A key feature of Induction is a focus on the start of each Student’s academic journey on their chosen programme. So, as part of the induction week all programmes will include an academic project woven into the timetable of other school and university activities, and forming the academic back-bone for the induction week. The academic project aligns with the threshold expectations for Level 4 induction, which provide clear guidance about the desired outcomes of the induction process, without seeking to constrain the creativity of teams to achieve these in the most appropriate way for their context. Projects can be used flexibly with other activities at programme or School level to allow you to offer the most inclusive and engaging programme.
Whilst the term “project” is used to describe the induction activity, this term can be applied loosely to accommodate a wide range of academically focused practices, and several examples from a range of subject disciplines are provided below.
There are some key features that all project activities should seek to achieve: the project activity should:
Be collaborative, allowing students to work in small groups and have an opportunity to meet and engage with other members of their cohort.
Be programme-related, introducing students to key knowledge, skills, concepts and practices that will be important to their first year study.
Stretch and challenge students and capture their interest, but not so much so that they present barriers to achievement.
Help familiarise students with the key services, systems, processes and places that will facilitate their success during the first few weeks on the programme.
Lead to the creation of a meaningful end product, which can be presented in a variety of ways.
Include formative feedback given at the end of the activity, which might be generic, from tutors and/or peers, which will encourage student reflection on their learning.
Be structured such that it requires learner engagement on at least two days, and is supported by academic colleagues in all time-tabled sessions.
Students are placed into groups of 4 -6 on day one of induction week. Allotted time slots are scheduled early in induction week for students to work in groups to discuss and create a poster (e.g. using PowerPoint) about “What makes a successful student on this programme?”
On Friday morning (before a lunchtime social event) time is set aside for groups to return to their posters and make any additions or alterations to the group posters, in the light of their experiences during the induction week.
Groups then share their posters and discuss changes they have made: in the feedback phase lecturers then point out how these alterations or additions are evidence that students have developed due to attending the induction sessions, showing the value of attendance and participation.
During the interview stage applicants complete a short questionnaire which features open questions relating to the subject and to applicants' personal motivations, inspiration and opinions. One question asks applicants to 'define [name of programme subject] for the 21st century'. The programme team collate responses to this question to be used as the starting point and content for the group project.
On induction day one learners are placed in groups of 5-6 by the facilitators after an initial ice breaker. For the project the participants are asked to produce a short group publication (a “zine”) that captures their thoughts on the subject at the very start of their course.
Academic staff and teaching assistants/demonstrators lead sessions that detail the brief, list the aims and requirements, introduce learners to key resources (workshops, the library, IT, photocopiers) and to basic professional practice (including Health and Safety).
Group activities are facilitated by a mixture of the programme team so that the learners become acquainted with their tutors as well as creating group cohesion and commitment. The project ends with a pop-up exhibition of the zines where peers are encouraged to evaluate each other's work using a pre-prepared formative feedback sheet. This sheet introduces the learners to key words used on the course to critique work.
These zines are then used again in subsequent skills workshops after induction, improving and expanding upon the resultant themes and content.
Students are put into groups of 4-5 before a visit to the Salford Museum & Art Gallery exhibit Lark Hill Place, (A creation of a Victorian Street using facades from period buildings demolished in Salford in the 1950s). During the site visit groups look at the exhibits, and take photographs of interesting or significant features (e.g. any areas of disrepair).
The groups return to the induction base-room and use laptops/PCs there to prepare a group presentation, with academic staff on hand to advice and support. Each group later presents their photograph presentation. There is a prize for the group who identify the most different types of disrepair.
This is interactive, facilitates group work, is central to the vocational heart of the discipline and allows fun, an element of competition as well as use of IT.
These activities are interactive, facilitate group work, are central to the vocational heart of the discipline and allows fun, an element of competition and use of vocational technology.
Example 1 – Measurement Race.
Students are put into groups of 4 and are issued with 30m tapes, 8m steel tapes and one group at a time uses the 3D laser measure. The groups work together to measure a specified room or area, (eg the induction base room). The groups report on the speed of manual v electronic, and the accuracy of manual v electronic.
Example 2 – Taster session using professional technologies
Students go to the materials lab for a taster session to run some crushing and breaking materials tests. If unavailable, smaller but no less valid tests can be done using equipment brought to the induction room (Porosity, moisture content, deflection, etc.). Students work in groups and write a collaborative report. After both sessions, groups share their reports and there is an opportunity for peer and tutor feedback.
L4 students first meet in groups with their personal tutor who goes over induction week activity, the student handbook, Blackboard, and key dates. They are also given the date of their next group meeting and drop in times within the rest of the week when the tutor is available to see people individually. In week 1 the personal tutor takes the students to University House and introduces them to the different services. L4 students engage in a number of group projects in induction week. Firstly there is a “company meeting”, where students from all levels come together, and final year students run a workshop for the other levels. This has all levels collaborating together in groups to prepare a short piece of work.
The resultant work is then shown to the other groups and feedback is given from the academic team as well as from peers. Here we also introduce methods for constructive feedback. It is possible to incorporate into this a masterclass from our artist in residence who speaks about what they are working on that year and how students can get involved, also a workshop led by our alumni company in residence focusing on the work they will making that year, they will also speak about their work and experiences on leaving.
Students are put into small groups (3-4). For the first data collection activity they are provided with a list of 10-12 set questions which are based on upon well-known myths and misconceptions about the area of study as well as probe questions (i.e. key questions that will be directly dealt with on L4 modules). A few questions about skills and aspirations may also be included (e.g. ‘what skill(s) are you mostly looking forward to gaining from your University experience?”).
The students go out on campus in their groups and informally gather as many responses as possible, by surveying people on campus, also as a “treasure hunt”, where the students find and collect information placed at various key locations around campus.
Later students take part in the findings, presentation and discussion activities. Student groups prepare and present their findings, followed by an open-end discussion with peers and lecturers. There are two alternative forms of presentation: either students informally present their findings verbally as groups (however, this may be rather overwhelming for some newcomers); alternatively students use a PADLET wall, where the students only have to input their findings on to the online PADLET wall.
Students are put into small groups and are given a task brief consisting of a given word and photograph (provided in a sealed envelope). Students work in groups on campus and respond by taking a series of photographs. The origin and intended context of the original image is only revealed until after the project is complete. Students should attempt to communicate their given word, and their given image should feature somewhere in their photographic series.
The task is not necessarily about ‘nice’ pictures, it is about communication. Students will print their edited series in the print room facilities and present the results to the other groups. The objective being to see whose images best communicate the provided word, and how far (or how close) their resultant images are situated to the original meaning of the image provided.
In addition to, and in support of the photographs being made, students, within their groups, should access the library and undertake the relevant reading and access resources on Blackboard via a link sent to their student email. By the end of this project students will be able to:
Access the library
Access their student email account
Download and upload information to Blackboard
Access the equipment stores
Access computer and print room facilities
Find teaching spaces
Navigate the campus
Interact with their year group
Create images, which respond to a given brief
Have a basic theoretical understanding of photographic contexts