MOOC: Widening Participation

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 that “Uni will be different”, know they will be expected to be an ‘independent learner’ but observations from colleagues 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.

Sponsorship by Widening Participation with Andrea Benn as project lead and subject specialists – Stuart Francis (Marketing), Rachael Carden (Finance), Julie Fowlie (OB/HRM), Vincent Kane (Economics) and Craig Wakefield (Learning Technology support) have developed an on-line learning environment taking Amazon as a case study, to provide opportunities for prospective Undergraduates to experience the level of commitment they will be required to undertake before applying and/or enrolling for 3 plus years with any HEI that would offer a positive and effective experience in order to influence the epistemological beliefs of prospective students before meeting them.

We began with a very small and controlled prototype, which gave us the opportunity to understand the practical implications of our idea, develop new skills, gather feedback and evaluative data while reassuring other colleagues that we had managed the risks of going beyond the University’s traditional boundaries.

We are now in phase two and having completed the design and first trial of the online Business Taster Course, received positive feedback from the students and the Widening Participation team who will be including it in their summer programme, we now wish to develop a group element to the course and to consider offering it to potential applicants to the Business School.

Password – Business