Recently Funded Projects

The project funding supports specific interventions at LJMU that can be shown to enhance the learning experience and engagement of second year students. The project call was advertised across the University to both academic and non academic staff. The following is a summary of proposed activity from successful bidders. As a result of these projects generic resources will become available for wider use across the University and HE sector.

Project Leader Simon Brooman Principal Lecturer in Law.

Project Title ‘A tripartite approach to tackling the Sophomore Slump in the School of Law; enhanced induction, enhanced support and student involvement in curriculum redesign’ This wide-ranging project aims to better understand the needs of second year Law students and their course experiences, as well as to develop and evaluate innovations introduced to enhance this experience. Many of the findings should be transferable to other disciplines. The reasons why students complete or do not complete their courses are complex (McQueen, 2009) and developing multiple interventions is key to addressing at least some of the possible causes.

Project Update  Project Update November 2012 Simon Brooman

Project Leader Jon Moorhouse Senior Lecturer Liverpool School of Art and Design

Project Title ‘Evaluating and Developing a student centred research project spanning levels 5, 6 and beyond’. This project will evaluate linked modules that initiate student-led research interests in second year (level 5). The second year modules aim to develop research proposals, identifying the student’s research interests and the investigating methodologies and ethical issues required to undertake the research. The outcomes will form a primer for the third year (level 6) module where the main body of the research is undertaken, creating an overt link between the two levels and providing opportunity for the student to pursue their interests throughout the summer break.

Project Leader Ester Ragonese Senior Lecturer in Criminal Justice School of Law

Project Title ‘Developing a Criminal Justice Community’. Having been a part of the staff focus groups for the Enhancing the 2nd Year Experience it became clear that as a Criminal Justice team we needed to focus more on our 2nd years and the transition from level 4 to 5. In an attempt to do this we introduced a formal induction for the 2nd years and set up a community blackboard site so that we could engage with the students during the summer break. We would now like to develop both of these areas to ensure that we as a team begin to engage in a more structured way with level 5 students and address their needs appropriately.

 Project Update   Developing A Criminal Justice Community for website

Project leader Dr Jenny Van Hoof Senior Lecturer School of Humanities and Social Science

Project Title ‘It’s so much harder than last year’: The student Experience of assessment and feedback at Level 5 The aim of this project is to build on the success of a C-SAP funded research project into the experiences of second year sociology students at LJMU. The research found that level five students have a different set of needs to those in level 4, who are adjusting to university life. At level 5, students were faced with an increased workload and the reality that their marks were beginning to ‘count’ towards their final degree (van Hooff, 2010). Assessment and feedback was the issue that concerned the students taking part in the research most.

For this project I would aim to review the assessments that students have to undertake, and survey all of the students in the year on their experiences of it. This will be followed up with focus groups with smaller numbers of students to further explore the issue of assessment at Level 5. The research will follow an action research methodology, with potential improvements quickly be actioned and established within the Sociology programme, to benefit the following cohort of Level 5 students. In keeping with the action research approach the interventions will be evaluated the next academic year using focus groups with the Level 5 students affected by the changes.

Project Leader David McIlroy Programme Manager School of Natural Sciences and Psychology

Project Title ‘Exploring Assessment, Communication and Community in the context of Undergraduate Second Year Experience’. There are three strands to this study. Firstly it will explore and disseminate good assessment practice, at Level 5, from across the university. Secondly, ways of managing student expectations of the second year will be investigated. Finally, in partnership with LSU, ways of developing a cohort identity, particularly for second year students will be examined. This research will be primarily conducted in the School of Natural Sciences and Psychology and will cover a range of programmes including Biology, Zoology, Geography and Psychology. Some of these programmes have been shown to have a consistent second year performance dip.