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  5. Evaluating a new STEM AL induction programme

Evaluating a new STEM AL induction programme

Project leader(s): 
Hannah Gauci and Janette Wallace
Theme: 
Faculty: 
STEM
Status: 
Current

Background/pedagogic issue

Before the closure of OU regional centres, AL induction took place face to face giving new ALs the opportunity to form networks and develop the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to get started in their new role. Since then, induction has been mostly self-directed, generic and online with limited opportunities to meet with colleagues.

To begin to address this issue within our school (LHCS), we developed an online induction programme for novice ALs that was has been implemented from October 2017. The effectiveness of this programme was evaluated (as part of our previous eSTEeM project) and the findings informed the development of a new STEM wide faculty induction. This programme was piloted in October 2018 and has initially become an annual event with potential for further repeats through the academic year.  We propose to extend and expand our previous research by evaluating this induction programme for the 19J cohort of new STEM ALs.  The induction programme will complement existing generic induction, and any module-based induction and staff tutor and mentor support. The programme comprises an online ‘getting started’ workshop in October, a 2 day face to face event of interactive workshops in November and a follow up online event early in 2020. There is a website to support these events consisting of a forum, online room, and a guide to the STEM and generic induction events and training. We hope that this new approach will help ALs feel better supported and foster a feeling of community amongst new ALs.

Aims

  • To gather information about previous experience of new to the OU STEM ALs. 
  • To assess confidence in AL tutoring tasks before and after a period of induction.
  • To assess the usefulness and value of aspects of the induction programme by gathering feedback from both ALs and their managers.
  • To make identify key components for STEM AL induction and make recommendations for future STEM induction programmes
  • To make recommendations for faculty-based AL induction that would be applicable across the OU.
  • To identify aspects of HE practitioner induction that are relevant to the wider HE sector.

Impacts and outcomes

ALs being at the frontline of tuition delivery, are the ‘face of the OU’ and are crucial in ensuring student success. Therefore, it is important to prepare ALs appropriately for their new role by providing support and development that includes relevant, timely and effective induction. Our evaluation of the programme planned for 19J will allow us to determine if it is fit for purpose and identify recommendations for future programmes both within the faculty and across the University. Outcomes will also have applicability for other institutions, and we plan to publish our findings in an educational research journal and or present at an appropriate conference.

Gauci, H. and Wallace, J. (2019) project poster (PDF)

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