Fitzgerald, R. and Crehan, M. (2012) What works? Student retention and successful first year experience design - lessons from the students. Workshop presented to: Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA) Spring Teaching Learning and Assessment Conference 2012: The Student Journey, Chester, 17-18 May 2012.
The first year of tertiary level study provides an influential script for the development of an engaged learner. Transition issues at point of entry and the impact of course selection affects individual expectations and levels of commitment. The first few weeks also have much impact on the ability to acclimatise to tertiary level study and to achieve comfortable person environment fit (Tinto 1993) The first year requires students to engage with and take responsibility for their learning quickly. Integrated and holistic curriculum planning is a key factor in the successful management of student transition. This workshop aims to facilitate participants’ consideration of the key elements involved in the design of the First Year Experience. As “good teaching means seeing learning through the learners eyes” (Ramsden 1998), the “student voice” can bring valid and valuable perspectives to learning and teaching practice. Using first hand video accounts from students, this workshop will guide participants’ through a consideration of the first year from the perspective of lecturer, institution and student. Working in small groups, participants will reflect on, and debate issues of course design in terms of the need to adopt student-centred active learning strategies; integrated study skills,formative assessment and feedback; peer mentoring and learning support. Examples of FYE curriculum design initiatives from the University of Northampton and the Dublin Institute of Technology will be presented for further discussion