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SEED projects 2019 – A new Canvas for teaching and learning

TFC online orientation project

Dr Agnieszka ZabickaDr Agnieszka Zabicka (Faculty of Arts)

Tertiary Foundation Certificate (TFC) is the largest one-year pre-degree programme at the University. The cohort is around 220 students who come from a wide variety of educational, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, mostly equity groups such as Maori and Pacific Island students, students with disabilities, immigrants and refugees, mature learners and LGBTQ+ students.

My project aimed to identify at-risk students at an early stage, gather vital data on the students’ individual differences, and help them engage with university education within the framework of metacognition and growth mindset.

As part of the TFC Orientation, students used the computer labs to explore their online space at the University. The first step allowed the cohort to familiarise themselves with Canvas, and other online essentials in a fun, gamified activity, helping level the individual student differences in online literacy and course engagement. Another activity included the Online Trigger Assignment, a Canvas-based survey, as part of their compulsory English course. This was designed as a multiple-choice quiz, asking questions about internet usage, computer literacy, reading habits, hobbies and interests, as well as their hopes and fears connected with entering the University. This data provided a wealth of information that was discussed in the tutorials to promote the growth mindset framework and provide a basis for a discussion of the expectations and realities of university study.

The project was designed to maximise student engagement at a crucial early stage in the academic year. Giving the students an early opportunity to explore their online space had potential to help them realise the importance of Canvas and enhance online literacy skills. Early intervention has led to an increase in communication and monitoring of potential at-risk students, hopefully leading to improved course engagement and pass rates.