Presentation on theme: "School of Computing and Technology Integrating Students into the Academic, Social and Cultural Context of their Institution Dr Siobhan L. Devlin University."— Presentation transcript:
School of Computing and Technology Integrating Students into the Academic, Social and Cultural Context of their Institution Dr Siobhan L. Devlin University Teaching Fellow & Community Outreach Fellow
School of Computing and Technology School Strategy Inputs: Previous School strategies, University strategy Recent large-scale UG and PG reviews Discussion with FE/6th Form staff and students about learning styles and their expectations of University Work-in-progress by Automotive Technology School Conference on student retention January 2005 Discussions in school committees/boards and SSCCs Work with Opportunities Centre staff in the development of Personal Development Planning and Progress Files
School of Computing and Technology School Strategy 1. Pre-entry - no overselling, Ronseal publicity materials, Getting Started*, individual applicant visits – to speak with real students and staff 2. Entry – transformed induction week: about building course identity & social bonds, tasters for correct course, a full day social, time for second thoughts, new starter questionnaire * University initiative
School of Computing and Technology School Strategy: 3. In-Flight Stage Supportive assessment, integrative skills core module (through whole course), all modules year- long Significant taught element and support in year 3 project – useful for direct entrants Difficult modules targeted with extra tuition/support/surgeries Pre-planning to avoid coursework bottlenecks Increased personal tutorial time Induction week socials extended throughout the year ISF, ISIS, SLANG, Happy Families*, Formula Student Tracking scheme? End of year referrals before summer break* Retention, progression & completion officer* * University initiative
School of Computing and Technology Initiatives International Student Forum International Students into Schools SLANG Happy Families
School of Computing and Technology Personal Background 1.University Teaching Fellowship examining experience of and provision for international students –Increasing numbers of international students – >threefold in 5 years –Doesnt justify current TLA and support –Aimed to investigate cause of problems, with focus on learning and teaching styles, support for active participation, monitoring and evaluation 2.University Community Fellowship –Help integrate international students with the local community Both Fellowships allowed time & money to put initiatives in place
School of Computing and Technology Motivation Increasing numbers new environment - includes issues of culture, language, homesickness, independence education system of home country very different to UK system important that home and international students integrate, so vital to provide inclusive mechanisms and frameworks
School of Computing and Technology Motivation help integrate students into the academic and local communities in the university and city of Sunderland –1 st year of study – also usually 1 st year of immersion in British life and culture aim to underpin and support the whole academic and social experience of the students
School of Computing and Technology International Student Forum Helps students understand what is expected of them in a western HE context: –Understanding the rules –Understanding how to do well/their lecturers expectations –Taking part in their studies in the same way that UK students do – including placement year –Understanding what to do and who to talk to if they need something explaining, or just need to talk. –Acquisition/practice of study skills –Practice with English language Allows them to have their say Planned Format (doesnt always happen like this): Invited Speaker, Study Skills, Surgery
School of Computing and Technology Early on we ask: What they hope it will be like living and learning in Sunderland What they hope to get from their education What has happened so far – good and bad things Would they tell a friend from home to come to Sunderland University? What can we do to help?
School of Computing and Technology They answer: On living and learning in Sunderland I hope [it] will be wonderful. I hope I can attend some local peoples activities, visit famous places and improve my English, make friends with local people …[in the summer] my EAP teacher invited us to have dinner at his home, thats very nice. It would be very nice to live here if kids aged around wont make any trouble to Chinese. Make more English friends, get more confidents about my English Give us a chance to make friends with English students
School of Computing and Technology They answer: Do you like the way classes are taught in Sunderland? Yes, I do, but I am not used to it as in China we have at least 8 hours class each day Yes I like it. Its enhancing my independence and self confidence To be honest, I still cant suit with the studying way in the UK Not really. There is too much self studies. Frankly speaking, no. But Ill get used to it. Yes the classes are very interactive sessions and students feel free to attend these. For the time being it is a bit difficult to get adjusted and I am getting used to the lectures and the way to proceed further and I hope I get good support from lecturers.
