University of Strathclyde

Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

  • Page:
    Investigation into the retention and progression issues impacting upon care leavers and identification of effective transition support throughout their academic career — Care leavers as a distinct group of students within higher education (HE) in Scotland have very little presence: “only a small percentage, in comparison to the national average, go on to study at university” (Scottish Care Leavers Covenant 2016).  Professor Les Ebdon, Director of Office for Fair Access puts it bluntly “there’s almost no more underrepresented group in higher education.”  Without significant support mechanisms many often struggle to cope financially and emotionally which impacts on their ability to academically achieve.

    The paper reports on a study, conducted by a research intern at the University of Strathclyde, which investigated the retention and progression issues impacting on care leavers, specifically in relation to their experience with the University.  It seeks to identify a positive environment for care experienced students and pinpoint best practice of effective transition support for students who encounter difficulties in their academic career.  In addition to looking at the academic career of a care experienced student, the potential barriers of care leavers in accessing placements, internships and international opportunities were also investigated.  Furthermore, a study of contemporary literature was used to identify key themes relating to care experienced students.  To examine best practice elsewhere the study was conducted in collaboration with an intern at the University of Stirling whom had a similar remit.  It is hoped that outcomes of the study will influence future developments in this area at the University. 

    This project was supported by Enhancement Theme funding from QAA Scotland.

    The full report is available at the bottom of the page

  • Page:
    Direct entry students in the Science Faculty This short project was designed to investigate how students who entered the University through non-standard routes found the transition from school to University. The project was designed to fall in with the QAA theme relating to Students’ Transitions into Higher Education. The focus of our study was aimed at those students who had entered the University at 2nd year with Advanced Highers or A-Levels. The full report is available below.

    This work was supported by Enhancement Theme funding from the QAA.

  • Page:
    Widening Access History Interns Project This pilot project was a collaboration between the History Department, Widening Access Team and the Careers Service. It sought to examine the transition experiences of widening access undergraduate History students. In particular, it aimed to assess the university experience of this cohort, and the extent to which the skills gained during their time at Strathclyde are relevant or fully utilised to improve their employability or better their career prospects.

    Two student interns were appointed in August 2015 on a part-time basis. They undertook a literature review and designed a survey which current undergraduate University of Strathclyde History students were invited to complete. In addition to the survey, the interns interviewed four current History students to identify their perceptions of their degree and any associated barriers.

    In order to examine the experiences of Widening Access students in particular, the survey included questions which allowed for the identification of certain Widening Access indicators. Students were regarded as Widening Access if they met one or more of the following criteria:

    • First generation of their immediate family to go to university
    • Attended a low progression to Higher Education school
    • Attended a SHEP school
    • Had a home postcode at point of application which was classed as Quintile 1 or Quintile 2 according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD)
    • Had spent any time in local authority care
    • Were a mature student (aged 21 or over on the first day of their course at the University of Strathclyde)

    The survey data therefore allowed for a comparison between the reported experiences of Widening Access students and non-Widening Access students. In some areas they reported very similar experiences, but in others there were notable differences.

    The full research report is available below.

    This work was supported by Enhancement Theme funding from the QAA.

  • Page:
    Co-ordinating and supporting induction A project to gather best induction practice and develop a toolkit to support staff in delivering appropriately co-ordinated induction activities across the first few weeks of teaching.

    This work was supported by Enhancement Theme funding from the QAA.

  • Page:
    What about me? Supporting staff, supporting students —  

    In this student-led project, the Academic Development team in OSDU employed two student interns to design and develop a staff training course “What about me?: Supporting staff, Supporting students”. The course is aimed at supporting staff teaching students in their first year at university through examining issues faced by students using a storytelling case study approach.

    We obtained £1K in funding from University of Strathclyde Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) funding for projects to support the current ‘transitions’ enhancement theme. This was used to provide match funding for a further successful bid to the Higher Education Academy (Scotland) for £10K.

    Two student interns were employed with assistance from the careers service, one final year student from HASS and one 2nd year student from SBS. The student interns researched and developed the CPD programme with support and guidance from the Academic Development Team.

    Initial work focussed on the interns researching student transition issues and interviewing a number of students from diverse backgrounds in order to collect authentic stories of student transitions. These stories were recorded and transcribed so that they could be used in future research deliverables for the project.

    The interns then designed the staff development course materials, based on activities suitable for both face-to-face and online delivery formats. This included the development of a video-based case study which was designed to thread throughout the course, using a story-telling approach to enhance staff engagement.

