Spring new beginnings for the transition theme team!

By Sidonie Ecochard, Research Assistant, DLTE

As Edinburgh is slowly progressing towards spring, our transition theme team is also experiencing its early spring changes! We have now officially moved to our new office on the seventh floor (room B.7.37) and I will be replacing the irreplaceable Imi Dencer-Brown as the team’s research assistant.

Spring is also the time of year for our fresh crop of transition case studies for the QAA and we would like to thank all the participants for their time and contribution. It has been a great opportunity for us to investigate the interesting and diverse practices implemented at ENU to support our students. Although not all the case studies collected will be submitted for publication onto the QAA website, the others will be redacted and added to the ENU Learning, Teaching and Assessment Resource Bank.

Here is a quick preview of the case studies submitted at the QAA:

Maureen Andrew, from the Employability & Opportunities Team, has outlined how the ‘Welcome Workshops’ attended by every new ENU student during Fresher’s week, provide our students with the unique opportunity to meet each other and start thinking about their career from day 1, in line with the university values of ambition and inclusiveness.

Jyoti Bhardwar, lecturer at EN University School of Computing, has presented her study into the experience of computing students as they transition into and through their first year of higher education at ENU. Her unique research focuses on the everyday minor adversities confronting first year students as well as their ability to deal with such challenges –in line with the QAA self-efficacy report.

Caroline Moffat, coordinator of the Student Mentoring Program, has described how she matches volunteer student mentors with self-referred first year student mentees so as to offer personalized help in academic skills and ‘fast-track orientation’ to all students starting and attending their first year at ENU. Her program consists of an exchange, between the mentors who acquire training and a diversity of skills – communication, leadership, mentoring- and the mentees who get assistance in the specific academic areas they require –academic writing, exam preparation, referencing, IT skills, organization.

Dr Carles Ibanez, lecturer and programme leader at ENBS, has put forward proposals and conducted pilots to smooth and hasten the transition of international students by offering a student centered, targeted and efficient system of support. The recommendations include pre-transition preparation in terms of building the student’s knowledge and skills. Upon arrival, the students’ knowledge and skills are assessed in order to direct the students towards adapted support, using an online PDT checklist and a color-coding system to identify and target at-risk students. Finally, the support mechanisms further include support workshops, targeting key skills and offered in a timely manner to the students.

Finally, Debbie Meharg, lecturer at the School of Computing, has presented her work with the Associate Student Program, and how it prepares the Associate Students’ transition from college onto ENU by the means of diverse lectures and workshops in their year 1 and 2 of study.

You will be able to read our case studies in their entirety on the QAA webpage soon as well as on the DLTE page.

QAA webpage: http://www.enhancementthemes.ac.uk/resources/case-studies/student-transitions—institutional-case-studies

DLTE webpage: http://staff.napier.ac.uk/services/dlte/QAAthemes/ST2014%e2%80%932017/Pages/Case-studies.aspx

Further case studies were collected, and will be added onto our LTA resource bank,  such as Sophie Foley’s case study, senior lecturer at EN School of Life Sport and Social Sciences, has given us an outstanding example of using curriculum re-design to support the transition of the Hong-Kong students from further to higher education. Instead of providing additional support activities, the main module learning, teaching and assessment activities have been re-designed to proactively enable that transition and address the specific needs in terms of academic and language skills of the Hong-Kong cohort of students.

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