Building Regional Student Awareness, Aspiration and Engagement Using Digital Technologies
Lead University: RMIT University
Lead Researcher: Victoria Smith
Research Team: Victoria Smith, Imelda Cooney
Year Funded: 2016
Funding Received: $194,646
This project built regional secondary students’ awareness, aspiration and preparedness for higher education through innovative digital methods of engagement to demystify transition issues and daily student life, and provide opportunities for direct engagement with current students. Stakeholder engagement was achieved through: consultation with school careers advisors and staff; interactive workshops; campus tour videos; video conferences; and a dedicated website with resources for students and teachers.
- The project had two main objectives:
- build regional students’ awareness, aspiration and preparedness for higher education through innovative digital methods of engagement
- improve access to undergraduate courses for regional students from low SES backgrounds by addressing the common barriers to tertiary education experienced by regional students.
- Various modes of delivery were offered to engage students with relevant digital content:
- video conferences with schools both in and out of class time
- creation of a website with videos, quizzes and teacher resources
- ‘Studio’ Learning experience where content generated by students is refined and developed through collaboration with peers and teachers
- hosting of web chat for secondary students that explored both discipline-specific information and study transition skills
- commonly identified barriers to tertiary education participation were addressed—such as awareness of the opportunities associated with higher education; academic achievement; and costs related to transport, relocation and housing—through the use of current university students’ personal experiences and other informational videos.
- The project was based on extensive consultation and engagement with stakeholders:
- consultation with school careers advisors and other staff
- 10 interactive workshops delivered in Term 3, 2017 with five different schools on five different topics
- six campus tour videos produced by current university students
- all associated materials such as quizzes, information sheets, and teacher resources included on a dedicated website
- 21 students recruited to produce the campus tour videos and seven current students involved through content delivery.
- Across all forms of delivery, 448 students participated – with 117 in video conferences; 186 users created 1791 page views over 305 sessions; and 20 students participated in studio learning.
- Evaluation surveys were sent out to 14 targeted schools once the website was finalised, indicating:
- the website met teachers’ needs
- the project was effective in increasing students’ aspirations.
- All internal stakeholders received an update on the project with many schools investigating the application of project resources in 2018.
- The website is a lasting legacy of the project and will continue to be promoted to schools in regional Victoria, to other universities, and to community organisations and networks.
Summary prepared by the NCSEHE.