L. Barber, W. Bowen-Jones

University of Worcester (UNITED KINGDOM)
At the core of this pilot project is the desire to enhance the way the University communicates with its students and makes visible, through the creation of a virtual Centre, high quality learning resources which support students to maximise their academic potential. The Centre will exist primarily to motivate students to develop their own approaches toward and responsibility for their own learning; to enhance visibility, accessibility and engagement with learning resources; to transform (where appropriate), existing resources into more student friendly structures and formats, and to co-create new resources related to the key areas of work identified by the students themselves.

While the Centre is currently coordinated by the University of Worcester’s Lead for Student Progression and Academic Achievement, it is in essence a collaborative venture, bringing together the Students’ Union and Professional and Support departments (Library and Student Services). In this its first year, it has identified a number of key areas linked to successful progression and academic achievement including Academic Tutoring, Assessment and Feedback, Learning Resources and the First Year Experience.

At present the Centre is in its infancy and resides in the Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, but there is an expectation that it will grow into a central and sustainable entity, accessible to all students across the university. In order to grow the key areas of work, students have been employed as academic partners. Their role has been to consult with the wider student body so that the Centre develops a clear picture of what academic support and guidance students ideally require and how best to present this information. A key question to consider has been ‘How can we better share the guidance and resources currently available to students in order to motivate and engage them in meeting their academic needs?’

A series of student led focus groups designed to gauge levels of support and enthusiasm for the Centre have reported the following key findings: improved visibility and accessibility of existing learning resources; greater opportunities for students to take responsibility for their own learning and better recognition of how the University communicates its academic support and guidance to the student body.