12 Dec 2018

SPOTLIGHT ON…University of Dundee's STEP UP modules to aid transition and articulation

This ‘SPOTLIGHT ON’ features the University of Dundee’s STEP UP modules which facilitate articulation for students from the neighbouring Dundee and Angus College. The modules support transition from the college to university and focus on the key academic skills required for direct entry into the second year.

We spoke to Tom Cunningham, Academic Tutor from the Academic Skills Centre at Dundee to find out more!

A short summary of how the STEP UP module works

The STEP UP module is a credit-bearing Level 1 module running in semester 2. It is designed and delivered by staff from the Academic Skills Centre in collaboration with Academic and Support staff from across the university. The modules are aimed at enabling effective transitions from college to university for Associate Students from Dundee and Angus College in the Humanities and Art & Design (DJCAD) subject areas. Associate Students spend their first year at Dundee and Angus College completing an HNC while also being fully matriculated at the University of Dundee. They articulate into Level 2 on a 1+3 programme - so the STEP UP module runs alongside their work at college.

Developing and delivering the STEP UP modules with students

The first cohort of students (2016/17) took part in a research project on the effectiveness of the module in terms of student confidence, academic skills and how prepared they felt for university. This took the form of quantitative data and an end of module focus group. The results of this were used to enhance the module for 2017/18; including offering students the option to write essays on their degree choice rather than a generic question as was done previously. In addition, a discussion session from previous Associate Students on their experiences of articulation and transition from college to university was run, and more on the 'soft skills' such as finding seminar rooms or library resources were input to the module.

As part of the development of the module, in January 2019, a new reflective assignment for a further 10% of the module grade will be implemented. This will take the form of a 'creative output' to give students flexibility to approach this how they see fit.

Feedback from students

"STEP UP is like polish, polishing off the rough edges. There is a way that academic work is supposed to be done."

"Before we started the STEP UP module, we very much felt like college students because this is where we always were. [...] When you came on to actual campus to be there once a week and associating with the staff and being sent off to do research in the library or, as we discovered, all the hidden IT suites at the bottom of the tower building which never knew were there. It was good to get to know the place and to get to know people in it."

"For the first time you actually felt like you were a university student rather than a college student."

"[The tutors] gave you a lot more independence, it’s almost like they see you as adults and they taught you that way."

"It’s working for me so well [note-taking technique]. I would never have known about that if it wasn’t taught to me in STEP UP. I feel like now my revision is so much more effective because of that way of notetaking."

For more information about Dundee’s STEP UP modules, please visit https://www.dundee.ac.uk/academic-skills/for-students/modules/ or contact Tom Cunningham - t.cunningham@dundee.ac.uk 

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