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Dr Lizzie Molyneux School of Geosciences University of Aberdeen.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr Lizzie Molyneux School of Geosciences University of Aberdeen."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr Lizzie Molyneux School of Geosciences University of Aberdeen

2 Issues associated with first term / year at university Course Choice Pre-conditioned Expectations Financial Pressures Aspects of Student Experiences Same reasons given for non-completion of courses Most studies either deal with general issues or are discipline specific

3 Learning Operational Plan (LOP) Series of actions designed to improve the learning experience of new students Improve student retention and increase students sense of belonging Ensure that our staff have the necessary skills for supporting student learning and teaching Initial study based on: Level 1 Geography workgroups (2008/9) Popular elective for a wide range of students 1 st experience of small group working Further Studies – pre curriculum Reform Level 1 Geography (2009/10) Level 1 Biology (2009/10) Levels 2-4 Geography and Biology (2009/10) Repeated ever year post CR implementation

4 Discover what student expectations of university are How these differed from their initial experiences What issues have they encountered Do the same issues pervade through years 2 -4? Increase my own awareness and understanding of the issues the students face Identify problems that the students encounter which may affect their retention at university Outline suggestions for tackling issues raised

5 Questionnaire Workload Academic expectations Academic experiences Learning styles Support networks Financial issues Does Geography play a role? Student living arrangements? Direct from school vs Mature?

6 54 Respondents 81% British 11% EU 7.5% Rest of the World

7 92% = subject has lived up to academic expectations Thought there would be more work involved Problems of repeating Geography topics Topics are too general, though they would be more degree focussed

8 Reasons given for finding meeting deadlines difficult: All coursework assessments are given at the same time Difficulty with time management / job Reasons given for non- attendance Illness Other commitments Inflexibility of timetable Subjects clashed Accommodation far / travel issues LAZYNESS

9 88% social expectations met Unrealistic view through marketing? Majority adequately prepared for note taking, discussion, essays and independent study. Only 7% (2% of student direct from school) felt well prepared for extra reading

10 Students identify with lecture learning style Most struggle with the benefits of workgroups as a learning style Only 33% suggest they were well prepared for effective contribution in workgroups Appreciated at higher levels Conflict between actual and perceived learning methods Students need the security of full note taking as not yet acquired the ability to assess the relative importance of ideas being introduced. Introduce students to effective note taking? Older students have adapted

11 Struggle to turn to help from those with authority? 37% didnt think they had enough advisor support Range of quality of advising? Or different student expectations?

12 26% say money worries are affecting their work 43% on 2 nd survey 54% for higher years Only 16% for students living with parent 14% of those straight from school So mature students burden? 31% have a job 41% 2 nd survey 51% for higher years 33% have a loan Students are not given a realistic idea of the cost of university Recruitment issue?

13 Biggest Issues Transition from dependant to independent working styles Need to manage own workload and deadlines Most students have skills to make the transition but dont know how to use them Workload management and academic expectations more difficult for students living at home and straight from school Student expectations are misleading In relation to academic workload and finances Wide range of quality in advising? Potentially differs by subject – feelings of being a cohort Low use of campus support facilities

14 Provide prospective students with more realistic overview of academic workload Provide prospective students with more realistic overview of financial costs Provide students (part of induction) with an overview of academic expectations Initial advisor meeting involves taking students through assessment deadlines Awareness of workload management and deadline clashes How timetables work – labs, tutorials etc Level 1 skills course focusing on effective note taking skills and how to maximise what you get out of workgroups and lectures

15 Lots more information in questionnaire Plan to extend study throughout the university Different subjects Pre and Post Curriculum Reform Issue of honours level jump Dissemination of ideas to staff – done?!

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