Think of university life as a tramway line map. There are lines that originate within the university context, others that continue from previous educational life, such as the daily routine. Each line has its own challenge for first-year students, such as finding a suitable study-life balance, building up a network or adjusting with student duties. In this context, the role of teachers is also crucial in terms of how they communicate with their students and what strategies they use to foster interaction within their course.
Each line offers many possibilities and chances to develop, to network, to warm up bit by bit and finally to arrive as a university student. It’s up to a successful guided start as a central thread to support first-year students on their way to this goal.
EFYE 2022 takes all of these issues and groups them into three conference topics, focusing on prospective students, beginners and teaching professionals.
Focus on prospective students
How to reach all potential students and match them with the right study programme?
How to match students with the right study programme?
How to enable prospective students to find the right study programme?
How to consider diversity? How to foster diversity?
Prospective students can pick and choose out of an ever-expanding range of educational programmes. Higher Education Institutions (HEI) on the other hand struggle to present and explain their study programmes in secondary education. The decision for a specific study programme sometimes seems somewhat arbitrary. We would like to share experiences on how to get in contact with potential students and in what ways we can help them to choose the right education for their interest and talents. We want to discuss which types of media and content we can use to convey the subject matters of our programmes and to spark interest in our fields of study.
The design of a study programme is sometimes a balancing act between the teaching of the traditional basics of a discipline and the promise of tackling current problems in this field. The challenge HEI are facing is on how to communicate the contents of a curriculum so that prospective students are fascinated by the latest research but do not underestimate the requirements of a study programme.
We know that diversity brings huge benefits for any HEI and study programme and it comes with it’s own challenges. We want to talk about the significance of diversity in your HEI. What can we do to encourage students and teachers from different backgrounds to join our HEI?
Focus on beginners
How to create a welcome culture?
How to understand your first-year students better?
How to provide a successful transition and an academic integration?
How to give social and spatial orientation?
How can data support the process of onboarding (learning and academic analytics)?
First-year students initially find it hard to orientate themselves in the physical and social space of a HEI. We want to provide a pleasant and welcoming experience where they can easily and quickly connect with their colleagues and teaching staff. How does your HEI try to shape the social and spatial orientation, the (digital) onboarding process of beginners?
Most of our students start their bachelor’s degree programme at a very young age. Many of them are timid in a new and unknown environment. Sometimes they find it hard to find connection with a peer group. We want to collect all the different ways on how HEI can foster engagement among first year students, outside the classroom (e.g. in student unions or other extracurricular acitivities).
In order to care for our students, we need to understand them better. And to understand them better, we collect data. There are many types of data a HEI can collect and analyse. We want to share our knowledge about the merits and challenges of different kinds of data analysis. For this purpose, we encourage contributions that look at academic analytics (statistical data about the student body) and learning analytics (statistical and individual data about the learning processes of students).
Focus on teaching staff
How to optimize teaching to improve student learning?
How to keep students motivated?
How can we use pedagogical methods to encourage the transition between school and university?
How to foster (digital) interaction within the courses / between students?
How to train your teaching staff?
Pedagogical methods play a crucial part in the transition from secondary to higher education. We want to illustrate how certain teaching methods can be used to support this transition phase. For example, course with massive participants numbers in the first semester of a study programme can be challenging for teachers and students alike. How does your HEI / how do you cope with this kind of situation and which methods have proven themselves to be effective?
We want to encourage contributions that share their different didactical / pedagogical methods, perspectives and experiences on teaching in presence, online or in any combination of the two (hybrid).
Besides the curricula design, also a concise course design and selection of engaging teaching methods are important for keeping students motivated during their first steps of their academic journey. We would like to hear from other HEI what kind of approaches seem to keep their students and teachers engaged.
Of course the best set of teaching methods can be useless if not shared with the teaching staff, practised in training scenarios and applied to real courses. We want to share experiences with “teaching the teacher” events and/or the organisation of in–house-trainings. How does your HEI educate your teaching staff about new teaching methods and possibilities and how do you encourage them to incorporate this knowledge into their teaching?