Teaching Innovation Award for Natural Sciences

The University of Kent Natural Sciences department has won a Teaching Innovation Award!

Congratulations to Dr Alexandra Moores, Dr Emma Hargreaves and Candis Roberts for their work on the Pre-Arrival Hub, which used the LearnSci Direct Virtual Learning Environment. Focusing on two core themes –  Digital Connectivity and Sense of Belonging – the hub helps to ensure success and engagement from the start of a student’s Kent journey.

The aim of the Pre-Arrival hub was to introduce students to the format and style of the VLE Moodle pages which students would be using in their day to day student life. Research has shown that the jump from sixth form/college to university is not always an easy transition for students.

As well as the changes associated with moving away from home and a shift to independent learning, some students face extra anxiety if they weren’t taught essential course material before starting their degree.

The Division of Natural Sciences produced the Pre-Arrival Hub to support this transition by including numeracy skills worksheets by LearnSci. 81 incoming students attempted these worksheets alerting the team to potential gaps in prior learning and identifying support opportunities.

The Student Handbook was also accessible via the platform enabling students to be well informed before arrivals and feel part of a community within the Division. This student success project has developed interventions and activities to help support ongoing work in closing attainment gaps between certain cohorts of students.

The judges said:

‘Early student engagement is so beneficial to student wellbeing and belonging in higher education and their academic progress, it allows you to hit the ground running. This is a fantastic innovation and a great use of LearnSci’s Direct platform.’

Candis Roberts said:

‘I am so proud of what we achieved with this Student Success initiative. A huge thank you to Alex and Emma for their work and to Learn sci for recognising and supporting supporting our ambitions to help students transition into higher education and building a sense of belonging #studentsuccess

Congratulations to the team and their continued dedication to the Student Experience at the University of Kent.