    Resources were developed that contributed to a toolkit in fulfilment of the HEA grant requirements.

    The course has been delivered through the Strathclyde Teaching Excellence Programme (STEP) at Strathclyde University both as a face-to-face and as a fully online class. A further offering is scheduled for June 2016.

    There are research outcomes associated with the evaluation of impact of this project and these will be disseminated at appropriate conferences and in peer-reviewed publications. 

    This work was supported by Enhancement Theme funding from the QAA, and grant funding from the HEA (Scotland).

  • Page:
    Engineering Successful College to University Transitions - The Engineering Academy The main aim of this project was to understand and co-develop successful support approaches and mechanisms for students making transition into their first year of study in Higher Education, by direct entry into second year from Further Education colleges. Specifically this project focussed on Engineering Academy students making their transition into year 2 of an engineering degree at the University of Strathclyde from a network of Further Education colleges.

    Two engineering student interns carried out the study in collaboration with key academic and engineering academy staff. The student interns, who had just completed second and third year respectively, had both taken non-traditional access routes to studying engineering at the University of Strathclyde. One through the engineering academy route whilst the other came to first year engineering through a further education college HNC route.  

    Initially, the study focussed on capturing the current experience of Engineering Academy students, specifically:

    • Interaction with University during HNC study
    • Social and academic integration
    • CV and employer engagement
    • Departmental practices
    • Summer schools
    • Student union groups and societies
    • Library and on-line services
    • Social media

    Opportunities for improvement were then explored, specifically :

    • Interaction with University during HNC study
    • Induction to University
    • Managing expectation and informing choices
    • Social and academic integration
    • Mentoring including peer mentoring
    • Student event
    • Summer schools

    In order to fully understand the Engineering Academy student transition experience and develop appropriate support mechanisms the following methodology was adopted:

    • A literature review
    • Survey of Engineering Academy students
    • Interviews with EA staff
    • Case studies  from other institutions
    • Library and on-line services
    • Social media

    A full research report is available below.

    This work was supported by Enhancement Theme funding from the QAA.

  • Page:
    Vertically Integrated Events for Degree Programmes in Chemistry These activities were developed to provide a networking opportunity for students on individual degree programmes. These informal events are held in the first semester each year and students from every year of each degree programme are invited. Refreshments are served and a number of speakers give short, informal presentations. The speakers include students who have completed study abroad, placements and internships, recent alumni who are now in employment, recent graduates who have chosen to continue into postgraduate study and, in some cases, an industry representative who will present an industrially sponsored prize to a recent prize winner. 
  • Page:
    Embedding personal development into undergraduate curriculum — Central to the BSc Hons Speech and Language Pathology course is a 4-year programme of Personal and Professional Development (PDPP). As a vocational course training students primarily for NHS based careers as Speech and Language Therapists, the course includes 4 modules, one per year, promoting progression from novice (1st year) to advanced (4th year) in terms of the skills and attributes essential for optimum functioning at graduate level and beyond. Uniquely, the PDPP programme dovetails with a 4th year module (Continuing Professional Development - CPD) embedding the programme within a framework of lifelong learning and development.
  • Page:
    The Townhead Homework Club

    The Townhead Homework Club was established in November 2014 by final year BEd students from the School of Education. The homework club runs in the Townhead Village Hall on St Mungo Avenue behind the University Library. The club runs after school every Tuesday and Thursday during term time from October to May. Students from different year groups of the undergraduate Primary Education programme, the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education and Psychology work together to run this club. The overall running of the club is overseen by a final year Primary Education student.

  • Page:
    How to Overcome Barriers to Student Engagement with Work Based Placements To review all undergraduate and postgraduate taught placement and internship activity across the Faculty of Science. To identify the benefits perceived by students who have participated in such activities and align these with existing evidence from industry. To identify the perceived barriers to student engagement from those with non-participation. To create a range of resources that addresses any gaps identified that will empower students to take advantage of opportunities to gain work experience and ultimately assist their transition from university to graduate employment.

    This project was supported by Enhancement Theme funding from QAA Scotland.

    The full report is available at the bottom of the page.

  • Page:
    Transitioning the year abroad – Before / During / After Transitioning the year abroad – Before / During / After” is a student-led project which aims to look into the major transition phase the year abroad represents for language students. By gathering feedback from current students who are either about to go on their year abroad, currently abroad or have just come back from their intercalary year, the team will, firstly, aim to produce a clear picture of the current situation in terms of challenges, support available, and training requirement and, secondly, aim to develop an innovative approach to supporting students in transitioning the year abroad.

