Most FYEEs involve hands-on design and manufacture of a product. Many universities use their FYEEs and the derived products as a resource for recruiting new cohorts of students. At the UCB, the ITLL holds a Design Expo at the end of the fall and spring semesters and participation is compulsory for students enrolled in GEEN1400. Teams must display a poster about their project and are judged by industry, academics and course instructors with respect to design robustness, creativity and innovation. The Expo is well advertised and the public is also provided with the opportunity to vote for the People's Choice Award. Thus, the FYEE indirectly helps increase the number of firstyear students entering the programme, resulting in increased income generation for both the University and its engineering departments.
The school sector has a history of National Records of Achievement and Progress Files which incorporate PDP-type activities, but there was no evidence from the literature to suggest whether this helps or hinders student engagement at HE level. At present, there is no consistent system of PDP or similar activity in schools or colleges. However, significant projects are underway to introduce new approaches to teaching and learning within Scottish schools, notably the 'Assessment is for Learning' initiative. Careers Scotland anticipates being more involved with S4-6 pupils in future, helping them to develop a career plan of action. These developments are likely to have an impact on HE entrants in the future, with students arriving with a greater understanding of how they learn and greater experience of reflection and planning processes (Appendix 1, section 2.5a). The benefits of a well-designed PDP system are that students are supported in their transition into HE, and engagement with their course is likely to be enhanced. The implications for staff and institutions are that time and resources have to be channelled to develop and support the process. However, this can lead to greater understanding of their students and to better design of the first-year curriculum.
retention rates and the GPA of students who identify as members of a racial/ethnic minority group in addition to the impact these course have on students based on gender. The demographics of students on college campuses are changing to reflect increased enrollment of racial/ethnic minorities and women identifying as members of these groups (Clauss-Ehlers & Parham, 2014). According to 2007 data taken from the National Center for Education Statistics, between the years 1976 and 2005, the rates of college enrollment for racial/ethnic minorities increased at astronomically higher percentages than that of Whites, as well as for women in comparison to men, i.e. 62% increase for African American men and 145% increase for African American women; 275% increase for Latino men and 530% increase for Latina women; and 392% increase for Asian men and 570% for Asian women; compared with 7% for White men and 49% for White women (Clauss-Ehlers & Parham, 2014). In 2012, the Western Institute Commission for Higher Education uncovered that a similar demographic profile exists in today’s colleges and universities (Clauss-Ehlers & Parham, 2014). Despite this trend of increased diversity, the “predominate structure of the first college year . . . is the same basic structure that was designed for a population of White, middle- or upper-class males who constituted the vast majority of college students . . . .” twenty years ago (Barefoot, 2000, p. 13). For students identifying as racial/ethnic minorities, this creates “a serious lack of institutional fit” (13). Thus, it is important to conduct research that predicts the impact FYE courses have on students who do not identify as White.
On-campus and distance teams have faced different difficulties in facilitating peer learning. On-campus teams could meet face-to-face, but they did not have the diversity of age and engineering work experience prevalent in distance teams. They were, however, more up-to-date in their computer knowledge. General computer knowledge (email, chat, file management and word processing) and keyboard skills are particularly useful in the course. Distance teams had more engineering or technical knowledge but many distance students have lacked skills in or are nervous about using communication technologies, e.g., Windows Live Messenger. In contrast, distance teams have always shown considerable diversity in education background, age and relevant work experience. Their difficulty has lain in skill limitations for facilitating and monitoring peer-assisted learning by electronic communication using chat rooms, electronic discussion boards and team Wiki pages.
Abstract: Professionalism is an important part of any subject of study where graduates subsequently move into a professional career following their degree course. Most professional bodies therefore require accredited degree programmes to include this topic in the curriculum. The British Computer Society gives guidelines to institutions in the UK. These guidelines have been followed in the construction of the current Software Engineering Curriculum in the Department Of computer Science at the University of Sheffield. However it is unclear how effective the current form of presentation is. This report seeks to investigate this and look to possible ways of improving the presentation, particularly in the firstyear. I conclude that the most important factor in teaching professionalism; is the professionalism of the teachers. Students seem to learn these skills best by example, and therefore the greatest improvements are likely to be found by implementing common standards for teaching practice across the syllabus.
The researcher noted that two participants raised the issue of not being familiar with online learning, and the lack of familiarity contributing to how they experienced blended language learning. The study was designed to offer the implementation of blended learning in the second semester after students would have completed computer literacy as a module in the first semester. It was timed strategically to have taken place towards the end of the second semester, after other blended learning opportunities had taken place already in the English communication module and other modules. The views expressed by the participants highlighted that lecturers had to confirm online learning readiness prior to prescribing it, and should not take it for granted that all students were sufficiently capacitated to complete online learning. Ratliff (2009) confirmed that first- year university students should be evaluated in terms of digital literacy and
Higher education is increasingly pre-occupied with issues relating to student engagement. While a growing body of literature links student engagement with university transition and retention, other strands reveal students’ growing disengagement with university culture. The issues are largely expressed through political and empirical debates but lack theoretical perspectives capable of providing understandings of the processes involved in student engagement. This paper re- conceptualises the processes of engagement and applies the understandings gained to a firstyear nursing course conducted at the University of Southern Queensland. The approach incorporates collaborations with other stake holders in the firstyearexperience. It also priorities three critical practices or’ skills of engagement’ that students can integrate to facilitate their engagement with mainstream university culture. The paper additionally documents the findings of a pilot study, as well as other evaluative data, investigating the effectiveness of the approach. The results are encouraging revealing benefits such as improved student engagement with university and discipline processes.
