First Impressions: Effective Use of the First Week of University

By Theda Thomas.

Published by The International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 13, 2014 $US5.00

This paper focuses on the first week of the first year at university. It discusses the issues facing first year students in transitioning into university and provides ideas for lecturers about what they can do to support students’ sense of belonging at university and to engage students with their discipline. A semi-structured interview technique was used to determine what participating lecturers wanted to achieve in their discipline in the week and how they were trying to do it. Students were also surveyed at the start and end of their first tutorial to identify how they were feeling. The paper shows how student concerns can be ameliorated according to the methods employed by the lecturers and argues that a one-size-fits-all approach to transition will not work.

Keywords: First Year, First Year Curriculum, Higher Education, Orientation

International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum, Volume 20, Issue 4, November 2014, pp.65-76. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 13, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 730.883KB)).

Dr. Theda Thomas

Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching), Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Theda Thomas is the associate dean (Learning and Teaching) in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the Australian Catholic University. She has been teaching in higher education for more than twenty years and researching in learning and teaching for the past fifteen years. Her research interests are in helping students develop the non-discipline specific skills (often called graduate attributes) they need to make good employees. Special interests are in helping first-year students develop interpersonal skills, communication skills and critical thinking skills.