This blog is part of a series co-authored by Kathy Egea and Jacqueline Melvold and provides an overview of the principles of first-year curriculum. These principles are explored in further detail in Kathy and Jacqueline’s upcoming contribution to CAULLT’s Contemporary Approaches to University Teaching MOOC (available in 2023). Content is drawn from resources and practices through the First and Further Year Experience (FYYE) program, which has been using transition pedagogy since 2011.
The previous 5 principles
Principle #6: Monitoring and Evaluation
The overarching underpinnings of this principle are centred on the role of the academic to:
- monitor students who might be at risk of failure
- evaluate their own teaching and learning practices using evidence-based approaches
This includes students monitoring and evaluating their own learning process, with the aim of becoming independent and reflective learners, and incorporating this into their professional careers.
Monitoring and Evaluation in practice
For this principle, we have addressed two concepts, each with practical suggestions.
1. Monitoring individual students’ learning needs
- Check weekly work (e.g. workbooks) regularly for indications of independent students and your ongoing awareness of students learning needs
- Providing targeted ‘just in time’ support to students
- Normalise help-seeking and point out concrete support systems students can access at your institution
- Ensure the class is a safe space that enables students to view failure as part of the learning process and grow from it
2. Reflect on learning in the subject
- Give students/yourself opportunities and tools to evaluate learning and teaching throughout the subject (e.g. via quick in-class surveys or a reflective practice journal)
- Provide opportunities to connect and map knowledge from the subject to future careers
- Enable students to reflect on and articulate their learning process as well as learning outcomes (e.g. keeping a reflective diary throughout their study of your subject, and perhaps monitor this in their assessment)
- Take time to stop, reflect, evaluate and replan your teaching approach based on your students’ needs
1. Online, pre-class quiz for chemistry students
This case study demonstrates how pre-class online quizzes can be used to test student preparedness for laboratory classes in first-year chemistry. This just-in-time tool provided feedback both to the students and the teacher, enabling lab assistants to cover difficult concepts early in the laboratory class, or to provide targeted support for individual students. The online pre-testing practice also freed time for lab assistants to focus on the student practice within the laboratory, as opposed to the previous approach of marking occurring during the lab class.
2. Student opportunities for feedback during lectures
James Wakefield from the Business School describes how he embeds content questions into his online lecture slides, giving students the opportunity to express their thoughts and opinions and to build confidence around the content. He found that students were more comfortable to question or voice opinions in the online, interactive mode and were more engaged in the subject.
Embed the 6 principles into your practice
Here are some steps to integrate the principles into your teaching practice:
- Identify a challenge or opportunity in your classroom that could be addressed by one of the six first-year curriculum principles
- Define which of the six principles could address this opportunity/challenge
- Understand the opportunity/challenge in detail by talking to students, other academics and the wider university staff
- Take action by embedding a new initiative that addresses the opportunity/challenge into the classroom
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the initiative
- Reflect on your own practice and what could be improved in the future
- Share your finding with colleagues and wider first-year transition communities of practice (e.g. the STARS conference)
Join the FFYE community
UTS staff are invited to join the FFYE Community Teams channel, which includes a wealth of resources on topics explored in this blog series. Plus there’s still time to sign up for the last FFYE Forum for 2023 on 22 November: