Tag Archives: progression

Not just fun: The importance for social transition

Krassimira Teneva, Samantha Jane Logan &  Jess Inglis

Parallel session 1, Thunderstorm 1.1

Short Abstract
Research (Katanis, 2000) shows that students who do not make a successful social transition into university in the first year of study are less likely to persist. They are more likely to experience difficulties with their academic work and underachievement. This places more demands on academics to facilitate the students’ social transition as an integral part of the course delivery. This session will focus on ways you can make this happen, and on the help and support available from Student Support Services.

Back to event programme

Detailed Outline
In 2013-14 1446 students withdrew from the university without completing their course. They would have been affected by a number of issues (at SHU currently we haven’t got a robust process to record reasons for withdrawal) but research would suggest that failure to make friends, to feel that they belong to a community is likely to have contributed to the decision (Bers and Smith, 1991). Research (Kantanis, 2000; Urquhart & Pooley, 2007) also indicates that students who do not make a successful social transition into university in the first year of study are less likely to persist. They are more likely to experience difficulties with their academic work and underachieve. Lack of friendship networks can affect students’ self-esteem and confidence which hinders their ability to engage fully with the academic process (Thomas 2002; Tinto, 1998, 2000). The clear correlation between successful social transition and successful academic transition would indicate that academics and support staff need to do more to facilitate the students’ social transition as an integral part of the course delivery.

This session will focus on ways we can make this happen, and on the help and support available from Student Support Services. We will look at examples of projects which enhance the social experience of students, and enable them to develop friendship networks and learning communities, from SHU and other HEs

Bibliography:
• Kantanis, T. (2000). The role of social transition in students’ adjustment to the first-year of university. Journal of Institutional Research 9 (1), 100-110 http://www.aair.org.au/app/webroot/media/pdf/JIR/Journal%20of%20Institutional%20Research%20in%20Australasia%20and%20JIR/Volume%209,%20No.%201%20May%202000/Kantanis.pdf
• Tinto, V. (1998) Learning Communities and the Reconstruction of Remedial Education in Higher Education, Replacing Remediation in Higher Education Conference, Stamford University, Jan 26-27
• Tinto, V. (2000) Reconstructing the first year of college, in Student Support Services Model Retention Strategies for Two-year Colleges, Washington DC: Council for Opportunity in Education
• Thomas, L. (2002) ‘Student retention in Higher Education: the role of institutional habitus’, Journal of Educational Policy, Vol. 17, No. 4, pp. 423-32

On the day this session was merged with another session, as the themes overlapped. The details of that can be found here: Culture Connect: Engaging students through mentoring and supporting their transitions

278 – Collaborative Learning – Mark Boylan, Jackie Cawkwell

Jackie and Mark aimed to facilitate:

  • a developed understanding of the nature of collaboration
  • a map of the experience of collaborative learning
  • an identification of student support needs
  • a cross-course understanding of differences and similarities in practice
  • a possible SEEJ paper
  • an experience of a model of collaborative enquiry to inform practice

Using (literally) brown paper as a way of visualising the experience of collaborative learning, small groups mapped a real-life scenario, identifying strengths and weaknesses of the approach and discussing what student support activities might enhance the student experience. Whilst this methodology offers an effective way of unpicking different elements of a process, or in this case an experience, we did find that it takes more time than you’d think! Consequently we did well on charting the experience and on understanding the nature and different aspects of the experience  but barely began to explore differences and similarities between courses. Nevertheless, the enquiry group on collaborative learning will take this discussion forward into 2013/14, with a possible SEEJ paper and Student as Researchers project. And we also now have 7 or 8 charted and mapped course experiences of students working together!

Everyone who contributed to the Co-Lab will now have their names added to the Enquiry Group email list. Many thanks to all who joined in.

Session outline as in Conference Programme:

Collaborative learning is an important aspect of the student learning experience, taking many different forms, including peer supported learning of various types and assessed group work. Developing and practicing the capacity to collaborate is itself an important life skill as well as a pedagogical approach widely recognised as supporting different and greater learning than individual activity might alone. It is central to problem based and enquiry based learning. It is also often challenging for students and this can be accentuated by socio-economic, disability and other student characteristics. Often the experience of collaborative learning across the course or programme is not sufficiently considered either.

The focus of this Co-lab is on the student experience of collaboration across a range of courses, the experience of progression and on the support needs of students (generally and specifically). There will be a brief introduction to the work of the SHU Collaborative Learning Enquiry Group; we will share the methodology and outcomes from an earlier activity by the Group, adapting a method called ‘Brown Paper mapping’, a technique that allows processes and experiences to be visualised and adapted from industrial and business contexts. We will undertake our own Brown paper mapping exercise, charting the journey of the students and identifying:

  • what is experienced positively by staff and students
  • what challenges staff and students
  • further opportunities for the development of effective approaches to collaborative learning
  • what support students receive and what further support could be offered
  • an agreed number of action points to inform the future work of the Enquiry Group

References:

Boylan, M. & Smith, P.  (2012). Tutor roles in collaborative group work. Student Engagement and Experience Journal, 1(1). Available at: http://research.shu.ac.uk/SEEJ/index.php/seej/article/view/34/Boylan

Falchikov, N. (2001) Peer Tutoring in Higher Education New York, Routledge Falmer.

Lizzio, A. & Wilson, K. (2006). Enhancing the effectiveness of self-managed learning groups: understanding students’ choices and concerns, Studies in Higher Education, 31(6), 689-703

Nortcliffe, A. (2012) Can students assess themselves and their peers? A five year study. Student Engagement and Experience Journal, 1,(2) Available at: http://research.shu.ac.uk/SEEJ/index.php/seej/article/view/29/Nortcliffe

Thorley, L. & Gregory, R. (eds.) (1994) Using group based learning in higher education. Kogan Page.