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Type: Conference paper
Title: What a strange idea! Student expectations of the first year university experience
Author: Scutter, S.
Palmer, E.
Luzeckyj, A.
Brinkworth, R.
McCann, B.
Citation: The Education Research Group of Adelaide (ERGA) conference 2010: The Changing Face of Education, 24-25 September, 2010; pp. pp.76-77
Publisher: University of Adelaide
Publisher Place: Adelaide
Issue Date: 2010
Conference Name: ERGA Conference (5th : 2010 : Adelaide, Australia)
Department: Centre for Learning and Professional Development
Statement of
Sheila Scutter, Edward Palmer, Ann Luzeckyj, Russell Brinkworth and Ben McCann
Abstract: This presentation explores data collected from a survey of commencing students’ expectations of university. The data was obtained from surveys distributed to students commencing study at each of the three universities in South Australia in the weeks prior to Orientation Week. The questionnaires were designed to capture the expectations of students before they had undertaken any orientation or familiarisation activities. Recruitment was via the student portals, where a link was provided to the online survey. The survey forms the first stage of an ALTC funded research project that is being conducted across the three universities in South Australia and is based on preliminary work conducted at the University of Adelaide by Crisp et al. (2009) and Brinkworth et al. (2009). This paper provides a preliminary analysis of the responses to the survey from students who had not yet commenced university. We received 3091 complete responses to the survey. Of these, 26% of students were attending Flinders University (Flinders), 55% the University of Adelaide (Adelaide) and 24% were enrolled at the University of South Australia (UniSA). This represented 15.2% of all commencing university students in the state of South Australia. The number of students who had attended each school category (Catholic, 591; Independent, 822; State, 1678) closely matched the percentage of school students in each sector in South Australia (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2009). Students from Independent schools were more likely to attend Adelaide than Flinders or UniSA. Students from Catholic schools were more likely to attend UniSA (p<0.001) while students at Flinders were more likely to be from Public schools. Students from Independent schools were less likely to be the first member of the family attending University (p<0.000). Adelaide had proportionally less students who were first in family at university than the other universities. Students who were the first in their immediate family to attend university based their expectations on school counsellors, school teachers, university recruiting material and websites significantly more than students who were not the first in their family to attend university. Students who were not first in family relied significantly more on parents, friends and siblings for informing their expectations (p<0.000). The majority of students at all universities entered directly from years 12 or 13. Adelaide had a lower percentage of students entering from TAFE and a higher percentage of students who completed the International Baccalaureate (p<0.001). Students were asked to indicate how different they believed the university teaching and learning environment would be compared with school. For example, students were asked about anticipated differences in class sizes, class duration and access to lecturers as well as the standard of the work. In line with previous research (Crisp et al. 2009), 94% of respondents indicated they thought getting feedback on drafts of work would be important for their learning. In addition, 68% of students felt that university teachers would provide all the materials they required for their learning. Students who were the first in family to attend university were more likely to expect that that they would seek out extra information in areas of interest and that attending lectures and class discussions would be important for their learning. Although the expectation of the amount of work was similar between first in family and other students, first in family students expected more difficult work. The different demographics of students at the three universities was not unexpected but has not previously been documented. The expectations of students was influenced by whether they were the first in family to atten d university, but the expectations of most students regarding access to lecturers for additional help and gaining feedback on drafts ERGA Conference 2010 77 of assignments were unrealistic. As the st...
Rights: Copyright © 2010 The University of Adelaide
RMID: 0020107749
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Appears in Collections:Centre for Learning and Professional Development publications

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