Teaching and Learning
There is not one “best practice” approach to dealing with induction. There are different transition challenges at different stages of any students journey whether it be moving into an undergraduate course from school, moving from abroad to study on a degree course in the UK, induction into online distance courses or moving from undergraduate to post graduate study.
The Higher Education Academy’s (Andrews, Clark & Thomas, 2012) puts student engagement and a sense of belonging at the heart of successful induction to university.
Some of these ideas may be suitable for you to integrate into your own course academic practice:
- Give more emphasis to social integration rather than content transmission: Include participatory social activities in your induction programme that don’t focus just on delivering information but encourage all students to participate.
- Allow opportunities for all students to discuss their prior learning and background in a safe and respectful space.
- Offer opportunities for early contact with Academic Advisors. Guidance and information can be found here: https://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/staffsite/services/student-services/resources-for-staff/academic-advisors/.
- Provide opportunities for new students to meet upper level students before teaching begins.
- Consider using a peer mentoring / buddy scheme to assist for the first few weeks.
- Offer instruction on using the VLE through LLI http://libguides.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/mybeckett.
- Spread induction information over the first two or three weeks rather than trying to “cover” everything -and check to eliminate overlap of information across sessions. Perhaps try to base it around a small group project which means they have to find key University information and then they get constructive formative feedback after presenting it.
- Clarify the key differences/ approaches about University study compared to prior educational experiences here and overseas.
- Consider using carefully managed activities which address all your students’ social situations- what is their accommodation? Are they commuting? How do they feel about studying? what are their hopes and fears about the course/ level?
- Consider using the LBU Study Ready MOOC for your incoming students or consider developing your own Prepare to Learn MOOC adapted for your course using Blackboard Open Education.
- Use residentials, trips and treasure hunts as opportunities for fund data collection activities. Read about School of Events, Tourism, Hospitality and Languages residential for level 4 students. Julia Calver and Dan Lomax case study .
- Be aware of your diverse student body, the variability of “social capital” and “family capital”.
- Be aware of the culture shock of a University environment- because an increasing % of students are 1st generation HE, effective induction and transitions support has become increasingly important. International students often face ‘culture shock’, ‘language shock’ and ‘academic shock’ (HEA, 2014). Try not to use overly academic jargon.
- Have you considered how your students/ student reps are involved in contributing to student induction programmes?
- Ask your Academic Librarian to provide curated and tailored academic skills sessions (resource researching, academic writing expectations etc) which link tightly to your planned curricula/ subject/course style. You can find your academic librarian and subject specific resources here: http://libguides.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/subject_support.
- Try out different mini assessments formatively in the early weeks of the course.
- Explore and devise shared course ground rules be these behaviours based, values based or encouraging respectful and critical academic debate.
- For students moving from level 4 to level 5 and beyond into final year and post graduate study the biggest challenges can be getting back into the rhythm of academic study; balancing study with part time employment and other activities; willpower to concentrate on studies when living with friends- consider how these issues can be explicitly articulated during your induction sessions.
- Think about the cultural values of all your students and recognise, value and accommodate existing cultural values. Also,
perhaps in your course team, be aware of how your own cultural values,
beliefs and unconscious bias might impact in different ways on your teaching
- Acknowledge that minority groups manifest different motivations and learning strategies. Provide a means by which culture of origin can be valued as an asset, not a liability.
Andrews J, Clark R & Thomas L (2012) The Higher Education Academy What Works? Compendium of effective practice in higher education retention and success. Aston University, Birmingham & HEA, York, UK.
Higher Education Academy (HEA) resources on the First Year Experience: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/heav/first-year-experience
Higher Education Academy (2014) Induction. https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/assets.creode.advancehe-document-manager/documents/hea/private/resources/induction_1568037224.pdf Accessed 04/11/2019
Milsom, C, Stewart, M, Yorke, M and Zaitseva, E (2014) Stepping up to the Second Year at University: Academic, psychological and social dimensions. SRHE
Thompson S (2013) The forgotten year: tackling the ‘sophomore slump’. HEA report.https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/forgotten-year-tackling-%E2%80%98sophomore-slump%E2%80%99
QAA Scotland Student Transitions Map (2018) : Exploring the Student Journey- promoting te skills and support for success, Scottish Enhancement Themes. https://www.studenttransitionmap.uk/#!/guide
Page last updated: 28/04/2020