    This project was supported by Enhancement Theme funding from the QAA Scotland.

    The full report is available at the bottom of the page.

  • Page:
    Impact of commuting to placement and university for student speech and language therapists: results of a student-led mixed-method investigation. — Although student feedback consistently suggests that travel to placement causes significant strain, the impact on learning and student well-being is under-explored. In this project, student interns with ‘lived experience’ of commuting to placement explored the experiences of student speech and language therapists using a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. Findings indicate that commuting to placement, rather than to university, leads to significantly greater impact on academic work, health and well-being and student finances.

    This project was supported by Enhancement Theme funding from QAA Scotland.

    The full report is available at the bottom of the page.

  • Page:
    Uncovering the boundaries for learning through a Legitimate Peripheral Participation (LPP) and Communities of Practice (COP) lens: A case of civil engineering students in post-summer placement transition through university. — Students returning to university from an industrial summer placement are in transition through two different learning environments. They leave behind a culture where their knowledge construction is undertaken in a collaborative space, guided through mentoring by a community of professional engineers. They are exposed to real-world problems, vocabulary and artefacts that assist them to take on an identity as a civil engineer. On return to university they re-enter a learning space that is largely characterised by competitive learning whereby a different identity is shaped through learning codified knowledge and where academic staff are ‘gatekeepers’ to a curriculum of knowledge that, at its best is simulated rather than real-world. Negotiating the boundaries between these two environments (often on multiple occasions over a 5 year MEng degree) en route to a graduate position is known to be troublesome for students.  Employing a social learning systems approach, particularly the concepts of LPP and COP can provide a lens to understand and improve the transition process for students and faculty.

    This project was supported by Enhancement Theme funding from QAA Scotland

  • Page:
    Internships and placements in the faculty of engineering — This is a two year project of which one year has been completed. The main aims of this project are:
    1. To understand the Engineering Academy student placement/internship experience
    2. Together with the EA students co-develop mechanisms for maximising the benefits of internships
    3. Integrate key learning experiences in to the Engineering Academy student experience.
    4. Investigate and identify key opportunities for transferability across the faculty of engineering and wider university

    Objectives 1&2 will be addressed in 2016, with 3&4 taking  place in 2017.

    The Engineering Academy (EA) at the University of Strathclyde provides a widening access transition route for students from a partner Further Education college into second year of a BEng honours/MEng stream within a range of engineering disciplines across six faculty of engineering departments. The EA is currently unique within the Faculty of Engineering in that all Engineering Academy students are provided with the opportunity to undertake a placement or internship during the summer months.  This proposal will focus, initially, on the Engineering Academy using it as a rich data source surrounding placements and internships as EA students make their transition through and beyond Higher Education. In 2014/15 the first cohort of over 40 EA students undertook a wide range of summer placements and internship opportunities from employers including Allied Vehicles, ABS, Babcock International, Aggreko, Alexander Dennis and Star Refrigeration. By 2017 approximately 70 EA students will be undertaking placements and internships. In 2015 (the first cohort of EA students undertaking placement opportunities) reporting and reflection on learning gained from EA placements was limited. There is a clear opportunity to maximise the learning and benefit from these placement experiences and integrate them as a core part of the student experience both within the Engineering Academy and in a wider university context.

    This project was supported by Enhancement Theme funding from QAA Scotland.

  • Page:
    The Use of Social Media in Mathematics and Statistics We obtained a small grant to employ a couple of students to set up and monitor a Facebook page for new students starting maths based degrees within our department. 
  • Page:
    Industrial Placement Big Buddies-Little Buddies Programme — Twenty-three students (with relevant summer industry experience) from years 2-5 volunteered to take on the role of ‘Big Buddies’ (BB’s) to mentor groups of first year students, Little Buddies (LB’s). Each of the BB’s will meet their group in a formal setting on two occasions during both semesters (during a CL120 Construction & the Environment timetabled class) and facilitated rolling programme of informal meetings and communication through social media will be established.
  • Page:
    A Peer Mentoring System, where 4th Years Mentor 1st Years As part of our revised curriculum we introduced sessions where the final year students mentored the new intake of students in workshops related to the production of a health promotion campaign.
  • Page:
    Using Online Forums: A Tool to Enhance Experimental Engineering Laboratories This case study describes the introduction of online asynchronous forums in experimental engineering laboratory classes, to facilitate discussion and comparison of results from different experiments.
  • Page:
    Introducing a Programme of Report Writing in Undergraduate Engineering Classes. — It was identified that there was no formal approach used to instruct students in report writing within the undergraduate classes of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Classes were identified where guidance could be included. Online lessons were developed to be presented on MyPlace alongside assignments requiring technical reports.

