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Enhancing first year undergraduate student engagement via the School of Biological Sciences tutorials module

McDonald, J.E. and Robinson, R.L. (2014) Enhancing first year undergraduate student engagement via the School of Biological Sciences tutorials module. Bioscience Education, 22 ((1)). pp. 54-69. DOI: doi:10.11120/beej.2014.00025

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Abstract

The transition to undergraduate study is often a challenging step for students as they progress from relatively smaller school/college classes with a high degree of contact time with familiar staff to a university department where one-on-one interaction with staff members is significantly reduced. The first year tutorials module offers one of the few opportunities for students to interact with a member of academic staff in a small group setting. However, many students struggle to cope with this change in circumstances and do not adapt to university life. They may feel isolated, and rather than seek help, fail to attend tutorial sessions; particularly when attendance is not strictly monitored or enforced. Consequently, students may become disengaged and demotivated, resulting in failure of modules and poor student retention. The aim of this project was to enhance the experience of first year students, by promoting student engagement with staff and peers at the start of their undergraduate degree to increase student retention, pass rates and engagement with their degree programme. This was achieved by adding several new elements to the existing tutorial module, including introductory lectures, icebreaker and group activities, skills development sessions, student presentations, research seminars and preparation of a portfolio for skills development and reflection. In addition, attendance monitoring was used as a trigger for the identification of students that required support. These interventions resulted in an increased module pass rate and mean module mark, and fewer students scoring zero. Student feedback also suggested an overall enhancement in student engagement

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Research Publications
Departments: College of Natural Sciences > School of Biological Sciences
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2014 16:28
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2015 02:56
ISSN: 1479-7860
URI: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/id/eprint/253
Identification Number: DOI: doi:10.11120/beej.2014.00025
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