Results and the developing intervention strategies will be shared with other enabling educators in a series of workshops in different parts of Australia in the latter part of Semester 2, 2012.
These workshops will cover:
- Major findings of the project;
- Issues of attrition in enabling programs;
- Strategies to improve student retention.
The workshops will be a collaborative process where we will share our findings with participants, followed by discussion in the context of participants’ experiences of student retention. Those attending will take away both a deepened understanding of the wider processes underlying student retention and attrition in enabling programs and some specific ideas for things they can do to improve retention in their own context. The workshops aim to be part of a process of collaborative development of best practice in student retention and we hope that you will share your ideas with us for passing on to others.
The exact timing of the Workshop in each regional centre is flexible. We will be consulting with all those expressing interest in attending in each region to find the most convenient time for everyone. It is anticipated that most of the workshops would be held between mid-October and mid-December 2012, but this can be varied to some extent.
Workshops are already confirmed in Sydney, Newcastle and Tasmania (dates and further details to follow) and workshops in Adelaide and Perth are in planning. (A report on the progress of the project was presented to the Queensland Enabling Education Symposium in June 2012 and the Queensland workshop will be run in conjunction with the next Symposium in Toowoomba in 2013.
If you are interested in attending a workshop in your region, please contact us for details and to have a say in just when the workshop will be held. (We are also looking for someone to host a workshop in some areas; if you might be able to help please get in touch with us.)
For general enquiries, contact Barry Hodges - Barry.Hodges@newcastle.edu.au or your regional team members.
As part of the process of dissemination we will continue developing this website as well as distributing a newsletter. If you would like to be added to our mailing list to be kept in touch with developments, please contact us.
Good news. The study has generated a wealth of data about our students and their experience of our programs. The data is currently being analysed to discover as much as possible about the processes of student attrition in enabling programs and, in particular, to attempt to identify similarities and differences to the corresponding processes in undergraduate programs. This will allow us to use some of the existing intervention strategies which have been deployed in undergraduate programs and widely reported on in the literature and to adapt others. Stay tuned…
The data collection process was based on a series of questionnaires which began in Week 2 -Semester 1, 2011 and is complete at the University of Newcastle, the University of Southern Queensland, and the University of New England. Due to substantial changes in the structure of the program at the University of South Australia, and to personnel at Edith Cowan University, data collection was deferred until 2012 at those institutions. The process is now underway with completion expected by the end of 2012.
Each student was asked to complete two questionnaires: an Initial Questionnaire in Week 2 of the first semester of their program and either an Exit Survey (students leaving the program without completion) or a Concluding Questionnaire in the last week of their program.
Students in enabling programs tend to be less experienced in the processes of formal education, and the return rate of questionnaires has varied substantially between institutions and programs. Where we were able to administer questionnaires in lectures and tutorials, the return rate has been very high, at times approaching 100% of the students present in class. However, where questionnaires have been emailed or posted to students the return rate has often been disappointing. This is especially true of the Exit Surveys sent to students formally withdrawing, or identified as having left the program without formally withdrawing.