Tutoring and Retention – Lynda Fitzwater and Katie Allder

Lynda Fitzwater and Katie Allder, senior lecturers on Fashion Promotion and Imaging at UCA, share the findings of their research into the relationships between tutoring and retention.

What is the relationship between approaches to tutoring and retention? In 2017, UCA’s Lynda Fitzwater and Katie Allder interviewed course leaders across the University to investigate the potential link between tutoring practices and retention, attrition and withdrawal.

In this podcast, Lynda and Katie discuss the findings of their research and highlight the key areas of significance that emerged from the data. To help you skip through the podcast, the main areas of discussion are listed below:

  • 1m 19s background to the research
  • 3m 21s importance of getting to know your students as well as possible during the first term
  • 5m 55s surprise of tutors at hearing the severity of the non-academic issues that some students were having to deal with
  • 9m 30s separating pastoral and academic tutorials, students wanting to avoid ‘negative judgement’
  • 12m 05s how did academic staff feel about the pastoral issues they were having to deal with?
  • 14m 27s what sort of training did academic staff say they needed?
  • 16m 33s professional boundaries, and the value of the mental health first aid course in talking about mental health issues with students
  • 17m 41s potential value of using peer mentoring and structuring social interaction to help students feel less anxious

You can read the full report here. 

You might also enjoy listening to previous Lunch and Learn podcasts on the Learning and Teaching Blog.

Posted in First Year Experience, Podcasts, Retention, Student Engagement, Webinars | Leave a comment

Learning is a stage

Kids playing with colorful blocks

What is learning?

Strangely enough, after hundreds of years of research by some of the world’s greatest minds we still have no clear agreement on what learning is, or how it happens.

In a recent article, Michael Luntley (2017) makes this point rather well by proposing that learning is a ‘staging area’. In order to learn something, he argues, we first have to possess a framework or concept to help us represent the thing in our minds. But how do we learn the framework or concept in the first place?

One possible answer lies in the idea of ‘play’. In a recent podcast, creativity expert Dr. Loiz Holzman discusses the importance of play and performativity in learning and notes how children begin to learn language by playing at speaking. Holzman’s research shows how children use play to do things that they don’t know how to do, and that play enables them to learn and transform themselves. Children literally create ‘stages’ on which they play out a range of imaginary scenarios which help them develop new ways of interpreting the world around them. Continue reading

Posted in Action Learning, Art & Design Education, Student Centred Learning | 2 Comments

Happy New CEN!

A very Happy New Year to you all!

New Year is a great time for new beginnings, and so it is with great pleasure that I’m able to announce the official launch of the Creative Education Network (CEN).

What is CEN?

The CEN is a connected learning community that provides educational development opportunities across UCA’s four campuses. You may well be thinking, ‘how is this different to teaching and learning..?’, so let me explain the choice of words:

  • Creative reflects the creativity that is inherent in learning, and the creative focus of the University. We offer ways to enhance educational activity that are contextualised through the lens of your discipline so that they are consistent with creative practice;
  • Education goes beyond the binary opposition of ‘teaching’ and ‘learning’ and recognises that we constantly switch between ‘teacher’ and ‘learner’ through our work. The term ‘education’ also acknowledges the diversity of educational work that is undertaken at UCA by colleagues in a range of roles;
  • Network describes the expertise that is distributed across the Univeristy, and focuses on connecting people with the knowledge they need.

The CEN is coordinated by myself and Annamarie Mckie, the leader of our HEA Fellowship professional recognition scheme, and its core actvity is driven by the CEN team including Dr. Nicholas Houghton, Sallyanne Theodosiou, Ray Martin, John Sutter, and Gill Wilson. However, the real value lies in the extensive network of knowledge and expertise across the University – this is you. The purpose of the CEN is to provide flexible ways for you to access and participate in this community of excellence in creative education.

What’s in it for you?

The CEN provides contextualised educational development. This means that our focus is on conecting you with the person, the knowledge, or the learning opportunity that can help you solve the problem you are currently facing, and to achieve this through the lens of your discipline. You’ll gain access to:

  • a supportive and extensive community of practice to help you enhance your educational work;
  • contextualised knowledge and expertise to help you tackle a range of issues including retention, achievement and student success;
  • our online database of research and good practice in creative education called ‘Bassline’;
  • assistance with the development and dissemination of pedagogic research outputs Continue reading
Posted in Creative Education, Professional Development | 4 Comments

Why do a PGCert or MA in Creative Education?







Whether you are preparing for your first ever class, or want to become a first class educator, UCA’s PGCert and MA in Creative Education will enhance your confidence and creativity in the classroom.

The courses enable you to improve your knowledge of education and develop a more informed approach to teaching and supporting learning. By enrolling on the PGCert or MA, you gain entry into a supportive community of practitioners within which you can ask challenging questions to help you improve your educational practice. You’ll have the opportunity to review your achievements and develop the knowledge and professional values that underpin your approach to learning.

A PGCert and an MA in Creative Education are transferable qualifiations that demonstrate your commitment to student success. They also look great on your CV.

What topics does the PGCert cover?

From September 2018, the PGCert in Creative Education will cover the following topics (please note that this is an indicative list and subject to change through the periodic review process): Continue reading

Posted in Creative Education, Professional Development | 1 Comment

What is excellent teaching in your discipline?


There is a tendency for the Arts to under-value its distinctive disciplinary practices around learning and teaching, but we should be more confident in sharing our practical and creative practices. The arrival of the Teaching Excellence Framework is bringing a greater focus on the need for excellent teaching in universities.

But what is excellent teaching? And what does it mean in the context of the Arts?

We would love you to tell us what excellent teaching looks like in your discipline so that we can share your examples across the university and beyond. The Creative Education Network is here to champion your successes and to connect tutors with creative approaches to education.

Please add your stories in the comments below, or if you would prefer please email them to creatednet@uca.ac.uk.

Thank you in advance for your time, let’s show the world what excellence looks like in Arts education!

Posted in Art & Design Education, Creative Education | 1 Comment

Retention strategies that work


Student retention is a growing issue that affects us all. But what can we do about it?

Since 2008, the Higher Education Academy has been undertaking research into effective strategies for student retention and success. The first phase of their What Works? project led to the creation of a Compendium of Effective Practice for Retention which examines six aspects of retention: Continue reading

Posted in First Year Experience, How Students Learn, Retention, Student Engagement | Leave a comment

Inclusion project updates


The Learning Support Co-ordinators contributing to the UCA Inclusivity Project are working on a number of projects, some currently in development and others are currently being run as pilots.  Please do contact the colleagues referenced in this update for further information and details.

Campus buddy scheme

This scheme is currently running at Canterbury, Farnham and Rochester (no student volunteers came forward at the Epsom campus). Student volunteers buddy with a new student during their first term and help with some of the general concerns they may have around settling in and making connections with appropriate University services where required. The scheme has initially been offered to students with Autistic spectrum conditions, and over the next term it will be widened to students with other disabilities who may be struggling to settle in for a range of reasons.

Continue reading

Posted in How Students Learn, Inclusivity, Learning Support, Student Centred Learning | 2 Comments