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dc.contributor.advisorBoland, Josephine
dc.contributor.authorGinty, Carina
dc.description.abstractMany students are not prepared for the demands of third level education and first year experience programmes are designed to support this transition and supplement the necessary academic and life skills. In 2009 a first year experience package was introduced in two higher education institutions following strategic innovation funding, which was awarded by the Higher Education Authority in Ireland. This package consisted of: a Learning With Peers (LWP) programme led by trained senior student leaders; and a Skills Development Module (SDM) which is led by lecturers and is worth 5 ECTS. The main aim of this study is to explore the first year experience over two higher education institution sites. It investigates how two initiatives (i.e. the LWP and the SDM) impact student engagement, teaching practice and institutional policy. The major themes discussed in the literature review include: the first year experience; student engagement; teaching, learning and assessment strategies; and change management. The paradigm chosen for this study is mixed methods. The research strategy is a case study, exploring and explaining the first year experience initiatives across two sites including an Institute of Technology and a University. The data collection tools include a first year student survey and semi structured interviews with lecturers and senior managers. Challenges encountered during the research process included survey design, data collection approach, doing insider research and conducting interviews. A number of major themes emerged from the data analysis including: creating connections; making friends; understanding expectations; creating learning communities; teaching challenges; and resourcing and supporting the first year experience. Furthermore, this study found that first year students want to make connections with their learning experiences. Institutions need to establish ‘student learning communities’ from day one, which will enable first year students to connect and belong while lecturers enjoy collaborating and sharing resources that support students’ development. Finally, there seems to be a lack of understanding among senior managers’ in what is the ‘ideal operational resource team’ that would support first years effectively and ultimately meet an institution’s financial and strategic objectives.en_US
dc.rightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International*
dc.titleSupporting the first year experience in higher education: impact on student engagement, teaching practice and institutional policyen_US
dc.contributor.affiliationGalway-Mayo Institute of Technologyen_US
dc.subject.departmentTeaching and Learningen_US
dc.description.contentsCHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Research Study Aim 1.1.1 Research Questions 1 2 Background to the Study 1 3 Thesis Structure CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW INTRODUCTION 2.1 STUDENT ENGAGEMENT IN HIGHER EDUCATION 2.1.1 Engaging the Learner 2.1.2 Sense of Belonging 2.2 THE FIRST YEAR EXPERIENCE 2.2.1 Transition to Higher Education 2.2.2 Student Retention 2.2.3 Peer Assisted Learning 2.3 TEACHING, LEARNING & ASSESSMENT STRATEGIES 2.3.1 Teaching in Higher Education 2.3.2 Curriculum Innovations in Higher Education 2.3.2 Assessment & Evaluation 2.4 MANAGING CHANGE IN HIGHER EDUCATION CONCLUSION CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY INTRODUCTION 3.1 PURPOSE OF THE RESEARCH 3.1.1 Research Aims 3.1.2 Research Questions 3.2 RESEARCH PARADIGM & STRATEGY 3.3 RESEARCH METHODS 3.4 THE RESEARCH PROCESS 3.4.1 Research Process Phase One 3.4.2 Research Process Phase Two 3.4.3 Research Process Phase Three 3.5 VALIDITY, RELIABILITY & LIMITATIONS CONCLUSION CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS INTRODUCTION 4.1 THE FIRST YEAR STUDENT EXPERIENCE 4.1.1 First Year Student Challenges 4.1.2 Student Experience of the Learning With Peers (LWP) Programme 4.1.3 Student Experience of the Skills Development Module (SDM) 4.1.4 Student Experience of the LWP & the SDM Overall 4.2 THE LECTURER EXPERIENCE 4.2.1 Lecturers’ Perspectives on the Issues and Challenges First Year Students Making the Transition Challenges Teaching the Module 4.2.2 Teaching and Learning Strategies 4.2.3 Impact on the Lecturers 4.2.4 Skills Development Module (SDM) Recommendations 4.2.5 Lecturer Demands & Expectations 4.3 THE SENIOR MANAGER EXPERIENCE CONCLUSION CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION INTRODUCTION 5.1 STUDENT ENGAGEMENT WITH FIRST YEAR EXPERIENCE INITIATIVES 5.2 TEACHING, LEARNING AND ASSESSMENT APPROACHES 5.3 MANAGING CHANGE CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSIONS INTRODUCTION 6.1 STUDY LIMITATIONS 6.2 CREATING CONNECTIONS AND STUDENT LEARNING COMMUNITIES 6.3 TEACHING AND LEARNING COLLABORATIONS 6.4 MANAGING AND RESOURCING THE FIRST YEAR EXPERIENCE 6.5 FUTURE RESEARCH WORK 6.6 FINAL WORDS REFERENCES APPENDICES Appendix 1 Gaining Access – Communication Tools Appendix 2 First Year Student Engagement Survey Appendix 3 Academic & Senior Manager Interview Schedule Appendix 4 Institute of Technology Profile Appendix 5 University Profile Appendix 6 LWP Programme Descriptor Appendix 7 Skills Development Module (SDM) Descriptoren_US

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