Whilst there has been the development of a series of initiatives to improve inclusivity and widen participation in the UK there has been a rise in the number of Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) students entering Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Yet, many top universities have been accused of ‘BTEC snobbery’ (Savage, 2018) with only some HEIs offering places to these students. In addition, BTEC students are more likely to obtain lower degree outcomes and have higher attrition rates compared to A level students (Greenback, 2009; McCoy and Adamson, 2016).The Transforming Transitions Project (funded by The Office for Students) has examined issues surrounding BTEC students’ transitions and as a result, has developed a number of evidence-based interventions to target support. This includes an online induction module that supports and provides a community space for these students, prior to their transition into university.
Drawing upon ideas around a ‘partnership approach’ ( Curran and Millard, 2015) and delivered entirely online prior to the start of university, the module aimed to shape realistic expectations and nurture a ‘sense of belonging’(see Thomas, 2012; Goodenow,1993) which was viewed as being at the heart of successful retention and engagement for this cohort. In essence, the digital space connects to the notion of presenting a facilitative ‘holding’ environment (Winnicott, 1971) for students, to assist them to further develop their learner identities, as they become an HE student (Barnett, 2007).
Mainly addressing the conference theme ‘Learning technology for wider impact’ this presentation will provide the following insights around:
- A better understanding of some of the issues faced by BTEC students upon entry into university
- An example of the technological solution utilised to support formation of a community to support these students and to facilitate increased retention and engagement
- Recommendations for the types of resources and digital interventions that have been shown to support a more successful transition for these students
- Methods to assess the effectiveness of the intervention and address the requirements of all students when transitioning to university
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[Accessed on 07/03/2019.]
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