The Young Uns: Inducting New students to the University

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A first ever GM City webinar was held in July and there were 13  participants online. This session consisted of the following:

  • Introduction by me
  • A student perspective on Inductions by Amish Patel( now  ex- President of the Student Union)
  • A City case study Sara Jones from Masters in Innovation, Creativity & Leadership
  • An overview of the ELYFSE toolkit by Deeba Parmer ( Middlesex University)

I gave an overview of what student Inductions have been about and why that was so. Participants were invited to interact with me online and discuss what expectations students may have before attending. The main threads that were picked up involved the notion that the learner came from a school background where there was an intensive support model. This didn’t correlate with the HE model which was about shifting the onus on the learner. In addition, Induction is often criticized for being confusing, sometimes overly-bureaucratic and, whilst providing information, not providing it in a context that can be readily assimilated.

Research suggests that students need help in adapting to University life and becoming autonomous learners and that feeling positive and having a friendship group greatly aids social and emotional adjustment to H.E.

Amish talked about the idea of selling HE to students and that Inductions were a means of providing a ‘first impression’ and staff should try and engage and motivate learners.  Amish had the following tips:

  • stagger information rather then all in one go!
  • offer short breaks
  • break students in smaller groups even if in a lecture theatre
  • provide tasters of your modules
  • include current students
  • try to tell them about yourself, students want to learn from people not robots!

Sara Jones,Course Director in School of Informatics, talked about the Masters in Innovation, Creativity and Leadership which started just last year and explained that students come from very different backgrounds e.g librarianship, accountancy etc. Sara went through their course Induction programme which you can all view to get some ideas for your own Induction. Sara and her team would be keen to talk to others to share best practice and her slides are available online.

This was followed by an external presentation run by Deeba Parmer on the ELFYSE (Elearning & the First Years Student Experience) project. Deeba talked about what we need to consider in the Induction from pre-enrolment to Induction then the first year and then separated the learner’s experience into:

  • academic
  • social
  • administrative side.

This was an overview into some of the case studies in the sector that also used learning technologies. I then wrapped it up in the form of The Young Ones which were about seeing the Induction as part of the ‘Student Life cycle’ After Layer, G. , Srivastava, A. & Stuart, M. , (2002). You’ll also find lots of resources on the online webinar but an additional one is mentioned below.

A useful site called Commonplace has been created by students at University of the Arts London (UAL) to give new and fellow students some friendly, practical tips and advice on preparing for university success and getting the most out of the big city.

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