Navigating Bridging Pathways to Tertiary Education
Lead University: Griffith University
Lead Researcher: Suzanne Wilkinson
Research Team: Suzanne Wilkinson
Year Funded: 2014
Funding Received: $275,000
This project assisted low socioeconomic status (SES) mature age individuals in identifying and accessing suitable bridging pathways to tertiary study, including university and TAFE. Current tertiary pathways courses were mapped and documented; an informational website for prospective students was developed; and a network of providers and career advisors was established. The project was collaborative under the auspices of the Queensland Universities Widening Participation Consortium.
- The project objective was to enhance the information and resources available on pathways available to assist low-income adults across Queensland to access the most suitable bridging pathway to tertiary study.
- The project resulted in a website, http://www.youtouni.com.au/ which contained all the relevant pathways information relating to education providers in Queensland. The information on the website is specifically targeted at equity groups and low-income adults to enable them to make informed decisions about returning to study.
- The process of the project involved:
- establishing a sub-committee of the Queensland Widening Participation working group to act as a steering committee
- developing a detailed project plan in consultation with stakeholders
- mapping the detailed description of tertiary pathways courses
- appointing an IT contractor to develop the website
- establishing comprehensive lists of pathways course providers and pathways advisors
- developing and launching the website.
- Following these steps, the project team undertook a roadshow to present the website to non-metropolitan universities.
- The project was collaborative in nature under the auspices of the Queensland Universities Widening Participation Consortium. All member universities and TAFE Queensland gave their full support to the project.
- Feedback was very positive with comments noting the simplicity and ease of accessing knowledge areas; the fact that the website encouraged people to look at what’s on offer; and that the site was very clear and informative.
- The project managers noted that this was the first state-wide resource to bring all this information together in one accessible location. They concluded that the overall outcome should be better-informed students, leading to improved decision making around higher education.
- The website was launched on 12 April 2016.
- While the project team did not undertake a formal evaluation, it did gather feedback from stakeholders about the website and data usage.
- Between 12 April 2016 launch date and 4 May 2016 the website was viewed by 2994 users, with 6964 page views and a total of 3559 sessions. Users were staying on for an average of two minutes, indicating they were likely to be working through the content on the site.
- In a survey of project stakeholders, between 92 and 96 per cent of respondents replied positively to four issues:
- The website is an important source of information for adult learners.
- The website will meet the needs of adult learners considering higher education options.
- The website provides appropriate information for equity students.
- Respondents would recommend the website to others.
- The project was seen as a success and also as a model for other states or consortia of higher educational institutions to follow.
Summary prepared by the NCSEHE