Issues around transition to university have been widely discussed, with the recent pandemic highlighting issues such as students’ lack of confidence in engaging in higher education and lack of knowledge around some of the expectations and skills required (Morgan, 2020), but one aspect which has been somewhat under researched is the link between academic skills required by 6th form students and stage 1 undergraduate students (Baker, 2016)). The Bridging the Gap project is a collaboration between students, the Academic Skills team and the Education Outreach team at Newcastle University. Our project co-created accessible, engaging, interactive resources based on feedback from both 6th form students and UG students with the student voice at the heart of the project. We worked with paid interns to not only use the information gathered from focus groups to inform resource development but also to consider how our message was communicated to students. To date several resources have been developed around topics such as time management and evaluation of sources. Although still in the development phase, the project team have been able to gather some formative feedback from UG students, 6th form students as well as teachers and academics. Further, the impact of the project has been highlighted by gaining additional funding for a two-year project coordinator.
This session will outline what we’ve learned about working collaboratively with students to provide resources to help develop core academic and research skills to build confidence and support the transition from secondary to HE. We will highlight the project phases, how we were able to work collaboratively and how we were able to ensure that the student input and evaluation were central to the project in order to provide a good practice framework.
Hosts: Liv Jonassen (Academic Skills Team Manager, University of Newcastle)
Baker, S. (2018) ‘Shifts in the treatment of knowledge in academic reading and writing: Adding complexity to students’ transitions between A-levels and university in the UK’, Arts and Humanities in Higher Education. 17 (4) pp. 388-409.
Morgan, M. (2020) An exceptional transition to higher education: induction of new and returning students during the new normal year. Advance HE report. Available at: https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/exceptional-transition-higher-education-induction-new-and-returning-students-during (Accessed: 17 February 2023).