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Article
Publication date: 15 August 2019

Maggie Murphy

This paper aims to explore how collaborative research assignment design consultations between instruction librarians and new graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) have the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore how collaborative research assignment design consultations between instruction librarians and new graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) have the potential to improve the design of research assignments for first-year writing courses.

Design/methodology/approach

The author conducted a small number of questionnaires and structured interviews with first-time GTAs who serve as first-year composition instructors to explore their conceptions about teaching researched writing. Thematic analysis of the results of these qualitative instruments led to the design of a new framework for working with incoming cohorts of GTAs at her institution prior to the start of each fall semester.

Findings

New GTAs often emphasize strict source type parameters in research assignment design and expect their students to engage in expert research behaviors. Emphasizing the assignment design expertise of instruction librarians during new GTA orientation may lead to more assignment design consultations with first-time college writing instructors. Collaborative assignment design consultations between librarians and GTAs can improve the alignment of research assignment parameters with their shared goals for students' research and writing skills and habits of mind, including seeing research and writing as iterative and inquiry-based processes.

Research limitations/implications

While not every instruction librarian works with GTAs, working with instructors to collaboratively design research assignments that shift focus away from using specific search tools and locating particular types of sources opens possibilities for what librarians are able to achieve in one-shot instruction sessions, in terms of both lesson content and pedagogical strategies used.

Originality/value

The existing literature on first-year writing addressing faculty and librarian assignment design collaborations, and research assignments more generally, does not often explicitly examine the experiences of librarians who primarily work with GTAs. This paper adds to this literature by highlighting specific obstacles and unique opportunities in librarian–GTA teaching partnerships in first-year writing courses.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 47 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 February 2018

Bothaina A. Al-Sheeb, Mahmoud Samir Abdulwahed and Abdel Magid Hamouda

This study intends to add to the existing body of literature on the impact of a newly implemented first year seminar in the College of Law and Business. The purpose of…

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6876

Abstract

Purpose

This study intends to add to the existing body of literature on the impact of a newly implemented first year seminar in the College of Law and Business. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effects the course have on students in regard to three aspects: student awareness and utilization of resources, interaction patterns, as well as, general interests and attitudes toward higher education.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology of the assessment included analysis of a survey that has been conducted by the end of Spring 2014 semester. A quasi-experimental design was implemented to measure the impact of the intervention on students’ awareness and utilization of resources, interactions, general interests, and attitudes toward higher education. Through the SPSS application, the Mann Whitney U Test, and χ2 tests were used to check for significant differences while comparing the means or frequencies for both groups. For the three questions, the authors have used the 90 percent confidence level and the standard significance level p-value of 0.05 or less for statistical analysis.

Findings

The results indicated that the course had a highly significant positive impact on student attitudes and awareness of campus resources but had less significant impact on student interactions and utilization of resources. The results in this study reveal a positive impact for the first-year seminar course on student satisfaction and attitudes toward higher education as well as their awareness of campus resources. However, in terms of the course impact on student interaction, results conveyed that students who have participated in the first-year seminar course show a slightly better interaction rate with instructors, academic advisors, and close friends than those in the control group.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation of this study was that the sample was small. Nonetheless, it has provided valuable insights into the understanding of the social and academic impact of first-year seminars on student engagement; through the use of comparison groups, this study increased the validity of prior research.

Practical implications

The first-year seminar course evaluated in this study demonstrated the potential to support and enhance student social and academic engagement during the first year of college. Based on the results in this study, the study team recommended some revisions to the current first-year seminar model (UNIV P100 Skills for University Success). The team proposed three models for subsequent first-year seminars at this university.

Originality/value

This study adds to the existing literature by examining the impact of a newly implemented first-year seminar course at the College of Law and Business at this university on both academic and non-academic aspects from the students’ perspective. These aspects were selected as retention and GPA effects have been widely explored; therefore, the focus is on the less studied emotional and social factors associated with student success and retention. The results from this study can act as a guide for universities intending to introduce a first-year seminar course as it gives clear guidelines on design, content, and course implementation, which can be useful in enhancing general student motivation and attitudes toward academic study and higher education in general.

Details

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-7003

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Article
Publication date: 9 October 2017

Dana-Kristin Mah and Dirk Ifenthaler

The purpose of this paper is to examine the expectations, perceptions and role understanding of academic staff using a model of academic competencies (i.e. time…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the expectations, perceptions and role understanding of academic staff using a model of academic competencies (i.e. time management, learning skills, technology proficiency, self-monitoring and research skills).

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten members of academic staff at a German university. Participants’ responses to the open-ended questions were coded inductively, while responses concerning the proposed model of academic competencies were coded deductively using a priori categories.

