Using e systems to support student engagement

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Workshop delivered at First Level Assessment Practice conference at Leeds Met Uni on 16 June 2010

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  • Develop Me! The Develop Me! model was first piloted in 2006. Since then it has grown considerably in response to feedback from staff and students. Develop Me! currently consists of five different strands. These are: A social network hosted in ning and found online at http://developme.ning.com SaPRA : our in-house Skills and Personal Development Activity. SaPRA focuses on helping students to identify their levels of confidence in different skill areas such as academic reading, academic writing, communication skills and so on. SaPRA utilises PebblePad. More information about SaPRA can be found on our website. Online skills development resources . These resources provide 24/7 help and support to students who have identified that they need to develop a particular skill area. Students interact with the resources in a number of different ways for example as a result of a 121 intervention with an LDU adviser, after completing SaPRA or after attending an LDU workshop. Mobile Guides . The mobile guides are available at www.braduni.mobi and provide students with information about the University in an easy to access format. We are currently pursuing the idea of creating a iPhone app that users can download onto their iPhones or iPod touches. This will be followed up with versions for windows based devices in the near future. Research into the Student Experience . We have been actively researching the student experience at Bradford since 2005. This research has been fundamental to the implementation and refinement of the Develop Me! approach. Without regular feedback from the student body I would feel less confident that our approach was meeting the needs of students. However because we have such an open dialogue with the student body I am confident that what we are doing is meeting their needs and doing so in a way that they want it to be done. Many Universities have developed social networks in the last few years, but I am especially proud of the way in which we have done this at Bradford as it’s been truly student led.
  • 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-Induction Our 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 p rimary 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.”
  • Using e systems to support student engagement

