Teaching first year undergraduates at ANU

Lunch Vox Series 2022

First year teaching can be challenging when compared to teaching later year courses, which may partly be due to the size of many first year courses. First-year conveners experience challenges due to student expectations or inexperience with university systems and discourse (students may not know what a tutorial is or understand academic integrity). While students may experience anxieties about living away from home for the first time or have concerns about their ability to do well in university courses.

This session will explore the initiatives, practices and adjustments first-year conveners enact to ensure their first-year courses induct students into a discipline and support students in their ‘transition’ to the ANU.

Join CLT's the seventh edition of Lunch Vox – a webinar series that brings together a panel of local voices to dissect and debate the hot topics in teaching and learning. View previous editions and wrap ups here.

Date: October 13 at 12:15-1:15pm
Topic: “Teaching First Year Undergraduates at ANU

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Teaching First Year Undergraduates at ANU
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Our diverse panel for this edition will be composed of two ANU academics, one student and and one academic from UTS.  Read their full biographies here.

Students in their first year of study come from a range of backgrounds; conveners cannot necessarily assume that students know or have been inducted into a culture of academic integrity, for example, or that students know how to use a learning management system. The ANU is attempting to accept students from a wider range of backgrounds. While some students attend orientation activities, or might go on a library tour during O Week, for example, course conveners cannot assume that students arrive with basic knowledge about how to study at university, or about the resources available to them. 

In Australia, about 14.6% of domestic undergraduates do not complete their degrees (Department of Education, 2019); about 50% of these students leave during their first year. At the ANU, a proportion of students who do not complete their degrees are from traditionally underrepresented or marginalised groups such as those from low SES backgrounds. These students often do not wish to identify as marginalised or underrepresented. Embedding support into first year courses means that these students do not have to identify as disadvantaged and that all students have access to academic support.  

This panel will provide a range of perspectives on first year teaching from different academic disciplines. Panel members will discuss what kinds of practical innovations they have introduced to deal with the increased administrative load involved in teaching first year, as well as adjustments to assessment, and whether they integrate support from other areas of the university (such as the library, or the Wellbeing team).