Supporting transitions - working with students as partners to develop innovative video-based approaches to pre-arrival

Supporting transitions - working with students as partners to develop innovative video-based approaches to pre-arrival

Sam Nolan, Durham University - Download slides here

A recent report from the HEA detailed the importance of belonging to a community for student retention and success  (1). The collegiate system and academic departments at Durham University have a proven and successful track record in supporting students when they start their degree study; however, as noted within the report, pre-arrival support is a key area that can be overlooked. Bain (2) describes university as “one continuous classroom without walls”, and pre-arrival engagement can support the shift in outlook which occurs during the transition into higher education.

            In this presentation, we will discuss two projects that support students in making the transition into higher education. The first project developed a new student generated pre-arrival web-based support system for new students from the Foundation Centre at Durham University. This site prepares both local mature students and international students for studies at Durham and engenders a sense of community in a virtual landscape. This portal has been popular with students, and we will present both qualitative and quantitative evidence to show how it has impacted on the student experience.

            After exploring the success of this project, we will conclude this presentation by looking at its successor ""Transitions into HE"". This project is developing an innovative e-learning course to support all incoming first year students before they start at Durham University.

This presentation will detail how these web-based resources were developed through working with students as partners and will focus on the rationale, the solutions being created and the impressive student response to the sites.

References

(1) Sanders, John, and Louise Higham. ""The role of higher education students in widening access, retention and success."" (2012), Higher Education Academy

(2) Bain, K, ""What the Best College Students Do"", (2012), Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.