QM Advance is a three-day pre-induction course with a series of follow-on sessions in the first semester. It is funded from the Widening Participation budget. QM Advance aims to 'assist identified groups of new students to make a smooth transition to university life and study'. The programme is targeted at two specific groups: mature students and direct-entry students. It focuses on supporting new students to develop their knowledge, skills and confidence to help them become more effective learners. All new QMU students are sent information about QM Advance with their joining pack: a leaflet explaining the aims of the course content and a light-hearted quiz to help those interested to assess whether the course would be of benefit to them. A number of students also find out about the course at an earlier stage, through the Transition and Pre-entry Guidance Advisers, attendance at QMU applicant open days and at local college FE-HE information events.
Within the three student focus groups, students made many comments about aspects of university life outside the curriculum. However, in relation to the curriculum, they made many comments about their desire to receive quicker feedback on assessed work. Two key points were made in these focus groups. One was the need for more challenging work in the firstyear. Many students did not feel stretched by the first-year curriculum they had experienced, and described going backwards from the demands of school. The second key point was that students reported not being involved at all in curriculum design other than feeding back on module or programme evaluation forms. Where end-of-course evaluation is carried out, students often have no way of knowing whether their feedback influences curriculum design, and changes are most often made for the benefit of following cohorts of students. However, students reported their interest in being involved more closely in timetabling aspects of the curriculum.
The purpose of the following literature review was to survey the body of research conducted into student peer support, with a specific focus on such support in the firstyear at HEIs and its impact on student engagement and empowerment. For the purposes of this review we took the firstyear to mean the firstyear a student, whether undergraduate or postgraduate, spends in HE. In terms of what is meant by peer support we present research relating to the role of peers in students' academic learning and their social well-being. Some of the studies and interventions discussed are not solely confined to the firstyear, but we have attempted to identify where this is the case. Also, as Harvey, Drew and Smith (2006) pointed out, it is problematic to try to examine a given topic - such as peer support - related to the firstyear because of the overlap of topics. However, where a study relates to peer support, even if its focus is on another aspect of the firstyear (for example, curriculum design), we have chosen to include it. Initially, we used two main strategies to identify appropriate literature. First, a
The profile of nursing students is also changing to include older, educationally unprepared students (Bittman et al., 2004), a significant phenomena as mature students felt the conflict of balancing education and home life more often than their younger counterparts (Christensson, Vaez, Dickman, & Runeson, 2011). In particular, family commitments, financial and childcare concerns were found to be the main impacting factors on study (Montgomery, Tansey, & Roe, 2009). Mature students reported feeling disadvantaged in relation to the maths and science components of the course (Stewart, Mort, & McVeigh, 2001; Mehta et al., 2008), but were more likely to self-refer for learning support than younger counterparts who entered the course through traditional avenues (Stewart et al., 2001).
engineering curricula (Kavanagh et al., 2009). These firstyear students therefore experience difficulty in mastering the content and other fundamental knowledge hurdles and quickly become dissatisfied with their firstyearengineering studies (Kavanagh et al., 2009). They then often withdraw from their engineering programs, thus contributing to the growing attrition rate. Similarly, research evidence indicates that students of all disciplines enter university with expectations about the learning experience which influence their approach to study (Krause, Hartley, James, & McInnis, 2005) but that these students are often poorly informed about the nature of their coursework (Krause et al., 2005). This project aims to redress this imbalance by building on earlier works in the field (e.g., Godfrey & King, 2011). The focus is not on selecting students for engineering courses based on their prior knowledge per se, but on the relationships between the interests, experiences, knowledge and skills of commencing students that influence their career decisions. Empowering firstyear students to identify their knowledge gaps, and giving them some idea of the learning experience at university, is an important first step in
The next aspect of the transition process that students identified as significant was the ability to focus on one’s goals and intended outcomes. Students felt that knowing why a particular course was being studied, and what it would lead to, were significant motivating factors during difficult times. This issue was particularly commented on by international students, one of whom said: “I know my purpose for studying, so [the transition] was okay for me…we want to work hard, this is why we came here and chose Education to study.” Mature-aged students also identified this focus on career- oriented outcomes as a significant factor, and indicated that this was one identifying factor related to being mature-aged: “You are a lot more focused as well, I know I am probably a lot more so than some of the younger ones… we have a little more behind us and we know what we want at the end of the course and our aim.” However, for other mature-aged students, this focus on career aspirations became an additional pressure. One student spoke about what was ‘at stake’ in choosing Education, in terms of providing a better life for children and finding a job that would provide this. The value of education – financially, emotionally, and in terms of family – was a significant factor in both the motivation to succeed, and the fear of failure.
