In this post, we look back at one of the First and Further Year Experience (FFYE) forums at a time before COVID-19 and Zoom. Discover activities and watch videos to relive the ‘in person’ experience!

The February 2019 forum, which focused on belonging and sense of identity in the first few weeks, was the first to reframe what was formerly the First Year Experience to ‘FFYE’. The theme of belonging was explored through student stories, and supporting academic and professional practices.

Getting to know you

The first presenter was Adam Morgan, known to Futures blog readers for his ‘Getting to know you’ survey. He engaged the room with a ‘Speed Networking’ activity where attendees made one-on-one introductions with cards showing their names, faculty/unit and interests/hobbies in three 60-second rounds. This was an activity that Adam had previously run for students for at the start of session.

Attendees introducing each other during Adam’s ‘getting to know you’ exercise

To see Adam’s presentation and group activities in full, see the following videos:

A gentle disruption towards inclusion and belonging

In looking at gender discrimination in MBA courses, presenter Katrina Waite noted that women were often being sidelined from getting experience in hard skills and being typecast in the ‘mother’ role in her introduction. This observation led to some ethnographic work to see how students were working in real life within mixed gender groups. A familiar pattern that emerged was that women were scribing while men were directing.

A good way to avoid one person dominating or people assuming roles is to try a Think/Pair/Share activity. The forum attendees were grouped and asked to consider this: What idea/principles/activities about belonging and identity could we take forward into our professional/teaching practice for students (both Graduate and Postgraduate)? Attendees in groups followed a ‘think, write and share’ process, followed by a group response and recording their findings in Mentimeter.

This activity was inclusive because it:

  • Minimised the chance of one already confident person taking over and dominating discussion with their idea
  • Allowed everyone time to think before speaking
  • Allowed for non-textual representation of ideas (e.g. visual thinking)
  • Provided an opportunity for everyone’s ideas to be recorded at the start
  • Developed a mindedness about inclusion so that everyone is prepared to talk – and has an opportunity to talk


Student panel

A key part of FFYE forums is hearing real life experiences from our students. Several students told us their memories of first few weeks at UTS and how they made connections in this early period. Watch the following videos to see the panel in action:

Academic panel

The forum ended with an academic panel. A selection of FFYE transition coordinators and representatives were posed the following question:   What do you do that really makes a difference to student belonging and sense of identity in your class – and why does it makes a difference?

Stay tuned for our schedule of FFYE forum themes and dates for 2022!

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