Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Induction process meeting

Willy and I attended a helpful meeting about induction processes today, convened by Ana Symington of LeTS under the auspices of the Internationalisation project. The meeting brought together people interested in induction from across the university, and there was a strong continuity from previous groups that have explored this issue. The particular points that I remember being of possible relevance to TASH included:
  • Induction is a process not a period, and it is best thought of as a long and rich process, rather than trying to cram everything into the first week. (Speaking personally, one of the most revealing meetings I've ever attended was a Union of Students one about induction week social activities. In all seriousness, with the range of social activities open to students, it's no surprise that academic study is a long way down their agendas).
  • There's a need to be aware of peer group messages - the general perception is that L1 doesn't count per se, not just that it doesn't count towards the final degree. TASH is attempting to intervene on this cultural level, so one of the many reasons to get students involved ASAP is to develop sensitivity to these kinds of messages.
  • Timeliness of information is a key issue, with the suggestion, for example, that information about plagiarism and referencing is held off until the first assessment point. The reminder structure we've previously discussed could work here, and it'd be really nice if we could fit into the design of TASH some sort of calendar or link to relevant events.
  • One facet for the academic writing category is "Communication with staff", although this needs to be done sensitively, as clearly some academics care more than others, and the pedagogical / professional, rather than the personal, are clearly the strongest grounds for argument.
The group may well meet again, and future discussions will be recorded here and doubtless via other LeTS outlets as well. TASH clearly has a role to play in this "long induction process" model, and it was welcome to see the enthusiasm and awareness of all participants in the meeting for TASH, and their willingness to ensure it is directly considered in future discussions.

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