UNLOCKING THE POTENTIAL: TRANSITION AND SUPPORT FOR FIRST YEAR SOCIAL INCLUSION STUDENTS IN A COMMERCE FACULTY
University of Wollongong (AUSTRALIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:The Australian Government established the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program in 2010 in order to 'address Australia’s historically poor record of increasing the participation of people from low socio-economic status (LSES) backgrounds in higher education'. The goal set by the government is for universities to increase the student intake from low SES backgrounds from 10-15% to 20% by 2020. To support universities across Australia the government provided financial grants to support university staff develop initiatives to support them in achieving this goal.
The Faculty of Commerce in the University of Wollongong readily took up the national government’s challenge receiving a large grant in 2011 for its project titled: Unlocking the Potential: Transition and support for first year social inclusion students in the Faculty of Commerce. The overall purpose of the year-long project was to prepare the foundations for academic staff to more confidently design, deliver and assess curriculum that will engage and support students from LSE backgrounds.
More specifically the project aimed to
• support first year Commerce students including those from socially disadvantaged groups’ transition successfully into tertiary studies
• build capacity in academic staffs’ (First Year Subject Coordinators and Casual Academic Tutors) knowledge, skills and understandings to be able to
o confidently monitor students’ progress through the use of both formative and summative assessment practices
o modify their teaching practices accordingly through embedding scaffolded learning activities.
• identify students during the transition period of their first year who may be at risk
• prepare an annotated literature review and develop a ‘handbook’ scaffolded learning practices that will support and engage students in future learning.
This paper will discuss how the project was successfully incorporated into existing infrastructure within the Faculty, namely the Core Curriculum Sub-committee of the Faculty’s Education Committee. It will describe the action learning methodology (Turbill 2002) used to develop the ‘transition pedagogy’ (Kift 2009) of the cross disciplinary team and to enhance academics’ skills and understandings of how formative and summative assessment practices can best be used to identify students at risk. Further it will highlight the need to involve sessional (casual) teaching academics in producing quality professional learning experiences. Finally, we will describe how the completed annotated literature review was used to underpin the development of the ‘handbook of scaffolded learning and assessment strategies’ into an interactive online Commerce website.
Keywords: Social inclusion, action learning, transition pedagogy.