University of Limerick
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Supporting first year students in their academic and social adjustment to higher education. A case study of the First Seven Weeks Programme at the University of Limerick.

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posted on 2015-05-07, 15:44 authored by Angelica RísquezAngelica Rísquez, YVONNE DIGGINS, MAURA MURPHYMAURA MURPHY
Transition to university takes place during the first few months of a student entering higher education and is characterised by the new academic, social and personal challenges that the student experiences. At university, students are required to develop competences related to accessing information, participation in university life, facing academic challenges, study, and work abroad (IUQB, 2006; Diggins, Risquez and Murphy et al., 2011; DES, 2011). In Ireland, the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 (DES, 2011) advises higher education institutions to address identified shortfalls in students’ skills during their first year in higher education, by providing induction and preparation courses such as self-directed learning, time management and information literacy. This chapter showcases an example of the practical application of this policy through the First Seven Weeks programme at the University of Limerick (UL), a proactive transition programme underpinned by research, which integrates existing on-campus student support services. Using Facebook, a free social networking website, as the main method of communication, the initiative aims to help students find their way around, clarify expectations, and facilitate their academic adjustment and socialisation. The findings show that students of the programme agree that Facebook is useful for university student support initiatives and that the programme is an extremely helpful resource. The programme is sustainable in terms of funding, as the cost-benefit is maximised through engaging with existing student services, staff, faculty and students; it is further sustainable by using Facebook, a free social networking website, as the main communication method with students. However, it is clear that guidance initiatives are intensive from the point of view of coordination and require adequate funding as well as the strategic support of university authorities. The following sections explore the context for the programme and the use of technology within the programme. We then discuss the results collected from two online surveys and conclude by outlining proposed future developments.



Emerging Issues in Higher Education III: From Capacity Building to Sustainability;chapter 13, pp. 178-193


EDIN: Educational Developers in Ireland Network





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