Mind the gap: Using MOOCs to provide pre-entry skills support

English, Lesley Helen (2017) Mind the gap: Using MOOCs to provide pre-entry skills support. In: LILAC, 2017-04-102017-04-12, University of Swansea.

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With a growing number of students entering Higher Education (HE) from a non-traditional background, Universities need to ensure that a supportive learning environment is in place for these students to progress and achieve (Crosling, Heagney and Thomas, 2009). Provision of academic skills delivery to University of Cumbria students presents a range of challenges relating to ability, geography and existing experience. These students include those entering H.E. for the first time, on standalone continuing professional development (CPD) modules through to returning students engaging in Masters level study. This paper will focus on the use of pre-entry online skills programmes to bridge the skills gap and prepare students for the expectations of University level study. From Head Start, the Level 4 programme which received the Times Higher Education award for Outstanding Student Support in 2014, to the creation of two Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) using the Blackboard Open Education platform; Head Start Plus (levels 5 & 6) and Preparing for postgraduate study (level 7). These programmes have been created by staff within the Academic Services and Retention team, which brings together subject librarians, information literacy practitioners and learning and skills development expertise. The blending of roles has led to the creation of integrated information literacy and academic skills teaching and learning activities and online digital learning resources. Collaboration with the Academic Quality and Development (AQD) team and colleagues with elearning expertise has provided these scalable and sustainable solutions for our extended provision of pre-entry support for students. Recently Preparing for postgraduate study has been the focus of a small study examining whether a study skills module delivered purely online can prepare non-traditional students for studying at Masters level and whether it is seen to be useful by the students involved. The results will be discussed. This presentation will highlight both the benefits and challenges of using an online skills programme as a transitional tool in a small, multicampus University and will be of interest to other librarians involved in both skills delivery and creation of online content. Crosling, G., Heagney, M. and Thomas, L. (2009) "Improving student retention in Higher Education: Improving teaching and learning", Australian Universities Review, 51(2), pp. 9-18.

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03 May 2018 09:58
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12 Sep 2023 05:39