Exploring the effectiveness of a first-year transition initiative, The Zone, through a Community of Inquiry framework

Presentation


McGovern, Mary and Crank, Russell. 2019. "Exploring the effectiveness of a first-year transition initiative, The Zone, through a Community of Inquiry framework." EPHEA & NAEEA Conference (2019): Enabling Excellence through Equity Conference. Wollongong, Australia 25 - 27 Nov 2019 Australia.
Paper/Presentation Title

Exploring the effectiveness of a first-year transition
initiative, The Zone, through a Community of Inquiry
framework

Presentation TypePresentation
AuthorsMcGovern, Mary (Author) and Crank, Russell (Author)
Year2019
Place of PublicationAustralia
Web Address (URL) of Paperhttps://enablingeducators.org/conferences/
Conference/EventEPHEA & NAEEA Conference (2019): Enabling Excellence through Equity Conference
Event Details
EPHEA & NAEEA Conference (2019): Enabling Excellence through Equity Conference
Event Date
25 to end of 27 Nov 2019
Event Location
Wollongong, Australia
Abstract

All universities are challenged by the need to support students during their many ‘firsts’, along with the focus on maintaining retention and reducing attrition rates. The Zone is a first-year transition initiative of the University of Southern Queensland’s Open Access College, the Tertiary Preparation Program (TPP). Widening Participation initiatives, such as the TPP, engages diverse students with a variety of life experiences and abilities. The Zone is one such approach to supporting TPP students and is finding success through engaging and empowering these students in their transition into higher education. A range of evidence-based practices and learning experiences have been incorporated into the design of The Zone, and its delivery via the University’s online learning platform simultaneously facilitates student transitions into both higher education and their online study environment. A range of evidence-based practices and learning experiences have been incorporated into the design of The Zone. Academic Advisors manage The Zone and provide tiered levels of support. The Zone initially guides students through to an enrolment process allowing informed, self-determined decisions about individual student study pathways and loads. Secondly, The Zone facilitates a phased approach to the students’ first semester of study, with each stage further developing their academic self-identity and self-efficacy. Students simultaneously engage with The Zone and the requirements of their first semester’s study. The effectiveness of The Zone will be explored through a Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework. CoI was selected for its intentional design for online modes of delivery and its ability to promote discourse in exploring Teacher, Social and Cognitive Presence. Data is collected at pivotal times, identifying typical issues and allows advisors to tailor further support, for individual and groups, by direct intervention or support from university services. As the project expands a greater variety of learning experiences will occur to encourage higher levels of engagement and self-reflection in their learning community and also facilitate a deeper sense of belonging and personal growth. Preliminary findings suggest The Zone project positively contributes to successful transitions through engaging with Academic Advisors, enabling informed self-enrolment, improving self-reflective practices and creating a sense of connectedness, thus setting the student up for success.

KeywordsAcademic success
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020399999. Other education not elsewhere classified
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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Southern Queensland
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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