Posted by Andrew Dunn on 3 December, 2014
On 27th November I attended a meeting in York about student-generated induction. The session covered university induction as a whole rather than just library induction.
It was stated that we can improve retention through good induction. We need to instill a strong sense of belonging – to the institution, faculty, department and class – to avoid people feeling isolated and giving up.
The thrust of the student-generated induction method is to split your students into groups: they discuss amongst themselves what it is they want to know, they tell us their concerns and we address them. It is believed that this leads to more questions being asked and more relevant questions being asked. Students lose their inhibitions in asking questions if they hear other students have the same concerns – they are not firghtened to ask for clarification when they know other people are confused on the same issue. At the same time the students are being socialised – are developing a sense of identity with the group of people they are working with.
The presenter had used student-generated inductions with voting handsets. He asked the students their concerns, put them on a PowerPoint slide and asked the students to vote for their major concern. He used the same slide with the same group in the 2nd year to see how concerns changed over time. He used the same slide with a group of 1st years the next year to see how concerns changed from year to year.
Other useful comments amde during the day were:
- inductions should not only be run at the start of the 1st year: interventions at other transition stages are important
- embedding induction-type information into the curriuclum is the better than information overload at the beginning of a course (we know this already)
- new students react well to students doing inductions or library tours. Some universities employ student helpers (on more than minimum wage so it is a better job than working in a bar/shop) to help in inductions and other workshops. They say new students are more willing to interact with student helpers and ask them more questions than they would a member of staff.
The Twitter feed for the day is available at #sgiyork14. I was the only one twittering, so it won’t take long to read if you are interested.