The UTS FEIT Survival Guide was launched in 2022 to tackle the information overload experienced by many students as they start their courses – particularly those coming from overseas and studying in Australian institutions for the first time.
Jason Do is the Coordinator, Engaged Learning, and Associate Dean (Teaching & Learning) in the Faculty of Engineering and IT (FEIT). Here he shares how the FEIT Survival Guide came about, and how it’s making a difference for students navigating university for the first time.
A guide for students, by students
The idea for the guide came about in 2021, with the intention of providing a resource for international students in FEIT that brings together key information into one easy-to-access place. The development was supported by the faculty and led by a group of FEIT’s iAmbassadors, who represent the international student body and lead initiatives and programs for the benefit of their peers.
The guide tackles the questions that new students come to university with again and again, from navigating online platforms to tips on where to eat on-campus (including the cafe where you get a free coffee on your birthday!). Students’ voices are present throughout the guide, both in the friendly, conversational tone and lively illustrations that pop up on every page.
What’s in the guide?
The Guide includes essential information and useful tips to support students’ transition to life at university. Different aspects of the student experience are covered, including academic studies, social life, wellbeing and careers, as well as resources and advice specific to international students, like important documents and navigating jobs and career progression.
As well as a handy introductory checklist covering enrolment, timetable set-up, and the all-important uni slang (how else will you know your SLH from your SSO and your SSAF?) current sections include:
- Study – online study, academic support, exam/ assignment tips and plagiarism;
- Career – finding a job, networking, mentoring, careers events;
- Uni life – making friends, joining societies, volunteering, student discounts;
- Other categories – financial help, accessibility, physical and mental health, security, staying motivated;
- International students – key documents, improving English skills, coping online, exams/ assignments and career progression.
The guide is hyperlinked so that students can skip to the sections they need, and dig deeper on the topics they’re interested in.
How is the guide being used?
The guide is most often shared at orientation events such as welcome sessions and stalls, is emailed to students, and appears on posters in and around key buildings on-campus. It is viewed most often during orientation weeks, but students continue to access and explore content afterwards. Since it was released in 2022, it has been viewed over 5,200 times by over 1,650 viewers.
As the original group of iAmbassadors who created the Survival Guide move on in their studies and careers, responsibility for the Guide is passed on to a new generation of iAmbassadors and continues to be maintained and updated.
If you would like to explore more, UTS staff and students can access the FEIT Survival Guide via Sharepoint. Share your feedback with the iAmbassador team directly via FEIT.iAmbassadors@uts.edu.au, or contact the FEIT Engagement team to find out more about how you could use a guide like this in your own student support work.
Special thanks to the FEIT International Student Ambassadors’ Team for all their efforts in creating and maintaining the Guide!