Supporting diverse learners in their transition to higher education

Irene Glendinning

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Extensive research throughout the UK and elsewhere in the world has revealed that higher education students from certain black and minority ethnic (BME) communities are less likely to graduate, and those who do graduate achieve lower grades than other students entering university with equivalent qualifications. There are, however, other categories of students (such as white British working class males and some international students) where the retention and attainment profiles can be similar.

    In common with many other UK universities, for some time there have been concerns about the relatively high attrition rate in some subject areas at Coventry University, which has a very diverse student population with a relatively high number of students within the identified at-risk categories. With this in mind, staff across the university have been actively seeking ways to more effectively support all students before and after their arrival to ensure that they integrate within the learning community, remain on course and achieve their full educational potential.

    This paper describes one of these initiatives: to support students before their arrival on courses in the Faculty of Engineering and Computing. What distinguishes this from initiatives at other institutions is that central to this development is a website designed, created and operated by faculty students employed part time as student advocates in the faculty’s Student Experience Enhancement Unit.

    The paper describes the difficulties encountered in creating and implementing the website and how these were resolved, with particular focus on the student led approach to development. Evidence is provided to support the effectiveness of the intervention within the wider context of the faculty’s implementation of activity led learning. Plans are presented for ongoing developments, enhancements and related resources.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4-12
    JournalEngineering Education
    Volume6
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Keywords

    • student retention
    • higher education

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