School of Computing and Technology They answer: Do you get enough help with your studies? I hope I can get more help with my studies I dont think its enough. Many questions I get answers are from my friends, not university Not enough, just have a CIE department is not enough. Sometimes we can just help ourselves No. I have not got enough help! Im afraid not. But as a new student from China I dont know where I can get help No, but it is not their responsibility Not before, but Im glad to see a lot of Chinese can get much help from now on Yes, but sometimes I dont know how to ask the questions because of my bad English
School of Computing and Technology They answer: What good thing happened this week? Attend the meeting of Chinese forum I am getting to know some English students Experienced a new study environment, I mean real university life What bad thing happened? In the class, I only understand 40% of what the lecturer has said. I havent made any friends with my classmates nobody tells me what to do next (comment was crossed out) Bad organised in my timeframe Sometimes, I dont know what my English friends were talking about I still cant catch the words of my teacher The UK teens are not friendly
School of Computing and Technology They answer: What can we do to help? Keep, run the Chinese student forum Open more English classes to help me improve my English, especially speaking Put more concentration on international students especially during the tutorial and lab sessions Teach me how to prepare and go over my studying Please tell me more education and life rules of UK, thanks. Itll [be] good for me to understand UK Offer some extra skills (such like more living skill) More vocabulary about computing I am very worry about my final year project More placement chances for PG students from outside UK Please help me to know how to contact with lecturers and get help about academics The university can arrange a get together for the 1 st year students
School of Computing and Technology Common Themes from ISF Chance to integrate in academic and larger society Chance to practice speaking English Help in adjusting to new TLA styles Help in organising their time/studies Where to go for help Lecturers need to be aware of them –In course preparation and delivery Safe & welcoming society, free from racist attacks More chance to take English classes & English classes that are more finely tuned to their needs Better accommodation information/support
School of Computing and Technology Effect of forum Well known Acknowledged as means of student support in programme validation documentation Support for the students that wasnt there before – even allowing for PT system Invaluable fact finding tool for the school – we can thus rectify problems –the students seem to feel comfortable feeding back using this mechanism as opposed to module/programme feedback forms Trust Real time problem solving
School of Computing and Technology International Students into Schools (ISIS) Voluntary opportunity which gives students and local children the opportunity to work together to gain an understanding of each others culture and promote racial tolerance in the region
School of Computing and Technology Student Comments (ISIS) The aim of this project was not only to live outside the campus but also we knew that it was a good chance to show our country's culture and build strong, friendly relationships with English and Chinese people. The project has given us a lot of benefits. All of the skills are now really useful in our study, in life and in the future job market. We are not afraid anymore to do presentations in front of people, and we know how to manage our time. As an overseas student who has been in England for 2 years already I traveled to a lot of cities to find out what is the real England and English people. However, until now I think I had just touched the surface of realising the culture and people here.
School of Computing and Technology ISIS Posters – competition for school children to represent their time spent with the international students
School of Computing and Technology ISIS Poster Example – to be displayed around the city
School of Computing and Technology Sunderland Language And News Group (SLANG). One of two mechanisms for drawing all students together Most recent development in suite of interventions Social forum, meeting at weekends, which is also a means for international (and UK) students to improve their language and communication skills and cultural awareness
School of Computing and Technology SLANG
School of Computing and Technology Student Feedback on SLANG We shall pick our interested topics from the newspaper such as from Royals wedding to the Popes funeral, from top chef Jamie Olivers TV program to North East children top junk food eating league. We could expose our own opinion or experience and/or whats the difference between UK and our own countries. The [newspaper] articles have no limitation, which makes the discussion unexpectable and active…[this] stimulates students brains thinking in English instantly. This way of training brain to adapt into daily communication on spoken English is better than using of prepared presentation. The discussion often reveals different culture background, and help students understand more about things outside their own countries. This meeting is often in a chatting atmosphere without any pressure, which is a joyful way of learning.
