This post was created by PGCert participants as part of their assessment for Unit 1 of the course. The brief was to choose two specific learning needs and evaluate technologies that could help students with these needs to learn more effectively.
Individuals with dyslexia face a range of challenges during higher education courses, particularly during tasks which require intensive reading and writing. OneNote software has various functions which could be useful for some dyslexic students. Microsoft advertises the app as a ‘free organizer-productivity notebook app’, and it does have some features which certainly could help students with particular forms of dyslexia become more productive.
The immersive reader and accessibility functions responds to many of the issues highlighted by the British Dyslexia Association (BDA, 2018) as challenges for those with dyslexia, including producing:
- Readable fonts (e.g. spacing between letters, avoiding ‘visual crowding’)
- Easy addition of headings and sub-headings
- Appropriate colour contrasts
As the new term begins and we start to build in activities to transition our new students into UCA courses, we thought you might find it useful to see what other programmes at UCA have done to keep Level 4 (first year) students ‘on board’ with their studies. The Creative Education team talked to our Performing Arts and Architecture courses, about their success in non-continuation practices at Level 4. Here are some tips from both courses: Continue reading
The university has recently introduced a new personal development policy across all UCA courses, but why have we introduced this, what does this mean for the student experience and how are we going to implement this?
Why have we introduced Personal Development Tutoring?
At UCA, we annually monitor student retention data, reporting on patterns of interruption and withdrawal across the student lifecycle. These studies have revealed particular attrition issues around level 4, where students are at greatest risk of dropping out of their studies with us. There may be a variety of reasons why students drop out at this stage. Academic issues, feelings of isolation and/or not fitting in and concern about achieving future aspirations as the primary reasons why students think about leaving. In 2018, we conducted in-house research on the first year experience (Barratt, 2018) BAME student experience (Dixon-Smith, 2018) and Induction Tutoring (Allder & Fitzwater, 2018). All of these studies reveal the value and benefit of ongoing pastoral support to enable students navigate university life and work life balance to achieve success in their studies.
So..what is personal development tutoring? Continue reading
There are often varied interpretations and understandings, held by students and academics, on what is feedback, how feedback is defined (ie difference between formative and summative) and how this can inform learning. From the student perspective, most complaints focus on the technicalities of feedback, including content, organization of assessment activities, timing, and lack of clarity about requirements (Higgins, Hartley, & Skelton, 2001), and from the lecturer perspective, the issues revolve around students not making use of or acting on feedback. Rather disappointingly, these extrinsic aspects of assessment and feedback practice continue to dominate the National Student Survey (NSS). Such perceptions and experiences of the assessment and feedback process can sometimes mean that students are unaware or unappreciative of formative assessment experiences as opportunities for learning, instead fixating on the assessment process: the turnaround of marks, the costs of involved to produce work for assessment and the perceived lack of fairness with grades and feedback. These experiences often mask the potential of formative assessment to shift learners away from extrinsic motivation towards intrinsic motivation and autonomous learning. Continue reading
With the increasing focus on retention and student success being placed on universities, the process of transition into higher education and the first year experience have been subject to extensive research. Based on that research, most institutions have developed a range of activities and interventions to support the process of transition through activities such as pre-arrival orientations, induction activities, peer mentoring schemes etc (Gardner et al, 2001; Schnell et al, 2003; Harvey et al, 2006; Hultberg et al, 2008). Here at UCA, we have conducted research into the transition of students into university life and the factors impacting student success. In-house research has included studies of interruption and withdrawal, the first year experience and induction tutoring. Interventions we have put in place include Personal Development Tutoring and specific improvements in student induction to mitigate against student interruption and withdrawal. Continue reading
In 2014/15, the Higher Education Academy (HEA) developed a ‘Framework for partnership in learning and teaching in higher education’ as a way to bring focus to discussions about student engagement and the concept of partnership. In the framework:
‘…partnership is understood as a relationship in which all involved are actively engaged in and stand to gain from the process of learning and working together to foster engaged student learning and engaging learning and teaching enhancement. Partnership is essentially a way of doing things, rather than an outcome in itself.’ (HEA 2014)
There are many ways we can work with in partnership with students. These include the following:
Learning, teaching and assessment: this type of partnership casts students as active participants in their learning. Partnership approaches might be typified by the following:
- focusing on collaborative and active learning (e.g. flipping the classroom, experiential learning, community building and placement learning);
- giving students a level of choice and ownership in learning experiences;
- placing students in different roles (e.g. as tutors, mentors or assessors) and as co-designers of learning materials and resources.
As our international student community begins to grow at UCA, we may find ourselves reflecting on our teaching approaches to better support learners with English as an additional language.
UCA’s Learning Development Tutors have spoken to a number of teaching colleagues at UCA, to gather together some ‘quick wins’ and case studies of good practice of working with international students at UCA that we hope you will find useful.
A number of academics are currently collaborating with Learning Development and EAP tutors to produce course specific glossaries. This is something that can be done ahead of a new academic year, and either included in the unit handbooks or put up on myUCA. This can be combined with encouraging students to create their own glossaries, which can be added to, when key discourse is signposted in sessions. Try writing down new terms for your students on whiteboards or flip charts, so that they get a chance to observe spelling and write it down correctly. Continue reading