Development of a progressive transition management module for induction of postgraduate taught students into medical science programmes

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With an increasingly diverse student population, pharmacology and medical science teaching must adapt to varied student experience levels, language differences and educational backgrounds. New students face a multitude of transitions relating to multiple information technology systems and beginning classes very soon after arrival (many students arrive late due to visa delays). In addition, students must settle into the teaching style, pace and environment, as well as establish their peer group, meet their discipline cohort and become part of the broader school faculty. This doesn’t even begin to consider the disparate levels of practical experience, writing skills, and research proficiency across the cohort.

To address this stress point, we have designed a non-credit bearing module at the University of Aberdeen, to provide a “soft landing” into our postgraduate taught programmes in the Institute of Medical Science. The aim of this module is to blend taught exercises with practical exercises to engage students early, develop and assess their skills and to provide learning experiences targeted at developing confidence, competence and community across the cohort.

The module supports student transition throughout the first 6 weeks of the MSc programme by introducing students to systems an processes unique to the University of Aberdeen and facilitating their use of these systems to engage with the course. Not only does this enhance student experience of these varied systems, but it also permits careful monitoring of engagement, offering an early disengagement flag if students do not submit the written work or a weekly tweet

Increasingly diverse student populations pose challenges for universities for a number of reasons including varying experience levels, academic background, language and practical skills. The module herein demonstrates a design that offers orientation with the University of Aberdeen processes before developing skills, communication and community across the cohort. These assimilate to provide students with the support, confidence and competence to succeed with their MSc programmes, while also offering potential flags to the course team for more directed support or intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


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