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Understanding and Promoting Student Engagement in GEES Learning Communities GEES 11: Teaching and Learning for GEES students, 30 th June – 1 st July 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding and Promoting Student Engagement in GEES Learning Communities GEES 11: Teaching and Learning for GEES students, 30 th June – 1 st July 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding and Promoting Student Engagement in GEES Learning Communities GEES 11: Teaching and Learning for GEES students, 30 th June – 1 st July 2011 Katie Livesey Student Experience Officer, School of Earth and Environment (SEE), University of Leeds

2 The next 15 minutes Brief overview of Countdown to University Study Resource Talking about how student ambassadors have been used in promoting student engagement Introduction to on going project: Understanding and Promoting Student Engagement in GEES Learning Communities

3 The project environment Project focus: Undergraduate students within the School of Earth & Environment Approx 750 undergraduate students (approx. 15% international students) Entry requirements for UG courses are ABB Courses offer year in industry/study abroad and 4 year Masters programmes Across the Earth and Environmental Sciences: BSc - Environmental Conservation/Geological Sciences/Geopyhsical Sciences/Meteorology and Climate Science/Environmental Science BA – Environmental Management/Environment and Business/Environmental Sustainability

4 Student Engagement in SEE Countdown to University Study Web based resource designed to help with transition to HE study Made available through the university VLE to all students who have accepted their offer Provides course specific introductions General information about Leeds Study advice and activities Link to Facebook page to meet other new students Evaluation of the project revealed that students would welcome: A resource that extends beyond induction, bringing together the student population A deeper understanding of academic life and research within SEE

5 Introducing the project Identifying the: gaps in barriers to facilitators to opportunities for ……student engagement About understanding the how, what and why of student engagement Implementing initiatives for facilitating student engagement

6 Exploring student engagement Identifying the how, what and why (through informal discussions, observations, student ambassadors, focus groups) HOW: Can students get engaged? Contribution in lectures Membership of student societies Active participation in activities e.g. focus groups, helping out at open days Membership of social network sites (e.g. facebook) Formal involvement in school activities e.g. student rep Actively seeking support from academic staff Positive involvement in tutorial process Attendance at teaching sessions Willingness to build knowledge, understanding and experience of subject area and/or school e.g. reading websites/newsletters Committee member of student society Integration with peers in programme HOW: Can students get engaged? Contribution in lectures Membership of student societies Active participation in activities e.g. focus groups, helping out at open days Membership of social network sites (e.g. facebook) Formal involvement in school activities e.g. student rep Actively seeking support from academic staff Positive involvement in tutorial process Attendance at teaching sessions Willingness to build knowledge, understanding and experience of subject area and/or school e.g. reading websites/newsletters Committee member of student society Integration with peers in programme WHAT: Are the opportunities for engagement in SEE? Membership of student groups/societies and chapters –also committee members Attend research institute seminars and other talks and lectures Attend other activities promoted within the school e.g. building open evening, careers fairs Being actively involved in tutorial system – proactive use of Leeds for Life (LfL) system Student reps – different levels of engagement – do reps actively participate in forums? School rep Membership of professional organisations e.g. orgs supporting student chapters, SEG, AAPG, also RMetS, IEMA Involvement in activities and groups related to studies e.g. Green Impact Team, Bardon Grange Allotments Being a proactive learner – contribute in lecturers, ask questions, seek assistance Social network groups by course Induction activities – trip to Malham/societies bbq Student ambassador/intern – LfL opportunities Being aware of what is going within the school through reading s/ looking at tv displays/reading website news WHAT: Are the opportunities for engagement in SEE? Membership of student groups/societies and chapters –also committee members Attend research institute seminars and other talks and lectures Attend other activities promoted within the school e.g. building open evening, careers fairs Being actively involved in tutorial system – proactive use of Leeds for Life (LfL) system Student reps – different levels of engagement – do reps actively participate in forums? School rep Membership of professional organisations e.g. orgs supporting student chapters, SEG, AAPG, also RMetS, IEMA Involvement in activities and groups related to studies e.g. Green Impact Team, Bardon Grange Allotments Being a proactive learner – contribute in lecturers, ask questions, seek assistance Social network groups by course Induction activities – trip to Malham/societies bbq Student ambassador/intern – LfL opportunities Being aware of what is going within the school through reading s/ looking at tv displays/reading website news

