Creating a more positive experience for first year engineering students

O'Sullivan, C. and Cooper, R. and Cranley, F. and Robinson, P. (2006) Creating a more positive experience for first year engineering students. [Conference Proceedings]

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In this paper the response of a School of Engineering to the challenge of creating a positive first year experience for a diverse profile of students is considered. To meet this challenge since 2003, the School has implemented a strategic approach, which seeks to identify early any engineering student who may be having difficulty adjusting to their first year of study and then promptly provides the appropriate cognitive and affective supports. In this paper the operation of the unit established to oversee this approach is outlined and the software tools, orientation activities, mentoring programme, learning styles inventory that were developed are described. The effectiveness of such an approach is examined using data from the academic years 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 regarding usage of the unit, and the performance of the students. For example, in the first year of operation of the unit the percentage of first year students across the School retained rose from an average 60% prior to 2003 to 67% in the academic year 2003-2004 even though the proportion of the student cohort with lower prior educational achievements also increased. Finally the initial impact of the unit in prompting the necessary substantive, lasting changes in institutional culture regarding the experience of first year students is considered in light of the decision to extend the scheme to the first year students in other schools within the Institute.

Item Type: Conference Proceedings
Additional Information: Conference code: 94844; Export Date: 23 February 2015; Correspondence Address: O'Sullivan, C.; Institute of Technology Tallaght, Dublin, Ireland; References: Flanagan, R., Morgan, M., Kellaghan, T., A study of non-completion in institute of technology courses (2000) Report to Council of Directors, Institutes of Technology; Eivers, E., Flanagan, R., Morgan, M., Non-completion in institutes of technology: An investigation of preparation, attitudes and behaviour among first year student (2002) Report to Council of Directors, Institutes of Technology; (2006),, accessed online 29th JanuaryO'sullivan, C., Cooper, R., Robinson, P., Coman, P., (2004) Proceedings of Engineering Educ. Conference, 2, pp. 111-116; Tinto, V., (1993) Leaving College: Rethinking the Causes and Cures of Student Attrition, , (2nd Ed.) Uni of Chicago Press; Levitz, R., Lee, N., Richter, B.J., (1999) New Directions for Higher Ed., 108, pp. 31-49; Mathews, N., Mulkeen, S., (2003) A Study of Student Retention: UCD Entrants 1999-2001, , University College Dublin; Dodgson, R., Bolam, R., (2002) Student Retention, Support and Widening Participation in the North East of England, , Regional Widening Participation Project, Universities of the N.E; Croft, A.C., (2000) Int. J. Math. Educ. Sci. Technol., 31 (3), pp. 431-446; Costello, F., Russell, M., (2003) Numerical Skills and Retention Rates among First Year Students in the Faculty of Engineering, , Student Retention Office Dublin Institute of Technology; Robinson, P., O'sullivan, C., Marjoram, M., Taylor, C., (2004) Proc of Engineering Education Conference 2004, 2, pp. 189-194; Felder, R.M., Silverman, L.K., (1988) J. Eng. Ed, 78 (7), pp. 674-681; Cranley, F., O'sullivan, C., (2005) Proc of IMC-22, pp. 327-338; Beggs, B.J., Smith, E.M., (2004) Proc of Engineering Educ Conf. 2004, 2, pp. 79-82; Beggs, B.J., Smith, E.M., Robinson, A., Middleton, W., Personal development planning for student retention and progression in engineering (2003) Guidebook for PROGRESS Project; O'connell, B., O'cinneide, B., (2005) Proc of Int. Conf. on Eng. Educ. (ICEE2005), 2, pp. 362-369
Uncontrolled Keywords: First year; First year students; First-year engineering; First-year experience; Learning styles inventories; School of engineering; Engineering education; Students
Depositing User: National Forum
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2015 08:54
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2015 19:38

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