School of Computing and Technology More SLANG Feedback English for Academic Purposes classes are more focus on reading and writing and they are about academic [matters/language] not social – they dont care about how well you can speak to somebody SLANG means in quite a short amount of reading, not a heavy load, you can pick up about 5 words each week As an overseas student you dont dare to speak up in class in case your English might not be right. You need confidence – SLANG does this
School of Computing and Technology Happy Families 2 nd of two interventions drawing all students together provides new students with a support network of peers, with level three student grandparents, level two parents, and level one children who are the major recipients of the support
School of Computing and Technology Inspiration: The STAR Project Prior to Study Managing expectations Support for students prior to entry Induction processes – extra activities organised in year 1 Familiarise students with the campus and its support services Clarify student academic obligations + develop independent study habits Activities to promote good communication between staff and students Events to allow social interaction between students / mentoring Induction processes embedded in the curriculum Ensuring the curriculum builds on the students past experience and skills Ensuring students receive regular formative evaluations of their work early on in the course A three phase induction process
School of Computing and Technology Happy Families The idea Create a student peer support network to ensure: All the goals of phase 2 of the STAR project are met plus possibly extend it to cover phase 1 and use the feedback from students to enhance the curriculum Bonus feature: Reduction in staff time dealing with student problems?
School of Computing and Technology Creating the Families A big or a small family? Small Big One student from each level 2 or 3 students from each level Level 1 Teenager/s Level 3 Grandparent/s Level 2 Parent/s
School of Computing and Technology Creating the Families A big or a small family? Big 2 or 3 students from each level Level 1 Teenager/s Level 3 Grandparent/s Level 2 Parent/s Reduces the problem of having family members you dislike as there is someone else to talk to Students often already have a best mate by levels 2 and 3 which helps create the family structure and support level 1 students
School of Computing and Technology Creating the Families Day 1 – Level 1 students meet for the first time – ice breakers (based on telling other students their favourite food and drink) to let the students get to know each other Day 2 - Agreement from all level 2 and 3 students that the idea was worth trying and that they would come in on Thursday (even though they had no other classes etc.) Day 3 – Standard Learning to Study session (1.5 hour) after which they created small groups each with 3 students, picked a family name and wrote it on a piece of A4 paper. These were then placed faced down at the front of the classroom. Level 2 students then entered the room and paired up with each other. Then each pair was asked to pick one of the A4 sheets to discover their new family. The process was then repeated for level 3 students. This process was not only good fun but also tamper-proof!
School of Computing and Technology Happy Families What would be the best way for students to communicate with other family members? Text Messaging - asynchronous - most students unwilling to pass on mobile phone numbers - asynchronous WebCT - online notice boards for each family - not private enough for students MSN Messenger/ Yahoo Messenger - synchronous - students only needed to pass each others address Good for general all family discussions Most students already use these regularly
School of Computing and Technology Happy Families - Results STAR guideline 2.1 Familiarise students with the campus and its support services Level 2 and 3 students showed level 1 students around the Campus during induction week. The level 2 and 3 students were primed with key areas they had to visit e.g. help desk, resource centre, library STAR guideline 2.2 Clarify student academic obligations + develop independent study habits Communications between students at different levels have shown them the difference in the study and learning requirement between level 1 and levels 2 and 3 Example : Level 1 students used their families to discover what a TCT was and how hard it was likely to be in programming course
School of Computing and Technology Happy Families - Results STAR guidelines 2.4 and 2.5 Activities to promote good communication between staff and students Events to allow social interaction between students / mentoring - Very hard to find rooms on the campus big enough to hold events -Also timetables across levels made it impossible to run day time events but this is being looked at for next year However one course did manage to have a Halloween Party on campus
School of Computing and Technology Happy Families Conclusions –Positive feedback from students The family idea – met some good friends –Next year more students will be involved: International Foundation Programme students = babies, placement year students = aunties and uncles, masters students = great grandparents/cousins –More social events needed to help build families and build better relationships between staff and students –The true benefits may only be reached after the system has been in a place for a few generations i.e. until level 1s become level 3s and they ALL understand the value of peer support
School of Computing and Technology Evaluation Fellowships finished but initiatives continues –Requires recognition of time involved in support – mechanisms made official –Require recognition across university and city/region that these students are important –Need a change in staff attitudes – willingness to commit to staff development – not ignore problem or leave it for someone else to deal with – 4 th Star project Guideline is about staff development All these are happening!