A course approach to student transition to University: a case study in Agricultural Business Management

Yann Guisard, Karl Behrendt, Peter Mills, Shevahn Telfser, Warwick Wheatley, Carole Hunter, Rebecca Acheson, Zelma Bone

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The focus of this paper is to present a case study of an integrated course approach to student transition in an undergraduate agricultural business management program. This wholistic approach is particularly relevant to courses with small student intake (defined here as less or equal to 20 full time students). These small intakes represent approximately 38% of all intakes in Australian universities. Most universities have an orientation week with generic and course specific activities to assist students in their transition to university life but very few have a 'total package' of sustained transitional support with an overnight tour, mentoring program, curriculum mapping and course design for all of the first stage subjects as just some of their strategies. The transition was planned to take place over the entire first stage of the course. A course team working collaboratively and cohesively was paramount to the success of this project. The approach was first implemented in 2010 and three years of data are presented here. These data clearly demonstrate that although student grades did not significantly improve, student satisfaction and perception of the 'worth' of the various fundamental subjects taught in the first year of their course increased. This is associated with a recent decrease in first year student attrition. Finally and perhaps more importantly, academics reported that students seemed to display a higher standard of academic literacy and deeper critical thinking in their various assessment tasks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)896-902
Number of pages7
JournalCreative Education
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


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