Presenter including contact details: Prof Neil Challis (email@example.com) Strand: Course identity Anticipated outcomes: A better shared understanding of lessons drawn from research as part of the More Math Grads project and experience with our own Mathematics course. Session outline: When students arrive at university, they have often left their familiar – and familial –networks. This is self-evidently true for those who leave the home town and family to come to Sheffield, but it is just as true that a mature student who has lived all their life in Sheffield will find themselves in an unfamiliar environment, with new people and new challenges. Drawing on our work with the More Maths Grads project, working with students and staff from four institutions, and our experience with our own course, we start this presentation with the belief that perhaps the most important element of a “good course” is the development of a strong sense of community. This yields several important benefits, crucially including a happier and more motivated student body. In turn this provides students with a vital support network, both academic and pastoral, which reduces staff workload in the long run, and a sense of belonging and a sunnier disposition when it comes to the National Student Survey. A sense of community may include many different identities, but in an academic context the most critical is that within the course. Crucially, such a community needs to include the student’s peers, students from other years, and the staff. A subject group identity can be encouraged in a variety of ways and in this presentation we will give examples of different ideas which have worked at Sheffield Hallam or elsewhere. These include both curricular and extra-curricular activities, the physical environment, online tools, and the attitudes which staff have towards the students.
Click to view: 288 course community – students are people too