Let us tell you how to support us! Student perspectives on academic support

Denise Morrison (London Metropolitan University)
Jan Bamford (London Metropolitan University)

Tuesday, April 9, 2024 11:30 AM - 12:15 PM

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Session Outline

The presentation will offer insights on student perspectives of academic support with the perceptions of existing approaches through data gathered on a university wide student support system by the Students Union and Student Representatives. The presentation is led by the former SU President at London Metropolitan University, together with other current students and in collaboration with academic staff responsible for the implementation of this area of support. It offers a case study of academic support in a diverse urban institution. The data offers a rich picture of the students’ perspective and insights on student views of academic support. The data outline key themes to consider, such as the need for a coherent approach that is embedded and connected to the course experience. The data underlines the importance of the consideration of the student voice in developing academic support initiatives and the priorities for students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. Through an analysis of the students’ perspectives, we gain an understanding of students’ perceptions of the ways in which academic support can enhance individuals’ innate capacity, build agency and enable their learning. The analysis demonstrates the need to recognise students’ existing experience and skills which can be channelled, refined and directed, and redirected by the academic tutor. There is considerable evidence by those such as Gamache (2002) of the need for additional support and scaffolding for learning. However, academic support is rarely given the attention needed in order to ensure that the scaffolding of student learning is supported in a consistent and measurable way and in a way that students have guided. It is argued that a holistic and strategic approach to academic support should draw from and be devised in collaboration with students. A partnership approach to academic support should form part of an institutional approach to pedagogy and the general student experience, to enable students to progress through their studies. This should be seen as a central prong of such activity.

This session addresses the following competencies of the UKAT Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring
I1 - HE Provider mission, vision, values, and culture
R1 - Build advising and tutoring relationships through empathetic listening and compassion for students, and be accessible in ways that challenge, support, nurture, and teach
P1 - Create and support environments that consider the needs and perspectives of students, and respect individual learners