Recently, we put out a call for a FFYE grants. In 2023, these will connect to the first-year curriculum principles and are validated against themes from the Student Experience Framework. Below, we preview the successful grants and summarise what the successful grant holders have in store.

1. School of Design: Cross-Cultural Connections Hub

  • Faculty: DAB
  • Team: Dr Lin Wei (Lead), Dr Tom Lee, Dr Kate Sweetapple, Dr Alexandra Crosby, Dr Andrew Burrell, Alyssa Choat, Roderick Walden

This project aims to build a communication hub for first-year International students, using an informal, inclusive and safe communication platform and a supporting workshop series that follows a ‘students as partners’ approach. International students will be encouraged to make connections and build relationships in a safe cultural environment where they can share their challenges.

  • First-year Curriculum Principles: Transition, Engagement
  • Student Experience Framework Themes: Engagement, Belonging, Wellbeing, Relationships

2. Collaborating with students to enhance first year retention

  • Faculty: FASS
  • Team: Christina Ho (Lead), Dr Luke Sharp, Dr Liz Giuffre, Dr Elizabeth Humphrys, Rodger Liang

The aims of this project are to understand the causes of first-year student attrition within the Bachelor of Communication. A co-design approach in collaboration with the UTS Society of Communications (UTSOC) will create a safe space for at-risk students to outline their concerns and offer suggestions for programs and/or activities that may help reduce attrition.

  • First-year Curriculum Principles: Transition, Diversity
  • Student Experience Framework Themes: Wellbeing, Relationships

3. How can AI be implemented into our pedagogy to produce positive learning outcomes for students?

  • Faculty: FEIT
  • Team: Jeremy Lindeck (Lead), Guien Miao, Ian Farmer, Dr Tania Machet

The aim of this project is to build students’ understanding of how AI can be used to support the design process and find solutions to real-world problems. Using feedback from focus groups, classroom activities will be designed to engage students and enhance their transition, but also ensure they are fluent in the use and challenge of ChatGPT in their future careers.

  • First-year Curriculum Principles: Transition, Engagement
  • Student Experience Framework Theme: Engagement

4. Learning as fast as AI: enhancing students’ capability to receive and build automated feedback

  • Faculty: FEIT
  • Team: Dr. Angela Huo (Lead), Dr Luke Mathieson, Dr David Milne, Dayong Ye, Sheng Shen, Girarth Vaihnav, Vishesh Pankaibhai

​​In traditional programming classroom settings, students often have limited opportunities to ask questions or receive individualised attention. The aim of this project is to train ChatGPT to be a personalised online tutor in programming tutorials to increase accessibility, retention and satisfaction. The project team will program the chatbot to answer student queries in a personalised and interactive manner, and train the feedback system to continuously improve its functionality and effectiveness.

  • First-year Curriculum Principles: Transition, Assessment
  • Student Experience Framework Themes: Engagement, Relationships

5. Empowering students as partners in first year Mechatronics Engineering: a sustainable student-turned-tutor solution​ ​​

  • Faculty: FEIT
  • Team: Assoc Prof Gavin Paul (Lead), Dinh Tung Le, Ishan Melwani, Dana Apoderado 

‘Introduction to Mechatronics Engineering’ uses a studio approach to personalised learning and an open discussion workshop approach that promotes peer-to-peer learning, supported by a diverse tutoring team. This project aims to create a tutor training program that invites high-performing students to contribute their ideas, collaborate in the design and development of scaffolded subject materials, participate actively in the cooperative classroom and ultimately prepare them to join the tutoring team for the subject’s next iteration. 

  • First-year Curriculum Principles: Transition, Engagement, Design
  • Student Experience Framework Themes: Engagement, Belonging, Relationships

6. A sense of belonging: enhancing student transition into the accelerated program in Bachelor of Nursing

  • Faculty: Health
  • Team: Dr Elizabeth Brogan (Lead), Sonia Matiuk, Jack Cornish, Lucy Rosenberg, Melissa Barassi, and A/Prof Jacqui Pich

The aim of this project is to discover and address the needs of second-year students transitioning from the completion of a diploma in nursing to working as an enrolled nurse. These students generally do not have access to the orientation process offered to first-year students, so may not have the same transition experience or sense of belonging. This project aims to examine current student engagement in a piloted orientation program and its scaffolded approach in workshops throughout the session, so that the program can be effectively redesigned for 2024.

  • First-year Curriculum Principle: Transition
  • Student Experience Framework Themes: Engagement, Belonging

7. From Project to Program – streamlining the GDMLP Mentoring Program​ ​ ​​

  • Faculty: Law
  • Team: Christine Giles (Lead), Dr Laura Smith-Khan, Bridget Armstrong

A mentoring program was introduced to the GD Migration Law Program (GDMLP) in 2021 so that incoming students could be supported by volunteering alumni and students in the final subject in the degree. ​These mentors provide guidance and support in relation to practical aspects of the GDMLP such as navigating CANVAS and the electronic database of migration and citizenship legislation and policy documents. The aim of this project is to automate the administration of the mentoring program to allot mentors with mentees, develop a mentoring kit for mentors and monitor the success of the program using cohort data analysis. 

  • First-year Curriculum Principle: Transition
  • Student Experience Framework Theme: Belonging

8. Transition to further years – are non-traditional entry students going ‘under the radar’?

  • Faculty: Science
  • Team: Prof Willa Huston (Lead), A/Prof Cathy Gorrie

Students who enter programs in Science as second-year or International students from difference learning contexts may miss out on transition opportunities and go ‘under the radar’. This project aims to examine retention and success data of current non-traditional transition and International PG pathway cohorts, co-design with students to identify key messages and suitable dissemination approaches to create targeted information for transiting into the university, and evaluate the resources in Spring 2023.

  • First-year Curriculum Principles: Transition, Engagement, Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Student Experience Framework Theme: Belonging

9. Transitioning diverse students into transdisciplinary learning: co-design of the learning experience​ ​​ 

  • TD School
  • Team: Jarnae Leslie (Lead), Dr Giedre Kligyte, Samuel Yu, A/Prof Sara Lal, Dr Jarrod Ormiston, Dr Hossai Gui, A/Prof Caroline Havery, Prof James Brown, Sarah Hatem, Dr Ardalan Eslami

This project aims to improve the transition of diverse students into transdisciplinary learning environments by identifying key issues via focus groups and co-design with students. The project’s objectives are to uncover the unique challenges faced by diverse cohorts in transitioning into contexts of uncertainty and complexity, equip staff to design activities that actively seek to support these students, and provide future students with better understanding of the expectations and key knowledge required for transdisciplinary learning.

  • First-year Curriculum Principles: Transition, Diversity
  • Student Experience Framework Themes: Engagement, Belonging

10. Enhancing  students’ belonging and self-efficacy in a large first-year Accounting subject with personalised feedback​

  • UTS School of Business
  • Team: Dr. Rina Dhillon (Lead), A/Prof Amanda White, Dr. Nicole Sutton, Dr. Lisa-Angelica Lim, Ram Ramanatha

This project aims to use a data-informed approach to monitor students’ belonging, self-efficacy and progress in a first-year, core subject that many students find challenging. Tailored messages via OnTask and growth mindset principles will help provide scalable, timely and personalised feedback and support to these students. Responding to follow-up queries and engagement with the learning activities will provide evidence of student engagement, with pre-/post- surveys measuring the students’ sense of belonging.

  • First-year Curriculum Principles: Transition, Engagement, Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Student Experience Framework Theme: Belonging

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