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Designing practical strategies to increase STEPS students' attendance at face-to-face, on campus classes : preliminary findings
conference contributionposted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Karen SearyKaren Seary, Delwyn JamesDelwyn James, Hermina ConradieHermina Conradie
Enabling educators are continually seeking avenues to improve the outcomes for students who choose an enabling pathway in quest of a changed life through education. This paper reports the preliminary findings of a research project focused on CQUniversity’s Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS) Program. The project seeks to better understand students’ conceptions of the benefits of attending face to face, on-campus classes and the factors that influence their choices to attend. The project investigates the link between attendance, academic achievement and retention and aims to identify a more effective alignment between the conception of expectations and the provision of a quality learning experience for STEPS students. The premise is that this alignment may be facilitated by either changing or broadening students’ expectations to better match the reality of the university experience, or it may be that the program needs to adjust its approaches to student engagement to better meet the needs of students. The role of STEPS in creating a foundation for motivation, and developing autonomous study habits is critical, as it may determine the students’ willingness to commit to engaging more fully in undergraduate study. Class attendance has long been regarded as a vital component of a quality education, but with the accessibility of online material and the ever increasing opportunities to study online, the viability and value of face to face classes is being challenged. This research seeks to validate the positive impact class attendance has on student success and to enhance current teaching practices to ensure the STEPS program continues to deliver a quality learning experience that meets student and institutional expectations.