Dr Emily Nordmann, School of Psychology tell us about a project that surveyed undergraduate students about their experience of internal transitions in the University. This project helped to identify the main areas that the students were having difficulties with but also will help in improving the overall students experience in the future.

See also Enhancement Themes

What did you do?

Our project surveyed undergraduate students in level 2,3,4, and 5 about their experience of internal transitions (e.g., moving from level 1 to level 2) to identify the key issues that may cause difficulties in addition to asking current students to provide advice to those in following years. We used a mixed-methods approach and collected both quantitative and qualitative data from 353 students. The final stage of the project is to conduct semi-structured interviews that will take place in the w/c 14th May to supplement the data we already have. Once we have finished data collection we will produce guides to give advice to students that will be available for the 2018-2019 academic year. Additionally, this work will be presented at the Annual HEA conference as a poster in July by Emily Nordmann and we aim to write it up for publication.

Why did you do it?

Internal transitions have received less of a focus than the transition to and from higher education and we wanted to determine whether there were key issues that affect these transitions that would potentially inform retention efforts, as well as reducing anxiety by providing students with subject and level specific guidance.  Additionally, we have collected data from marginalised groups such as mature students and direct-entry students.

Benefits

From the analysis so far we have found that EU students appear to be happier, feel better supported, and report fewer problems than UK students. Given the impact Brexit is likely to have on our EU population this is potentially important data. From the preliminary qualitative analysis we can see that it is the transition between level 2 and level 3 that causes the most problems and therefore we can use this information to target interventions and perhaps better communicate out expectations to students.

As a result of presenting our initial findings at a pedagogical lab meeting (see here https://osf.io/u59d6/wiki/Previous%20Talks/) we have had a number of colleagues from across the institution interested in our work and once the final write-up of guides and the paper is complete we will disseminate widely. We will also provide Heads of School with School specific data so that this can be passed on to relevant members of staff.

Impact

At present, none, however, the guides will be available for the academic year 2018-2019 and in addition to providing Schools with data regarding the issues their students faced when transition between levels we hope that we can reduce anxiety and aid retention.

This page will be updated once the work has been completed.