Findings

Participating academic staff expected first-year students to be most competent in time management and in learning skills; they perceived students’ technology proficiency to be rather high but their research skills as low. Interviews indicated a mismatch between academic staff expectations and perceptions.

Practical implications

These findings may enable universities to provide support services for first-year students to help them to adjust to the demands of higher education. They may also serve as a platform to discuss how academic staff can support students to develop the required academic competencies, as well as a broader conversation about higher education pedagogy and competency assessment.

Originality/value

Little research has investigated the perspectives of academic staff concerning the academic competencies they expect of first-year students. Understanding their perspectives is crucial for improving the quality of institutions; their input into the design of effective support services is essential, as is a constructive dialogue to identify strategies to enhance student retention.

Details

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-7003

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Article
Publication date: 17 June 2013

Jana Lay-Hwa Bowden

Increasingly, higher education institutions are being held to account for the performance of their students internally in terms of academic performance and timely program…

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1368

Abstract

Purpose

Increasingly, higher education institutions are being held to account for the performance of their students internally in terms of academic performance and timely program completion, as well as externally through job placement. This challenge is compounded by a range of additional factors including fluctuating, international economic conditions, an increasingly globalised, competitive environment, widespread provision of online qualifications, and high student drop-out rates. There is a pressing need therefore to understand the factors which contribute to positive perceptions of institutional services and the way in which these drive student retention, especially within the first year experience. This research aims to explore the role of affective commitment in students' perceived satisfaction within the student-university relationship and the effect of this on retention in an Australian tertiary context.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative approach was adopted using four focus groups and eight in-depth interviews with first year undergraduate students enrolled at a large metropolitan Australian university. In addition, an online expert forum was used to obtain qualitative verbatim from 22 internationally-based faculty educators.

Findings

The results of this study suggest that the development of deeply entrenched emotional bonds with students is important in facilitating high levels of satisfaction during the first year experience. In addition, a sense of belonging was perceived by faculty as being the primary mechanism for ensuring the retention of students beyond the first year of enrolment.

Practical implications

From a managerial perspective, uncovering the nature of student-institution relationships and the importance of affective forms of commitment will enable higher education institutions to develop more targeted relationship marketing programs to increase student retention.

Originality/value

In a unique contribution, this research examines this issue from the perspective of first year students, as well as from an international faculty perspective, enabling a multi-dimensional comparison to be drawn between the perceptions of the student, and the service provider.

Details

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-5855

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2010

Bryant L. Hutson

This study describes the evaluation of a first‐year experience course which emphasised the “appreciative advising” theoretical model – a strength‐based, relational…

Abstract

This study describes the evaluation of a first‐year experience course which emphasised the “appreciative advising” theoretical model – a strength‐based, relational approach to student development that aims to enhance students’ self‐efficacy and academic self‐perception. In order to measure the effectiveness of the course and its impact on student academic achievement, an outcome‐based evaluation was conducted. The evaluation focused on the impact of the course on students’ attitudes and perceptions towards their academic ability, their actual academic achievement and student retention. Using a number of comprehensive measures, including the tracking of academic outcomes, and assessment of students’ attitudes and behaviours, the evaluation evidenced the positive impact of the course.

Details

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-7003

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Article
Publication date: 17 July 2019

Dana-Kristin Mah and Dirk Ifenthaler

The purpose of this paper is to analyse data on first-year students’ needs regarding academic support services and reasons for their intention to leave the institution…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse data on first-year students’ needs regarding academic support services and reasons for their intention to leave the institution prior to degree completion. On the basis of the findings, a digital badge outline is proposed which could contribute to improved communication of academic requirements in order to help students to better adapt to higher education demands. Digital badges might also serve as an indicator for students’ needing additional academic support services.

Design/methodology/approach

An online-questionnaire was conducted with 730 first-year students at a German university. Participants’ responses to open-ended questions were coded and categorised. On the basis on these findings, an outline for a digital badge programme is proposed.

Findings

Participants seek the most institutional support regarding research skills and organisational aspects. Main reasons for participants’ intention to withdraw from the institution include difficulties with their programme choice.

Practical implications

These findings may enable higher education institutions to provide targeted support services that meet first-year students’ needs. On the basis of the findings, higher education institutions can create digital badge programmes, which may improve communication of academic requirements and may also serve as a platform for a staff-student conversation about expectations and demands for a successful first-year experience. Besides, further research and discussion may address using digital badges for learning analytics algorithms to even better identify students’ strengths and needs for targeted academic support services and enhanced student success in higher education.

