Getting the Message: supporting students’ transition from Higher National to degree level study and the role of mobile technologies

August 17, 2012


We had an Abstract: In this paper, we explore roles that mobile technologies can play in supporting students transition to second and third year of university degree study, specifically along articulation routes from completing a Higher National Certific ate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND) at college. Articulating students face particular challenges associated with, typically, adjusting to the demands of moving up a level in their academic studies, acclimatising to an unfamiliar academic culture, and integrating into an existing cohort of students. Message of Support, a project funded by the Edinburgh, Lothians, Fife and Borders Regional Articulation Hub (ELRAH), developed a range of SMS, podcasts, and DVD resources, drawing on the voice and experience of existing students, in order to support new students and staff in their respective parts in the articulation journey. Through a process of action research, it was found that such resources can aid the transition process by offering timely con tact, reassurance, and information to students as well as valuable development materials for staff. Responses to the challenges of using mobile technologies as support mechanisms for articulating students were identified. Additionally, other areas of transitional support provision outwith tertiary education were identified. The Message of Support project is sharing lessons learned and helping to inform good practice in this context.Interpersonal Relationships course, a large class, around fifty students, working collaboratively in groups where students from different degrees, academic years, and ages, most of them deaf, tried, and to some extent were able, to communicate. We analyze this example of how diversity can be an asset and how learning management systems can act as mediators to overcome the challenges of diversity and the barriers of emotional isolation. We were carrying out a participatory action research project, within a blended learning environment supported by Moodle, to develop collaborative and personal pedagogical strategies to improve the inclusion and engagement of higher education students in their own learning and evaluation. We were using content analysis of the online discussions held by the students, of the reflective descriptions of the classes, of the students e‑portfolios, and of the interviews with the students. The paper describes how, in the context of this project, we have discovered that a learning management systems can be a powerful mediator in promoting the inclusion of deaf students and in establishing emotional bridges across gaps that face‑to‑face environments are sometimes unable to span.
The Electronic Journal of e-Learning
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