Presentation on theme: "Collaborative online mentoring & facilitation program to enhance the BA First Year Community Website Fred DAgostino & Inge Matt (for the team)"— Presentation transcript:
Collaborative online mentoring & facilitation program to enhance the BA First Year Community Website Fred DAgostino & Inge Matt (for the team)
The BA Context BA Review: Do more to build a sense of community The problem 1600 commencing students each year 45-50 majors hundreds of first-year courses new ways of being a studente.g. work/study tradeoffs The solution gateway courses O-Week induction events the BA First Year Community website, incl. online mentoring
The BA First Year Community Site Aim - To provide inspiration, support and guidance to first year BA students and dual degree students in order to enhance student engagement and satisfaction with their university learning experience.
The Importance of Blogging Online mentoring - Studies suggest that e-mentoring can be an effective and supportive method of offering guidance and support to first year students. (eg. Dewart et al. 2006, p1 - UK)Dewart Advantages Able to reach large nos. of students Increased flexibility for both mentors & mentees - 24/7 access Dewart et al. study found was easier for students to raise worries with other students Online may be less intimidating for shy or reticent students than face-to-face
The Importance of Blogging The BA First Year Community website embeds blogging as a central online support feature via: Homepage Course Planner Study Tips Majors Lounges Bloggers include Students Library staff Faculty staff Student Services staff
Further online support Private email communication online mentors encouraged to continue dialogue via private email communication where requested by mentees Majors-based discussion forums 17 separate discussion forums currently 433 postings
Recruiting and Supporting Bloggers Recruiting high-achieving student Bloggers Deans List students from previous year Meet and greet Supporting Bloggers Using the CTLC spaces to induct wannabe bloggers from all categories Online support – new Mentors Lounge The Bloggers handbook
Using the CTLC to induct online mentors from all categories & to introduce commencing BA students (mentees) to the BA First Year Community site Sessions conducted in conjunction with enrolment advice sessions run by Faculty student support staffSessions Sessions facilitated by TEDI and Faculty ID staff
Evaluation Current Flashlight evaluation of the BA FYCS Evaluating Outcomes: ability to help guide and orient first year BA students into their program of study and university experience – OAT – Outcomes/ Activities/ Technologies Methodology: User-tracking reports from IT Surveys of students and online mentors Quantitative and qualitative evaluation of online communication – i.e. # of contributions and quality/level of contributions
Evaluation cont. Preliminary Findings User tracking stats – reveals high usage of the site, i.e. First semester stats: O-Week – 22,539 total hits to community site for the week (Feb 19-25) Week 1 – 17,410 total hits (Feb 26-March 4) Week 2 – 14,707 total hits (Mar 5-11) Further user-stats currently being gathered
Evaluation cont. Preliminary Findings… cont. Survey of 2007 students – currently being collated - reveals overall positive perception of the BA FYCS and online mentoring program. Examples: Study tips as well as expectations were helpful - I was so disoriented at the beginning of the year! Plus the blogs were great, it was good to read how other people cope/experience uni life :) It is very helpful to read blogs from students. I didn't know a lot of these things existed. Forums for students to give each other advice are great.
Extending the Program Currently collating further evaluation findings to inform 2008 directions Déjà vu all over again… Now planning for the 2008 BA FYCS Recruiting 2008 mentors, incl. new mentors + ongoing from this year Preparing for the next induction of commencing students
References Dewart, H., Drees, D., Hixenbaug, P., Thorn, L., (2006) Engaging first year students at a metropolitan university: electronic mentoring – Refereed paper. First Year in Higher Education, 9th Pacific Rim Conference Engaging Students 12-14 July 2006, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia Further References available via the Design Document: BA First Year Community Web Site.