strategy has led to a
transformation of how we deal with issues
– Transition, initial engagement and ‘belonging’
within the University community
– Retention of students, especially on STEM
– Engagement of students living at home
• 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
• How difficult is it to move forward
curriculum change at your institution?