Student Perspectives on Transitioning to University in South Australia: Exploring Skill Needs Identified by Commencing Enabling Program Students

By Jennifer Stokes.

Published by The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 3, 2014 $US5.00

Widening university participation is arguably one of the largest changes occurring within the contemporary university (Biggs and Tang 2011); with many universities offering enabling programs to provide a supported transition to university for students from equity groups. In order to better inform enabling program curriculum, 2012 commencing students at UniSA College were surveyed to determine the skill needs they identified as important. These needs were compared to a known framework for university preparedness. There was found to be a significant match between the students’ identified skill needs and Conley’s framework (2008) with regard to academic literacy. However other enabling program student identified skill needs, such as personal development, community input, and career preparation, were not supported by the framework. The research concludes that a separate framework should be determined for enabling program student skill needs and that academics should engage in regular dialogue with students to develop curriculum which meets the specific needs of this growing cohort.

Keywords: Widening Participation, Foundation Studies, Equity, Higher Education, Curriculum, Enabling Program

The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education, Volume 20, Issue 4, November 2014, pp.1-8. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 3, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 667.671KB)).

Jennifer Stokes

Lecturer, UniSA College, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia

Jennifer Stokes is an award-winning educator, who specialises in academic literacies, screen studies, multimedia and information literacy. She has been recognised for her ability to engage university students through media forms and has taught film production in Australia and Singapore. She regularly presents at international conferences; most recently in Greece, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Jennifer is enthusiastic about engaging students with complex concepts through media texts and she has received national recognition for her work in this area. She is also interested in extending students’ critical thinking through textual analysis and recently co-authored a textbook chapter on this topic with Dr Sarah Hattam. She is also a filmmaker. In 2012, she produced the feature film ‘Justice Squad’, a mockumentary about superheroes, in her home town of Adelaide, South Australia.