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FIRST YEAR: STARTING THE JOURNEY TOWARDS GRADUATE ATTRIBUTES The University of Tasmania 31 August 2010 A/PROF SIMON BARRIE, THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY.

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Presentation on theme: "FIRST YEAR: STARTING THE JOURNEY TOWARDS GRADUATE ATTRIBUTES The University of Tasmania 31 August 2010 A/PROF SIMON BARRIE, THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY."— Presentation transcript:

1 FIRST YEAR: STARTING THE JOURNEY TOWARDS GRADUATE ATTRIBUTES The University of Tasmania 31 August 2010 A/PROF SIMON BARRIE, THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY

2 How do institutions speak about first year? ›Research on First year experience – transition, retention & progression ›Research on Graduate attributes – life after university..... But ‘every journey begins with a single step’ 1.A framework for rethinking Graduate attributes 2.First year learning experiences that start the journey towards graduate attributes 3.Institutional environments to turn graduate attributes into a reality 2

3 WHAT ARE GRADUATE ATTRIBUTES? They are descriptions of the core abilities and values a university community agrees all its graduates should develop as a result of successfully completing their university studies (adapted from Bowden et al 2000). Graduate attributes are an orientating statement of education outcomes used to inform curriculum design and engagement with teaching and learning experiences at a university (Barrie 2009). 3

4 WHAT GRADUATE ATTRIBUTES AREN’T….. ›Not lists of outcomes to be ‘ticked off’ ›They are not another extra set of outcomes to be taught as something additional to the real business of learning at university ›They are not a set of outcomes to be measured through extra assessment tasks – disconnected to the assessment of university learning ›Though some players in higher education sector might actually prefer them to be just these things

5 5 Graduate Attributes are actually several different sorts of types of fortunes Policies describing these graduate attributes, and universities’ efforts to foster the development of these attributes, need to accommodate these differences 1.Precursor 2.Complementary 3.Translation 4.Enabling

6 WHY KEEP THESE LEVELS OF OUTCOME DISTINCT IN POLICY AND CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT? 1.Some sorts of GA are inputs not outputs and if we look for ‘value-add’ from university in that group, staff and students will be disappointed 2.Some sorts of GA can be explicitly taught and assessed at university but one type probably can’t 3.One type of GA is different in every discipline – the others might be more generic – but that still doesn’t mean they are the same 4.One sort you develop with stand alone skills courses taught by skills experts and there is no real change to the rest of the curriculum 5.One sort would be developed if all university teachers adopted ‘good teaching practices’ in their courses 6.Some types are not very appealing to some in the academic community 7.Some types are very appealing to bureaucrats and administrators – and some scare them 6

7 A FRAMEWORK FOR FIRST YEAR ›Foundation: (precursor & complementary) Generic skills – ‘off-the shelf’, non-specialised skills for university learning and work ›Translation: Explicit ways of doing and thinking, using and applying discipline knowledge… they are the discipline ›Enabling: Implicit dispositions attitudes & values, they grow from, but transcend the discipline 7

8 8 1.Orient students to university learning 2.Build students’ capability to learn and develop graduate attributes i.Selective foundation skills programs ii.Inclusive foundation skills programs iii.Integrated foundation skills disciplinary curricula 3.Create learning environments that foster engagement in the formation of identity What can we do in first year?

9 9 Challenge: Engaging first year learners

10 10 1. Orientation Strategies ›Orientation to university learning seminars in the disciplines ›‘Student speak’ explanations of graduate attributes ›‘Graduate speak’ explanations ›However…..students’ initial learning experiences are more powerful than any orienting words ›Other orientation strategies?

