Wednesday, 8 October 2008

First Year Experience Forum

There was a forum meeting yesterday. it looked at the following areas:

• What are your expectations of 1st Years
• Induction Highs
• Induction Lows
• Induction issues to address

Here are some potted notes with thanks to Becka Currant (edited by me)

Members reflected on the above areas and posted their thoughts to sheets round the room. A summary of the issues and areas identified will soon be available. It was surprising (to me at least) how much of the discussion had an IT component. My own FYE was very different no computers or systems that I can remember. In fact hardly any area of dicussion didn't have an IT compenent.

Experience with the Pre Enrollment Portal– we had issues but whilst it was working it gave us a more positive experience than in previous years. Did it ultimately work? Yes, but when it didn’t it was an issue.

First year that students have had access to IT account prior to arrival. Made a huge difference especially for those depts who needed students to access secure pages prior to arrival. Issues of forgotten passwords and people wanting to change them as quickly as possible. Issues of formula password generation and changes. Access to BlackBoard better than it was a year ago.

BioMed – more problems with BlackBoard than previously (students saying they don’t have access to BlackBoard as students were registered but not enrolled into BlackBoard modules). But the students can get into BlackBoard – the issues are with SAINT and BlackBoard not usernames and passwords.

Should we have automatic registration into BlackBoard for students for their modules? Deadline for enrolments is end of Week 1. Should be able to automatically get onto BlackBoard modules as not much choice in 1st year. Issues are also between BlackBoard and e-vision – students think that if BlackBoard isn’t populated they are not registered but this isn’t the case.

Issues of some students not receiving information on usernames and passwords in advance. Students were contacted by email which was followed up with a paper enrolment pack.

For those working need timetables earlier to help plan their time. Timetables need to be issued earlier than Week 0. Also need to highlight compulsory and optional activities. Online delivery also means that students don’t need to necessarily turn up for all of it. Early information is not accurate so changes have to keep being made. Issues of room changes and lack of information about what is needed where. Data needs to be quality.

Can we deliver Health and Safety information online?

Students want their timetables – can well tell them when they can get it and how?

Knowledge base is being built to answer FAQs. Really useful book will be going online next year as a searchable base of information.

Accommodation issues – less problematic than before and because of PEP and ning provision concerns were addressed more quickly. Again areas can be put into materials to help people understand what will happen.

Issues with Office 2007 – students and staff need help with converting documents. Do we need to tell students what to come to University with? Issues of IT skills and ability. IT Help need to add dates.

Lots of things to think about and work on for the next cycle but a very useful forum and meeting to get these issues debated with staff and students round the table.

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