First year support strategies
For the first-year students in the study, [blended learning] approaches showed clear signs of positively affecting the quality of interaction. By integrating activities online and offline, the synergies produced learning in ways that were coherent and progressive. (Rix 2011, p 431)
This site aims to stimulate ideas for developing and delivering first-year topics that are underpinned by tried and tested good practice principles for teaching first-year undergraduate students (based on the work of Chickering & Gamson; Devlin et al; Kift and King et al). When teaching first-year students, it is important to provide more examples (and other scaffolding strategies) than you might with other students. This site models that approach by providing many examples that you can choose from for your topic/s.
By exploring this site you will:
- gain insight into the various needs of first-year students
- learn strategies to support diverse student cohorts
- discover a range of adaptable tools and activities.
How this site works
This site explores face-to-face strategies and fully online strategies in consecutive modules. The site is designed so that these strategies complement each other while demonstrating the need to consider how each learning environment works differently. At Flinders University, even if your topic is completely face-to-face (internal), a FLO (Flinders Learning Online) presence is required (for lecture upload, announcements, assignment submission etc). The online strategies modules explore possibilities beyond these basic requirements, featuring activities and resources that enrich the first-year student experience.
This site follows a pre-semester, then week-by-week pattern, presenting material as you might to students. You can move through it sequentially using resources and ideas you come across. You can also look for specific information within the site by first ensuring all the modules are open (click on the 'Open all' arrow at the top of the module block first) then using the Ctrl+F keys to 'find' relevant words (eg 'group work', 'assessment', 'scaffold'). External links open in a new tab.
This site and the mock topic
The First year mock topic shows how a first year topic might adopt these strategies, and is a complement to this site. If you would like to use any of these ideas, resources or activities in your Flinders topic site/s, you are welcome to copy/modify them (ask your eLearning support team for help). Please refer to the Support resources module for key documents informing this and the mock topic sites.