    1. 1. Develop Me! Support Me! Retain Me! A multi-pronged e-approach to retention and transition Becka Currant Dean of Students University of Bradford
    2. 2. Aims of session <ul><li>Provide overview of Develop Me! and show how the approach is used to support retention and transition at the University of Bradford </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss why this approach has been adopted </li></ul><ul><li>Identify elements that might work at your institution </li></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li>&quot;... programs which most effectively meet the range of transition issues…must be grounded and nourished within the &quot;everyday life&quot; 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 &quot;welcomed&quot;, their social interactions with teachers and their early experiences of course advice and support services are the most crucial variables in successful transition .” </li></ul><ul><li>Pargetter et al (1998) in Cook & Ashton, Student Transition: Practices and policies to promote retention </li></ul>Context
    4. 4. Who does what…?! <ul><li>Who is already using social media to engage with students? </li></ul><ul><li>I/my University already uses these </li></ul><ul><li>I’d like to but don’t know where to start </li></ul><ul><li>I’m suspicious of using them </li></ul>
    5. 5. Develop Me! Meet and chat online <ul><li>Expectations survey </li></ul><ul><li>First Year Experience questionnaire </li></ul><ul><li>Student experience research </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
    6. 6. A Brief History of Develop Me! <ul><li>Extended student model HEA Pathfinder, NTFS Outduction, HERE project </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-entry to post graduation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>E-induction HEA e-learning Research Observatory, HERE project </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Seamless transition into University </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Integrated online support HEFCE, JISC </li></ul><ul><ul><li>24/7 support available </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Responding to diverse students ELESIG/HEA/JISC/HEFCE </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Digital typology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>LLiDA work, development of SaPRA </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. E-induction <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>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? </li></ul><ul><li>Is everybody as shell shocked and tired as I am, gosh hope next week isn't so tiring. </li></ul><ul><li>Social: </li></ul><ul><li>Start process of making links with peers on courses and other students in University (ning) </li></ul><ul><li>Share hopes, fears and concerns about starting course (ning, expectations questionnaire) </li></ul><ul><li>Identify challenges and find answers to burning questions (expectations questionnaire) </li></ul><ul><li>Feel ‘at home’ (mobile guides, iPhone app) </li></ul>
    8. 8. <ul><li>“ Most of the things that related to the serious aspect of University I found on the University of Bradford website.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ It was good to be able to find out about things any time of day.” </li></ul>E-induction <ul><li>Academic: </li></ul><ul><li>Early engagement with academic materials and development of academic skills (ning, iPhone app, SaPRA) </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 (SaPRA, online resources) </li></ul>
    9. 9. Social Network <ul><li>Why establish a network? </li></ul><ul><li>Easy way of linking with people </li></ul><ul><li>Useage is so high it would be foolish not to! </li></ul><ul><li>They can help to increase student retention and engagement: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[My worst experience was] “Feeling small if stood in the atrium whilst no one known is present.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ there needs to be more small group inductions so its easier to get to know people and make friends” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ 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 :-) &quot; </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. <ul><li>Make Research-Based Learning the Standard </li></ul><ul><li>Construct an Inquiry-Based Freshman Year </li></ul><ul><li>Build on the Freshman Foundation </li></ul><ul><li>Remove Barriers to Interdisciplinary Education </li></ul><ul><li>Link Communication Skills and Course Work </li></ul><ul><li>Use Information Technology Creatively </li></ul><ul><li>Culminate with a Capstone Experience </li></ul><ul><li>Educate Graduate Students as Apprentice Teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Change Faculty Reward Systems </li></ul><ul><li>Cultivate a Sense of Community </li></ul>Ten Ways to Change Undergraduate Education The Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University: REINVENTING UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION Boyer, 1999
    11. 11. <ul><li>What’s on the ning site ? </li></ul><ul><li>http://developme.ning.com </li></ul>
    12. 12. Staff Feedback http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qqy0p2zuTs
    13. 13. Questions/comments/debate… <ul><li>How does this compare with your experiences? </li></ul><ul><li>What else do you want to know? </li></ul><ul><li>10 mins discussion </li></ul>
    14. 14. Feedback from groups…
    15. 15. <ul><li>S kills a nd P ersonal R eflective A ctivity. </li></ul><ul><li>Skills self-audit of confidence in different skill areas. </li></ul><ul><li>Covers wide range of skills expected in HE, e.g. academic reading & writing, IT skills etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Includes planning activity to develop confidence. </li></ul><ul><li>Completed at start of 1 st year and used throughout the year. </li></ul><ul><li>New versions developed for different stages. </li></ul>SaPRA: What is it?
    16. 16. <ul><li>Helps students deal more effectively with academic integration and cohesion. </li></ul><ul><li>Initiates reflection on prior learning experiences. </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages students to think about how they will adjust to being at University. </li></ul><ul><li>Personal Development Planning (PDP) </li></ul>SaPRA: Why do it?
    17. 17. <ul><li>SaPRA is not a test – there are no right or wrong answers. </li></ul><ul><li>Students need to be HONEST! They are only cheating themselves if they lie! </li></ul><ul><li>No one sees the results unless a student wants them to. </li></ul><ul><li>Process is reflective and developmental – needs to be viewed as part of an ongoing process. </li></ul>Key Principles of SaPRA
    18. 18. <ul><li>Phase 1: Summer 06 – Development of SaPRA for 06/07 paper delivery. </li></ul><ul><li>Phase 2: Summer 07 – conversion to electronic format in Moodle for 07/08. </li></ul><ul><li>Phase 3: May 08 – conversion to e-portfolio profile (PebblePAD) </li></ul><ul><li>Phase 4: 2009 onwards – embedded into curriculum </li></ul>Delivery of SaPRA
    19. 19. <ul><li>Click on create new then more and choose profile. </li></ul>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.
    20. 20. The Student Voice <ul><li>“ It’s good to know that the institution cares about you” </li></ul><ul><li>“ 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” </li></ul><ul><li>“ 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” </li></ul><ul><li>“ SaPRA has helped me to focus on what I need to” </li></ul>
    21. 21. Comments from Staff <ul><li>“ [Sapra has] helped students to be more strategic in the support that they seek” </li></ul><ul><li>“ [SaPRA has] helped to inform interventions with my tutees” </li></ul><ul><li>“ having the cohort overview has helped to contextualise study skills sessions” </li></ul><ul><li>“ SaPRA has helped us to improve our personal tutoring system – we have something to focus on now that everybody can talk about” </li></ul>
    22. 22. <ul><li>Develop Me! strategy has led to a transformation of how we deal with issues of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Transition, initial engagement and ‘belonging’ within the University community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Retention of students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engagement of students living at home and on collaborative courses </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Approach being rebranded as ‘Love Learning’ for 2010 onwards </li></ul>Institutional Impact
    23. 23. <ul><li>University wide strategies for this type of work? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lead responsibility has to be with senior manager </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Coherent implementation approach needs to be developed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff development needs to be taken seriously </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Student engagement needs to be supported and nurtured </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Technological issues: support, access, training etc </li></ul>Institutional Implications
    24. 24. Discussion <ul><li>How do students give you feedback about their experiences? How effective is this? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you encourage new students to engage with the institution and to start making links with students/staff once they arrive? </li></ul><ul><li>How have (have!) you utilised technology to develop links between staff and students? How effective has this been? </li></ul>
    25. 25. <ul><li><Thank you!/> </li></ul>

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