MySuccess Modules: Building the foundations of academic and social success

Jack Hogan (Abertay University)
Sushmita Mago (Abertay University)

Tuesday, April 4, 2023 10:00 AM - 10:45 AM

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Session Outline

This presentation will explain an institutional approach to using self-assessment diagnostics as a formative assessment and a microcredential structure (MySuccess modules) to enable the foundations of academic and social student success. Using theoretical underpinning and qualitative and quantitative data captured from the implementation of the MySuccess modules, the presentation will discuss how students’ sense of belonging, identity, and connectedness (Lizzo, 2006; Thomas, 2012; Kift, 2015; Wainwright et al, 2020) to Abertay has increased.

The COVID-19 pandemic created many issues for transitioning first year students. Foremost in this was the traditional ability to prepare for university based upon a personal confidence in one’s academic ability and an understanding of the expectations of the university gained through visit and study days.

These 18 months of a disrupted educational experience saw Abertay University embark upon a transformational journey to personalise first year student learning. This saw Abertay decide to build a personalised academic and social curriculum through microcredentials with the aim of fostering a sense of purpose and belonging within the curriculum (Lizzio, 2006; Thomas, 2012).

The keystone of this approach saw transitioning first year students complete the Abertay Discovery Tool (Hogan & Millard, 2022). This formative self-assessment diagnostic contains five sections covering the foundations of academic and social success in higher education. These included studying at university, academic writing, digital skills, employability skills and wellbeing.

Upon successfully completing the self-reflective questions, students received individualised feedback to help them identify strengths and areas for development. These personalised and tailored reports identified recommended actions for students to complete during their first 3 months of study. A key strategic driver was to normalise student access to university central support systems through an early engagement with that department. Insights collected were analysed and programme level reports were produced to provide recommendations to programme leaders for implementation to further enable student success.

This tool also enabled students to make an informed choice from a list of optional microcredentials which covered academic writing, referencing, digital skills, the city of Dundee, referencing, employability, the student association and wellbeing. The MySuccess modules are co-delivered by staff and students from across the university and this presentation will discuss this approach and its impact.

This session addresses the following competencies of the UKAT Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring
I2 - Curriculum, degree programmes and pathways, including options
R3 - Motivate, encourage, and support students to recognize their potential, meet challenges, and respect individuality
R5 - Promote student understanding of the logic and purpose of the curriculum