to continue studying when the financial burden increases. This result matches with previous studies (Lourens and Smit 2003). Ibid. previously pointed out that there is a good relation between drop out and low-income or disadvantaged backgrounds. The findings are not so far from another phenomenon related to finance. Consistent with previous research, the current results indicate that most of the firstyear students (1 736 (47.1%)) are financed by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) (Herrera 2006). This is what researchers such as Larkin et al. (2016) described as being in a case of quality learning and teaching settings. Undoubtedly, the NSFAS plays an important role in increasing access to higher education for underpreviledged students. Government funds to NSFAS amounted to R5.769 billion, in 2013/14. R3.693 billion of the entire portion was for loans and bursaries to universities (Van Zyl, Gravett and De Bruin 2012). Larkin et al. (2016) have also drawn attention to increased amount of work firstyear student encounter. In their previous research the authors argued that some respondents indicated that they “... hated the pressure” and added that “... I think week 4 ... we had four things due in the one week, which was just like all of us had a breakdown” (Larkin et al. 2016, 1–16).
The diversity of the student body on the course was welcomed because it introduced new ways of looking at old things, it broadened the minds of the students and it made class discussions interesting. The ratio of male to female students was about 6 to 1. Each year there are a number of international students, usually about 5% of the student cohort, and a number of repeat students. The gender issue became evident by observing the roles assumed within the teams. The technical tasks fell almost exclusively to the male component of the team, whereas the task of documenting the work and minutes of meetings fell to the female component. We reduced the tendency towards stereotyped role models by stipulating that all team members must be able to discuss and understand all elements of the project.
Both sections of the introductory course were identical in content, textbook, assignments, and exams but differed in two ways. First, one section was enrolled by a cohort of nineteen high school students including seventeen seniors and two juniors identified as interested in the study of engineering. These high school students are academically similar as they have completed advanced level courses such as AP courses and were dual enrolled in university. The other section was enrolled by university students. The second distinction was in the delivery format. The university section began each class session with a live telecast lecture from an off-site professor for the first 30 minutes and the remaining 45 minutes were taught face-to-face by the professor involved in this study. The high school section was taught solely in a face-to-face context by the engineering professor involved in this study.
We do not seek to teach the students to be programmers, rather we are teaching them the rudiments of programming in the context of MATLAB and LabVIEW. There is less need for the modern engineer to be able to program in a language such as FORTRAN or C++. It is however important that they can use languages such as MATLAB and LabVIEW to solve problems, to manipulate and present data, and to simulate processes. The majority of the students had either never programmed at all, or had only encountered Java. Hence it is assumed that students have zero programming skills before the course begins. Students are first introduced to LabVIEW over a six-week and then to MATLAB over a further six-week period. Both software packages use the format of one lecture and one tutorial per week.
The traditional approach of teaching engineering subjects is efficient in presenting a large amount of information to large numbers of students. However, the downside of this approach is that it fosters passive learning where students expect to be told what to learn and how to learn it (Felder, 2012), without developing the skills and enthusiasm for the course. Evidence suggests that, relative to traditionally-taught students, the students who had proceeded through the student-centred methods emerged with more positive attitudes about the quality of their instruction, higher levels of confidence in their engineering problem solving abilities, a greater sense of community among themselves, and perhaps a higher level of employability resulting partly from their extensive experience with team projects (Felder, 1995).
In a traditional engineering curriculum, students devote their freshmen year to taking math and science courses to prepare them for the engineering courses to come later in the curriculum. Such an approach is often dry and not motivating to the freshmen since they don’t see any application courses. In addition, the students have to wait a year or more to know if the major they have chosen will meet their career goals. The traditional ‘introduction to engineering’ course that generally surveys various engineering career paths is insufficient to provide the freshmen students with a feel for their major. As an alternate, many engineering programs have started offering project-based courses under various titles at the freshmen level to introduce students to the field of their study. A leading institution to introduce such an approach in the ECE curriculum is Carnegie Mellon University, and they have successfully offered an ‘intellectually substantive’ course with basic algebra and high school physics as prerequisites 1 .
comprehensive scale, cutting across courses, then it would be possible to generate a substantial databank of ideas and suggestions for improvement which, while course specific, could be generalised at the level of institutional quality management, in order to justify particular resource allocation decisions for example. Relationships based on mutual understanding and agreement about teaching and learning in practice would provide a solid basis for institutional quality enhancement and strategic management. In addition, empowering students to develop deep knowledge of learning, and to be actively engaged in their learning, would benefit them not only as undergraduates, but also as lifelong learners.