HELLO ALT-C abstracts

FE to HE Transition: can online peer support aid and ease this phase?

HE Net is a JISC funded, collaborative research project between FE (Further Education) and HE (Higher Education) sectors. This forms part of the Benefits Realisation strand, which forms part of the HELLO Project (Higher Education Lifelong Learning Opportunities).

In 2008 653 students were successful in securing places in Higher Education. Student choice of institution showed that in excess of 250 went on to their local HEI. More students are moving from the FE sector after completing a Foundation Degree to HE to “top up”, often joining a third year, well established, larger group of students. The project investigates whether or not linking these FE students to existing, peer mentors at the HEI will aid and ease any anxieties about the transition.

The HELLO Project uses Mahara as the “social network” element of the project. This area is an organically grown, student-led space and is additional to the Moodle TEL (Technology Enhanced Learning) Environment which is curriculum based and tutor-led. It is on this “social network” that the FE students can find a virtual, online peer where they can post questions and get responses. Peers from the University are subject related or “generic”.

We wish to present a short, oral paper on the key findings from the HE Net project. Focusing on cross intuitional issues where historical differences were found to impact on the students’ experiences. Technical issues were recorded in relation to hosting and managing external stakeholder access to data and systems. The suitability of participants was analysed with respect to who makes the most effective mentor? Is it a “traditional” or “non traditional” learner? What was the overall learner experience with regards to the project? By sharing key points of how to realise the benefits of this model across other institutions will open up discussion and debate amongst the audience regarding further roll out of this initiative.

The HELLO Project – using social networks to aid retention and progression

The HELLO (Higher Education Lifelong Learning Opportunities) Project is funded by JISC through its Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development strand. The project, which started in April 2009 and ends in September 2010, is investigating the impact of using a social networking site on the learning experiences of 200 students studying on part time and full time HNC, HND and Foundation Degree courses – including their retention and progression. The demonstration will show how the HELLO Project has built upon the earlier JISC-funded WoLF (Work Based Learning in Further Education) Project – a project established to address the need of a group of non-traditional work based learners to access learning outside of the classroom. It will also show how recent Learning Skills Council (LSC) accommodation projects have resulted in Leicester College experiencing a reduction of 65% in the students’ social space with an adverse impact on their ability to meet and collaborate with their peers. What is more, the college’s growing numbers of Foundation Degree, HNC and HND learners have expressed the view that they would like the opportunity to establish a distinctive ‘HE identity’ within what is predominantly an FE learning environment. The HELLO Project is seeking to address these needs by capitalizing on the potential offered by new technology, and is exploring ways in which it can promote cultural change within the college through the use of that technology to enhance the learning experiences of its students. The demonstration will show how: the social networks have been developed, including a Higher Education Student Community Site, with the potential of bringing together 800 staff and students in one online space; curriculum-led learning spaces have been developed using Moodle; and, a student-driven social network has been established using Mahara, which also has links with external stakeholders such as employers and other HEI. Finally, key findings from the on-going evaluation of the HELLO Project will be shared focusing on the project’s impact on staff and students.

2 Responses to “HELLO ALT-C abstracts”

  1. [...] will both be featured at the conference in September. The abstracts can be found (here) and for more details about these and the project, contact Lucy Stone at [...]

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bown. Mark Bown said: HELLO ALT-C abstracts « SSBR Newsletter: Student choice of institution showed that in excess of 250 went on to the… http://bit.ly/cERNKW [...]

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