The Orientate-Apply-Connect (OAC) Model: Supporting Students' Academic Transition into Higher Education
From Tom Foster
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Transition into HE and its effect on student retention is a known issue for the sector, and Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) faces an additional challenge in that its applied learning ethos is often unfamiliar to incoming learners. While large amounts of information are provided to students to support them in their physical transition to SHU, their academic transition has been less well supported - often addressed solely through general academic skills training. Although, we recognise these types of support as essential for our new arrivals, we identified that there was no discipline-specific focus on teaching and learning. Moreover, there was no explicit link at this initial stage between academic content and expert performance (Herrington et al, 2006). Furthermore, the aim of this work was to recognise the different backgrounds of our learners and recognise the valuable insight this can bring.
A transition model has been developed to give new HE learners an authentic context to a topic from their subject discipline, supplemented with a selection of authentic tasks to apply this knowledge while drawing on their own experiences. Finally, the link to professional practice is provided through video interviews of professionals who put the topic into a real-world context. This model derives its name Orientate-Apply-Connect (OAC) from these three elements.
This presentation will discuss the online implementation of this model through Blackboard CourseSites, highlight how the same model has been used during induction, and provide feedback from students involved in pilots of both approaches during summer 2018. It will conclude with a description of how the model is to be used during summer 2019.