Enhancing Students' Transition to University through Online Preinduction Courses

Enhancing Students' Transition to University through Online Preinduction Courses

Ursula Wingate (Department of Education and Professional Studies, King’s College London, UK)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-814-7.ch009
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This chapter proposes online preinduction courses as an innovative method for preparing students for learning in higher education. It is argued that such courses would be most effective as components of a comprehensive learning support framework. One specific online preinduction course, which was created for undergraduate students of management, is presented. The design principles as well as the rationale and content of its five modules are discussed. The design of the course is based on constructivist, experiential, and situated learning theories, which determined the choice of subject-specific materials and authentic activities. The second part of the chapter focuses on the pilot study in which students were observed and asked to think aloud while working on the course’s materials and tasks. Findings from the pilot study show that the instructional design principles were successful in helping students to achieve the various learning objectives.
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Online preinduction courses (OPICs) represent an e-teaching and e-learning approach that can considerably enhance individual and institutional learning. The courses give students the opportunity to reflect on epistemological issues, consider effective learning strategies, and gain insight into academic writing practices before their arrival at university. Thus, they provide necessary preparation for studying in higher education, a preparation that students entering university are commonly lacking.

In the United Kingdom, as elsewhere, widening participation has led to a diverse student population with different levels of preparation, different abilities, and different learning experiences. For most students, regardless of their background, the transition to university is challenging as new demands are placed on them as learners: They are expected to learn independently, to adapt to new epistemological understandings, to develop analytical and critical approaches, and to express their voice in presentations and writing. To cope with these requirements, students need careful induction and support at the beginning of the university course. However, high withdrawal levels are a persistent problem for departments (Edward, 2003; Hughes, 2007), which indicate that universities have not implemented adequate support schemes that cater to the diverse needs of students from different backgrounds. Instead, the remedial system that was aimed at the few problematic students in the previous selective system still prevails. To support all students, universities need to develop “learning to learn” frameworks that are both inclusive, that is, by reaching all students through embedding support in the curriculum, and comprehensive, by developing student learning with various complementary methods over time.

Online preinduction courses could be part of such a framework. They prepare students for studying at university before the start of their first term. This is done by using Web-based materials and tasks that provide information and develop learning skills. Students are given access to the OPIC upon admission, about 4 weeks before registration, and will have the opportunity to use the course throughout their first year.

In the next section, the learning needs of students entering higher education and current provision of learning support at UK universities are considered. This is followed by a brief discussion of a framework for learning support in which OPICs are the initial component. Then, the benefits of e-learning are considered in the context of OPICs. In the main part of the chapter, a specific OPIC that was developed for an undergraduate management programme is described in terms of its teaching and learning strategies. Finally, the results of piloting this OPIC are presented, and the impact of OPIC’s instructional design on student learning is analysed.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Charles Juwah
Roisin Donnelly, Fiona McSweeney
Chapter 1
Sabine Little
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Chapter 2
Rhona Sharpe, Jillian Pawlyn
This chapter reports on an implementation of blended e-learning within three modules in the School of Health and Social Care at Oxford Brookes... Sample PDF
The Role of the Tutor in Blended E-Learning: Experiences from Interprofessional Education
Chapter 3
Diana Kelly
This chapter makes a case for the importance of preparing e-teachers by requiring them to have an experience as an e-learner. The chapter begins... Sample PDF
Modeling Best Practices in Web-Based Academic Development
Chapter 4
Tony Cunningham, Claire McDonnell, Barry McIntyre, Theresa McKenna
This chapter explores the insights gained by a group of teachers from their lived experience as e-learners participating in a blended module on... Sample PDF
A Reflection on Teachers' Experience as E-Learners
Chapter 5
Catherine Manathunga, Roisin Donnelly
Professional development for academic staff in higher education is receiving increasing attention. The focus has been on providing an opportunity... Sample PDF
Opening Online Academic Development Programmes to International Perspectives and Dialogue
Chapter 6
Louise Adele Jakobsen
This chapter, written from experience in implementing e-learning in further education through various roles, identifies key issues relating to... Sample PDF
Embedding E-Learning in Further Education
Chapter 7
Catherine Matheson, David Matheson
This chapter considers some of the major questions around access and accessibility, beginning with the most basic: just what is meant by access and... Sample PDF
Access and Accessibility in E-Learning
Chapter 8
Morag Munro, Barry McMullin
This chapter examines some of the tensions that may exist between e-learning and accessibility in higher education, and aims to redress the balance... Sample PDF
E-Learning for All? Maximizing the Impact of Multimedia Resources for Learners with Disabilities
Chapter 9
Ursula Wingate
This chapter proposes online preinduction courses as an innovative method for preparing students for learning in higher education. It is argued that... Sample PDF
Enhancing Students' Transition to University through Online Preinduction Courses
Chapter 10
Pankaj Kamthan
The discipline of software engineering has been gaining increasing significance in computer science and engineering education. In this chapter, the... Sample PDF
A Methodology for Integrating Information Technology in Software Engineering Education
Chapter 11
Gordon Joyes, Sheena Banks
The focus of this chapter is on the use of technology in the teaching and learning of research methods in masters’ and doctoral programmes in higher... Sample PDF
Using Technology in Research-Methods Teaching
Chapter 12
Richard Walker, Walter Baets
Blended learning occupies a prominent place within higher education teaching strategies, yet there is no clear definition for what we mean by this... Sample PDF
Instructional Design for Class-Based and Computer-Mediated Learning: Creating the Right Blend for Student-Centred Learning
Chapter 13
Ann Donohoe, Tim McMahon, Geraldine O’Neill
The primary purpose of this chapter is to explore how online communities of inquiry can be developed to facilitate students to engage in reflective... Sample PDF
Online Communities of Inquiry in Higher Education
Chapter 14
Nick Pratt
The aim of this chapter is to explore e-learning and e-teaching from a social perspective in order to show how the use of new technologies, like... Sample PDF
Using Multipoint Audio-Conferencing with Teaching Students: Balancing Technological Potential with Practical Challenges
Chapter 15
Timo Portimojärv, Pirjo Vuoskoski
This chapter will illustrate a combination of problem-based learning (PBL), information and communication technologies (ICT), and leadership in the... Sample PDF
The Alliance of Problem-Based Learning, Technology, and Leadership
Chapter 16
Steve Millard
This chapter sets out a number of ways in which effective use of the online discussion board in a virtual learning environment can contribute to the... Sample PDF
The Use of Online Role Play in Preparing for Assessment
Chapter 17
Simon Wilkinson, Heather Rai
This chapter focuses on the use of computers for online summative assessment, in particular for objectively marked items. The aim of this chapter is... Sample PDF
Mastering the Online Summative-Assessment Life Cycle
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