When did you first introduce the innovation?
Between 12 and 24 months ago
Please describe the innovation you have developed
The work culminated in a website (www.destinationsocialwork.com) targeted at social work students articulating directly into level 2 of the undergraduate social work programme. The aim was to assist existing and prospective students in developing their academic skills and confidence. The site includes 17 sequential and contextualised tutorials covering the various skills that students will need to be successful in their studies. It also includes video clips from previous students, welcome videos from staff and a range of other materials designed to familiarise students with the programme and university.
What prompted you to develop this innovation?
Feedback from college staff and students regarding levels of anxiety and lack of preparedness in relation to higher education study.
In your view, what is it about this innovation that makes it different/important?
There are lots of study guides available online. These materials are more innovative in that they are contextualised to the subject discipline and are provided as annotated PowerPoint slides, so the learning experience feels more personalised with auditory as well as visual components. There are also activities integrated into the tutorials to help consolidate learning.
To what extent does your innovation make use of existing approaches, resources or technologies?
There are more sophisticated technologies available but we were aware of the risks of discouraging students, especially those from widening access backgrounds, with unnecessary ‘flashy’ technology. We decided to stick with a PowerPoint format as that’s what students were familiar with and feedback is very positive regarding the simplicity and user friendliness of the materials.
To what degree has this innovation led to changes in education or clinical practice?
The materials are now used more extensively than had been anticipated – college staff use them as a teaching aid and learning development staff use them when working with students. Social work staff promote the materials among students at all undergraduate levels and so they are extremely versatile.
What evidence do you have of the impact of the innovation?
Several focus groups and interviews have been held with students and college staff and feedback is overwhelmingly positive. Students have spoken about how the resources have significantly impacted on their academic skills, most notably their writing skills, and confidence. Many students reported that they feel much more reassured about and prepared for going to university. The findings were presented at a national learning development conference earlier this year and we hope to disseminate further in the forthcoming academic session.
To what degree has the innovation been disseminated in your organisation or elsewhere?
The findings have been disseminated at 2 internal learning and teaching events and within the QAA’s Enhancement Themes ‘Tipzone’ series. See also above.
Please provide details of any plans you have to disseminate the innovation in the future.
We are about to start writing for publication and will continue to pursue dissemination events.