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AbstractFor the last four years the School of Computing and Information Technology (SCIT) has offered a degree conversion programme from HND to degree, which is becoming increasingly popular, especially with students from local FE colleges. In addition about 15% of the students are recruited from overseas. However, the students on the ‘Top Up’ programme have demonstrated difficulty with the more academic aspects of their course, especially the individual project, which is taken in semester 2. Although the students rarely failed the project, the marks achieved were substantially lower than those they obtained for other modules, in particular modules that were more practically focussed. This was to be expected given the vocational nature of these students’ previous studies. In their first semester of the degree conversion programme, the students take a core module in Professional Aspects of Computing (PAC). As well as introducing them to professional issues associated with work in an IT environment, this module was designed to improve their key and intellectual skills, especially those required to complete the project successfully such as literature search, referencing and critical evaluation. An improvement in the project marks had been recorded in each of the three previous years through increasing emphasis on those skills in the PAC module. Consideration of current educational research about learning styles led the award team to reflect on whether the students’ learning styles could be an underlying issue in their struggling with the more academic aspects of the course. Marton and Saljo (1976) identified two contrasting approaches to learning: deep and surface, subsequently extended to include a third, strategic, approach (Entwistle, 1987). It is accepted, however, that strategic learners may also be either deep or surface learners. A deep approach to learning is believed to correlate with increased academic success. Entwistle (2000) defined a successful student as one who adopts a deep, strategic approach with no surface, apathetic elements. Initially, in this field of research, assessment of student learning style was by means of interview but that was superseded by inventory, ‘Approaches to Studying Inventory, ASI’ (Entwistle and Ramsden, 1983). Refinement of ASI led to the development of ‘ASSIST, Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students’ (Tait et al. 1998).
CitationCELT Learning and Teaching Projects 2001/02
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
DescriptionReport of a CELT project on supporting students through innovation and research