Originality/value

Little is known about first-year students’ needs for institutional support and reasons for thinking about dropout in Germany. Understanding the student perspective is crucial for enhancing student retention. Digital badges are an emerging educational technology in higher education and they have the potential to target academic requirements, which may guide first-year students and help them to better adjust to universities’ demands.

Details

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-7003

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2005

Joanne E. Callinan

To understand what differences exist between first year biology and final year biochemistry students in University College Dublin so that measures can be taken to address…

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6665

Abstract

Purpose

To understand what differences exist between first year biology and final year biochemistry students in University College Dublin so that measures can be taken to address those needs. It examines student's awareness and use of different sources of information for their course‐work, their use of the (E‐) library, why they visited the university library, the type of assistance they had received in using the library as well as the type of instruction they would like to receive in the future.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire was designed and administered to both sample groups to investigate the information‐seeking behaviour of these students in different years of their studies.

Findings

The study highlights the positive aspects of seeking information from the student's perspective as well as the barriers they encountered when seeking course‐related information. The findings show that there are differences in the extent to which sources of information are used by students in different years of their studies. Apart from web sites and web‐based lecture notes, lack of awareness is the primary reason why undergraduate biology students did not use the library's electronic databases.

Research limitations/implications

The study does not distinguish between third and fourth year students in the final year sample.

Practical implications

One of the key recommendations is that bibliographic instruction should meet the specific information needs of first year biology and final year biochemistry students as well as greater liaison between faculty and librarians in the area of collection development and information literacy.

Originality/value

This paper establishes the importance of a cross‐sectional study in understanding the difference in students' information needs in different years of their studies.

Details

Library Review, vol. 54 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

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Article
Publication date: 15 August 2008

Ursula Trescases

The aims of this paper is to provide an overview on information literacy/library programs for first‐year students in Canadian universities and colleges.

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1188

Abstract

Purpose

The aims of this paper is to provide an overview on information literacy/library programs for first‐year students in Canadian universities and colleges.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper introduces and discusses periodical articles, monographs and up‐to‐date research on the subject. It presents anecdotal evidence gained from web site searches of 169 Canadian post‐secondary institutions complemented by personal communications from library and student services staff.

Findings

The study provides information about several types of library services for first‐year students currently in use in Canadian academic libraries.

Originality/value

There is no evidence of research in the area of library services for first‐year college and university students in Canada. This paper complements research on information literacy/library programs offered through academic libraries in other countries by focusing solely on first‐year student initiatives in Canadian academic libraries.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 36 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 27 August 2021

Jamie Klapp and Nicole C. Bouvier-Brown

This study aims to analyze undergraduate science majors’ perceptions of climate change.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to analyze undergraduate science majors’ perceptions of climate change.

Design/methodology/approach

Three science major student cohorts at Loyola Marymount University – first-year exposure (first-years taking a course related to climate science), first-year control (first-years taking a course unrelated to climate science) and non-first-year exposure (non-first-years interested in climate science taking a related course) – were given a climate literacy survey at the beginning and end of each course. Student perceptions were also compared with national and local data.

Findings

First-year students exposed to the topic showed increased awareness of climate change, trust in climate scientists and acknowledgment of the scientific consensus. Exposure also increased the non-first-year cohort’s awareness that global warming is already affecting the country. All three cohorts showed greater awareness of humanity’s role in causing climate change than the public. However, misconceptions regarding technical concepts persisted throughout.

Research limitations/implications

This was a single-institution study in Los Angeles with a limited sample. Exposure to specific topics varied between cohorts, depending on the learning outcomes of each course.

Originality/value

Undergraduate science majors have a greater understanding of climate change’s anthropogenic nature compared with local and national populations. First-year students have a lower initial understanding of climate change and less trust in climate scientists than non-first-year students interested in the topic. All science majors can improve their understanding of general concepts and strengthen their confidence in scientists by taking a relevant course. Students struggle to learn specific technical concepts, but can improve their short-term comprehension through studying.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Book part
Publication date: 28 June 2011

Kerri-Lee D. Krause

This chapter explores strategies for engaging students in the first year of university study. It draws on a national study of the first year experience in Australia and…

Abstract

This chapter explores strategies for engaging students in the first year of university study. It draws on a national study of the first year experience in Australia and proposes a model of student engagement, highlighting the multi-faceted nature of the construct. A holistic student life cycle approach to student engagement is proposed as the basis for transforming learning experiences in the first year of university study. This approach includes consideration of the role played by pre-arrival engagement opportunities, the importance of engagement with institutional cultures, practices and communities, along with engagement with disciplinary contexts and cultures. A whole-of-institution approach to student engagement is argued, along with the importance of focussing on shared responsibilities for learning.

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