    The basis for the structure of any technical report was standardised to reflect the dissertation guidelines for the Departments 4th Year Individual Project.

    Guidance was given in the following areas:

    • Formatting
    • Writing Style
    • Word Count
    • Headings & Content.
    • Referencing (Sage Vancouver)
    • Figures
    • Plagiarism (links to the Student Guide on Good Academic Practice and the Avoidance of Plagiarism and guidance on Turnitin)
    • Online Submission

    Classes in first, second and third year were identified and online activities concerning specific assignments were developed. An online lesson was also developed to take 4th Year individual project students through the guidance for dissertation and technical paper submission.

    The Faculty librarian, Sally Bell, was involved in discussions.

  • Page:
    First Year HaSS BA Community Placement The first year community placement is part of an Education module available to all BA students in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Students undertake a seventy hour placement with an organisation of their choice working with children and young people 0 – 14 years.  The students’ learning on placement is supported by an on-campus module where lectures and tutorials are designed to explore topics related to placement as well as using the students’ own placement experiences to promote the learning of others. Students gain 20 credits for their participation in this module as well as their ability to maintain a placement file and to write a reflective evaluation of their time on placement.
  • Page:
    Introducing Fresher Civil Engineers to the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) — This case study examines the data (coursework’s and questionnaires) collated from an innovative undergraduate (n=428) assessment (2010-2015). The first-year students were required to select and read six inaugural addresses by former ICE presidents (2 from the 19th century; 2 from the 20th century and 2 from the 21st century) and use these as a catalyst for writing their own ICE student president address (circa 2000 words) whilst keeping an eye towards 2050.

    The coursework required the students to write in first person and to consider the relationship between civil engineering and society. Emphasis was put on looking backwards and forwards to enable the students to speculate on the role of civil engineering in the UK and abroad towards 2050.

    The students who receive the top five grades for their coursework are invited to present (now 2nd year students) an abridged version (10mins each) of their address to the new first-year students during the following academic session. These new fresher students are asked to vote on their preferred candidate to become the Strathclyde ICE Student President. The voters are informed that their selection criteria should be based on (1) confidence in delivery / communication (2) visionary ideas towards 2050 (3) quality of information on the slides used.

    The winner receives a trip to London (sponsored to £300 by an engineering company) to visit the ICE HQ and a prestigious civil engineering project and for the past three years we have also toured landmark Scottish bridges.

  • Page:
    Newspaper Coursework for 1st year Civil Engineering Students
    This paper discusses a coursework initiative that required 1st year civil engineering students (n=162) to undertake regular reading of UK newspapers as a means to find articles that they believed were relevant to their studies. In small groups (4-5) the students were tasked to produce a collage from their newspaper cuttings and a fictitious front page newspaper poster. The results show that ‘on large’ the students found the coursework to be interesting and enjoyable and that it allowed them to demonstrate initiative and creative thinking. Consultation of broadsheet newspapers was most prevalent and 67% agreed/ strongly-agreed that the articles that they found enhanced the image of civil engineering and 82% agreed/ strongly-agreed that weekday newspapers should carry more stories about this industry sector. The results suggest that the initiative can be easily replicated and that it can act as a catalyst to encourage engineering students to become more regular and critical readers of news media throughout their studies.

    Newspaper image by Silke Remmery, Flickr CC-BY-2.0

  • Page:
    Using a Weekly Trade Magazine (New Civil Engineer) for Learning & Assessment.

    This case study presents evidence from an initiative employing a weekly industry magazine - New Civil Engineer (NCE) - as a vehicle for introducing construction technology to first year students (N=153).

    Using one or more hard copy editions of the magazine (from inaugural edition in 1972 onward) available in the university library, and following guidance regarding the definition of construction technology, the students were required to select six technological themes from any section (news, projects, adverts, etc.) of the NCE magazine.

    Students were required to produce six drawings/sketches on either A3 or A4 paper and annotate each sketch and provide further notes indicating evidence of further research (i.e. consultation with text books/scholarly journals/ manufacturer’s websites etc.)

  • No labels