11 11 2. Build students’ capability to learn and develop graduate attributes ›Identify and help those students who need additional input (Precursor) ›Common modules on generic foundation skills (Complementary) ›Explicitly focus on graduate attributes in core formative learning experiences in first semester & reiterate (Translation) ›Build engagement in a learning community and develop academic identity (Enabling)

12 Identify and help those students who need remedial input (Precursor) ›Diagnostic tests ›Self assessment ›Programs on basic skills ›Challenges: time before curriculum, resources & uptake

13 Common modules on generic foundation skills (Complementary) ›Modules on generic skills ›External seminars ›Stand alone or integrated ›Core curriculum ›Challenges: Time in curriculum, resources, relevance and integration

14 Explicitly focus on graduate attributes in core formative learning experiences in first semester (Translation) ›Identify key FY subjects in each degree ›Review curriculum – LO, TLA, A ›Make specific GA an explicit focus of subject ›Spread the GA’s across the FY curriculum ›Reiterate GA message in other units ›Challenges: Major curriculum review, innovative curriculum in difficult context, collaboration, vulnerable to lack of consistency – but potentially powerful

15 15 4. Build engagement in a learning community and develop academic identity (Enabling) ›Learning engagement and interaction with staff and students beyond classroom ›Modeling by academics ›Community / work engagement ›Research engagement ›Collaboration between academic and non-academic staff ›Challenges: !!!!!

16 Enabling graduate attributes : ›Better integrative learning experiences in first year build better student engagement ›Integrative learning – “Fostering students' abilities to intentionally integrate learning - over time, across courses, and between academic, personal, and community life” (Huber & Hutchings) 16

17 Integrative first year learning experiences (adapted from Kuh) First-Year Seminars Study Groups Common Intellectual Experiences Learning Communities Research Experiencing Diversity Service & Community-Based Learning Internships Capstone Courses and Projects +Discipline learning that is like this ? Assessment 17

18 University Systems 18

19 CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT FOR GRADUATE ATTRIBUTES ›had not moved beyond policy ›had become compliance ›had become employability ›had become ‘good teaching’ ›had become ‘curriculum development’ ›was becoming ‘culture development’ 19 Outcomes Process

20 EFFECTIVE CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT 1.Clear statement of multilayered outcomes (vision) 2.Make time and make it manageable (practical) 3.Make it intellectually rewarding, fun, and build on what is done (intrinsic) 4.Recognise and reward productive engagement (extrinsic) 5.Participatory leadership – lead by example Focus on 3 & 4 today 20

21 INTELLECTUALLY REWARDING (ENGAGING) DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES What are some examples? ›turn audit into inquiry, ›turn formal into informal learning, ›turn compliance into critique, ›collaborative, scholarly and creative teaching development acts 21

22 RECOGNISE ENGAGEMENT – EVALUATION Examples of familiar (teacher focused) ‘measures’ used in audits (inquiries) Course (discipline and integrative) audits of developments, teaching and assessment activities Mapping is of limited benefit for engagement on its own What is done with the data after matters most Evidence of effective curriculum development for GA as a KPI? (teacher measures cross tab with student outcome measures) 22

23 RECOGNISE ENGAGEMENT – EVALUATION Examples of indirect (learner focused) GA ‘measures’ used in audits (inquiries) Average # times per semester academics meet with students outside class Frequency and quality of intellectual engagement with staff outside of class # and % of students reporting helpful teacher feedback on GA development # and % of students reporting participation in (integrative learning experiences) # and % of courses emphasizing multicultural learning experiences # and % of students involved in faculty research # and % of degrees requiring practicum, internship, service Frequency and quality of intellectual engagement with other students not studying your course Self ratings on development of GA Did the course / teaching / assessment help you develop these GA? Employer/Graduate/Peer perception surveys 23

24 RECOGNISE ENGAGEMENT – EVALUATION Examples of direct (learner focused) GA ‘measures’ used Course (discipline and integrative capstone) assignments, exams, projects Perhaps not standardised generic skills tests – Why not? Un-intended (unwanted and not insignificant) consequences of choices of measures…. 24

25 WHAT COMMITMENT IS REQUIRED TO ACHIEVE USEFUL OUTCOMES IN FIRST YEAR? ›GA are not a shopping list to be ticked off and they are not somebody else’s responsibility, it is a team effort across all types of GA and the university systems need to enable staff and students to engage in curriculum work. ›Foundation generic skills: Ensure coverage and recognise limits ›Translation graduate attributes: we may need to change the way we think about teaching the discipline. ›Enabling graduate attributes: we need to find ways to better engage first year students in the broader integrative learning experiences of university, and we may need to provide better integrative learning experiences 25

26 26 Conclusion ›If students are to develop ways of being in the world that are the hallmark of a graduate, they need learning experiences in first year that shape the way they will engage with their university experience.

27 Thank you!


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