Many students are not prepared for the demands of third level education and first year experience programmes are designed to support this transition and supplement the necessary academic and life skills.
A first year experience package was introduced in two higher education institutes in Ireland (an Institute of Technology and a University): a Learning With Peers (LWP) programme led by trained senior student leaders; and a Skills Development Module (SDM) led by lecturers and is worth 5 ECTS. This research study explored two initiatives (i.e. the LWP and the SDM) and the impact on student engagement, teaching practice and institutional policy. The major themes that emerged from the study include: creating connections; making friends; understanding expectations; creating learning communities; teaching challenges; and resourcing and supporting the first year experience.
This paper was presented at the 2019 European Learning & Teaching Forum and reflects the views of the named authors only.