Supporting postgraduate coursework students through their time of transition

Anne-Maree Hays, Sue Sharp

Abstract


The efficacy and success of enabling programs in transitioning students to undergraduate university study is well documented. There are many examples of first year undergraduate orientation and transition activities to help students understand higher education expectations and systems. However, while many universities may provide research and study skills to support students once postgraduate study has commenced, there is little evidence of programs that transition incoming Postgraduate Coursework (PGC) students. This paper reports on the implementation of a transition program tailored for Graduate Diploma of Education (Secondary) students at Edith Cowan University (ECU). Many in this student cohort are returning to study after significant time away from university and for many of them, to a new field of study – Education. Held in the induction week of the first semester, the Postgraduate Preparation (PGP) course, consisted of two full days. Developed in consultation with School of Education academics and conducted in a supportive university environment, the course aimed to assist PGC secondary education students to develop their new postgraduate identity, by building efficacy and confidence through the refreshment of academic and research skills and supporting the development of help-seeking behaviours that may contribute to a successful transition to postgraduate coursework. A survey to measure the effectiveness of the transition program indicated that students identified participation in the PGP course as beneficial to preparing them for their postgraduate coursework studies. An outcome of the findings was the development of a design model for short postgraduate transition programs based on the identified key areas of self, skills and support.

Keywords


postgraduate coursework; student support; transition; confidence-building; learning community; study preparation

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References


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