The first year experience: Perceptions of students at a new campus
This study was conducted in a bid to better understand the student cohort at the new campus of the University of Southern Queensland. The project was designed to follow on from the findings of a recent nation-wide review of first year students conducted by the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne (Krause, Hartley, James, & McInnis, 2005). Studies focusing on the experiences and perceptions of vulnerable student cohorts provide valuable information to academic and support staff at universities and enable institutions to better meet student needs. The cohort in this context differed in several respects from those of previous studies, specifically in terms of the much greater proportion of students who were of a low to middle socio-economic status, as well as a larger proportion of matureage students. The findings are relevant in terms of providing meaningful student experiences, assisting students to connect theoretical frameworks with their home experiences, engaging students, developing innovative teaching and learning practices within this context and improving students' perceptions of quality assurance. The demographics of the current sample indicate a cohort of students in previously marginalised groups and as such the current research constitutes a unique contribution to the investigation of first year experiences.
Enhancing Higher Education, Theory and Scholarship: Proceedings of the 30th HERDSA Annual Conference