Ways of improving the experience of first year undergraduate students at university is a topic of discussion and research at universities across the globe. A number of issues that academic staff need to be aware of when they teach first year students have been identified as a result of these discussions and research. These include:
• increasing student numbers, diversity of backgrounds and the range of experience that students have when they enter university
• a conflict of expectations between university staff and first year students regarding knowledge students bring to university
• a conflict of understanding what university life is like and the support students believe they will receive from staff
• that the first year experience can have a significant impact on academic success, perseverance and student retention
• students often finding first year confusing and isolating until they have learned to manage and navigate their way through the challenging new learning environment posed by university.
At Flinders University staff from the Centre for University Teaching (CUT) have developed the Inspiring Achievement in First Year University students website. The site provides a wealth of information to staff regarding various aspects of the first year experience.
A range of resources including the Factsheet: First year curriculum design and the Transition pedagogy (PDF 128KB) and a supporting vodcast based on the comprehensive study conducted by Australian Learning and Teaching Council (now Office for Learning and Teaching) Senior Fellow Professor Sally Kift.