Engage the students with learning: a new approach for an old challenge

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


The transition to Higher Education can be challenging for some students, not just the practicalities of becoming the ‘responsible adult’ coping with day to day living coupled with the excitement of new found freedom, but educationally too. Many know “Uni will be different”, realise the expectation of being an ‘independent learner’ but observations have indicated that sometimes this is where their knowledge and or motivation ends. Feedback from our 2013/14 NSS identified a growing level of concern from the students themselves regarding the commitment and engagement from some of their peers. The focus of this paper is to determine whether it is possible to manage expectations of being an undergraduate student, by demonstrating the level of commitment that will be required, before applying and or enrolling with any HEI. Our challenge was to design a fully online learning environment offering a positive and effective experience that could influence the epistemological beliefs of prospective students. The outcome could be that their beliefs are reinforced, maybe changed and possibly in some cases a realisation that they are not ready or willing to change. Sponsorship by Widening Participation at our Institution enabled a small team with diverse skills and experience to find a collaborative approach to this project. Acknowledging that MOOCs are a game-changer for HE offering large-scale availability, free access and useful analytics, we used their concept to design a holistic Business course. Participants were able to access course notes, watch lectures online and discuss issues with fellow learners. They were permitted to start where ever they wished and then progress through the topics before culminating in a decision by the learner either to leave the course or collaborate with others on a joint submission. The design gave the learners a unique insight to the subject and our Institution’s approach to learning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicatione-Learning Excellence Awards: An Anthology of Case Histories 2016
EditorsD. Remenyi
Place of PublicationReading
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781911218166
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • collaboration
  • student-engagement
  • online learning environment
  • epistemological beliefs


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