7 Classifying student engagement Engagement Audit - to identify the way students can and do engage in the School Individual learner level Curriculum design and delivery level Discipline level School / department level HEA DIMENSIONS OF STUDENT ENGAGEMENT Institutional level UK policy level Involvement in study groups Proactively using Leeds for Life Attendance & attitude Contribution in class Involvement with peer group Module survey Dissertation / research projects Membership of student societies, chapters & groups Attending Research Institute seminars Membership of societies & professional bodies e.g. Leeds Geological Society An awareness of current affairs related to studies Course reps Attendance at staff-student forum Photo competition Involvement in induction activities Reading website/ newsletters Participation in events Completing NSS School Rep Involvement in institution wide initiatives Member of UoL clubs and societies e.g. International Student Society Involvement with NUS Student ambassador National Student Forum Campaign/protest e.g. march against introduction of student fees

8 Barriers, Gaps and Facilitators The School building (new building) -no physical identity (no home School) -Students unaware of research activity -had heard about equipment but never seen it Lines of communication -not aimed specifically at UG -too much irrelevant information - overload Level of research seminars -too specific (students felt intimidated) -unsure if UGs welcome Inconsistency with student groups/societies -unsure of what they did and who they were

9 Building engagement: first steps Creating a sense of belonging to an academic community Building the School student community identity -open evening -School Facebook group -dedicated noticeboards -celebrating success – Results Day -launch of student newsletter (LEEP) LEEP: Leeds Earth and Environment Pages Produced by students for students Termly newsletter Features include : LEEP likes (activities) LEEP forward (careers, continuing education) fieldtrip reports, lecturer interviews, whats on/forthcoming events society news and events

10 Introduction of SEE Undergraduate Seminar Series -run by societies -relevant across all disciplines -at an appropriate level for UG audience Focusing on improved communication -removal of UGs from School circular -one line of communication (reinforce purpose of LEEP) -regular forthcoming events list and notices from LEEP Launch of Student Societies and Groups Forum -building links -identifying opportunities -sharing ideas and knowledge Building engagement: first steps

11 Student Engagement Ambassadors 2 ambassadors recruited (one from each of the Earth & Environmental Sciences) Paid during term time – 5 hours per week Overview of process and experience Recruitment process was very useful Their student perspective was very helpful Useful for their knowledge of student groups and societies and contacts Overall 5 hours too much (work load and responsibilities need reviewing) Flexible approach not the most effective Useful to have perspectives from Earth Sciences and Environmental Sciences Greater responsibility – single project? Greater involvement from induction

12 Further and on going, in depth research Survey of all UG students in SEE -survey adapted from NSSE -explores activities relevant to the individual learner level -examines the relationship between students & their peers, teaching & support staff -investigates how students perceive the activity of the School in providing opportunities for engagement -more in–depth than NSS (55 questions and 2 open questions, excluding personal details) -survey delivered on-line and face to face (distributed in lectures) -prize draw offered -approximately 450 responses (online and face to face) from 750 students -survey closed mid June

13 Early findings from survey Q.1: Are you an active member of a club, society or organisation within your School of study that is related to your studies? (e.g. RocSoc/EnviroSoc) Q.2: Are you an active member of a club, society or organisation within the university that is related to your studies? (e.g. Green Action) Q.3: Are you an active member of any other club or society within your School of study or the university that is not related to your studies? (e.g. sports/drama/debating etc) Q.4: Are you, or have you previously been a course rep/student rep at this University? Q.5: Are you, or have you previously been a student ambassador (or similar) whilst studying at this university? (e.g. guide on open days) Q.6: Are you regularly involved in any activities outside of the university? (e.g. sports and fitness, drama, evening classes, etc) Q.7: Are you, or have you been involved in any initiatives or projects within your School of study? (e.g. green audit/focus group participant) Q.8: Have you participated in voluntary/community work? Q.9: Do you have paid employment? Q.10: Have you used Leeds for Life to search for opportunities within the School or university? Results from face to face survey (345)

14 Further and on going, in depth research From UG survey results – is there a need for further research, i.e. focus groups? Exploring the staff dimension to engagement -How do staff perceive engagement? -Do they want to be engaged in School/with students? Carry out the survey in other GEES subject centres (national study) Establish a network of interested parties to share good practice PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU ARE INTERESTED….

15 Acting on the findings to make positive changes towards student engagement -School Student Experience Officer being employed -Employability Assistant -3 student ambassadors -Build on the potential student societies and groups have to generate engagement Beyond research


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