Supporting students' transition into their studies

Many students will have had very little experience of being in an in-person class setting during the last 18 months either at high school or in their 1st or 2nd year of undergraduate study. PGT students may also have completed their final year of UG study online, and/or undertaken pre-sessional courses online.  Therefore, it’s likely there will need to be more programme-specific induction and introduction; more input in terms of learning skills; and academic areas may need to introduce some peer-support or other learning-related or study support activity to build students’ skills, confidence and sense of community. It may be that there is an opportunity for more group-based formative assessment activity within this mix.

To help meet some of these needs, the Transitions Working Group is further developing the pre-arrival support that was created last year, and efforts will be made to widen awareness of the induction materials and template that Schools can use and then customise for their students.  There is already some work underway to incorporate subject-specific elements into pre-arrival materials. A brief overview of this work is detailed below and colleagues who would like more information are advised to contact Catherine Omand who is the clerk to this group.

Glasgow Essentials

An open resource available for all incoming students to access without the need for a student GUID. The structure is based within Moodle, beginning a student’s exposure to the VLE system they will use in their studies.  It includes information and activity focussed on clarifying, and managing, expectations of what it means to be a student at the University of Glasgow.  This includes networking, social connections and communication opportunities.  In addition, it aims to increase awareness and clarity of the University’s structure, terminology, and systems in advance of students accessing the College, School, Service, or course specific resources.  Specifically, Glasgow Essentials takes students through Life as a Student, Learning at University, and Navigating the University.

Glasgow Essentials is undergoing a review to evaluate the user experience and further develop the content for the upcoming academic session.

Induction Template

A College/School specific Induction template was created in Moodle and disseminated to all Schools and Colleges in July 2020.  This site was designed to incorporate all the essential information and resources that are known to be important in supporting a student’s transition to their studies. The template was designed to be either fully customisable by each College/School as appropriate or parts could be taken and used in combination with existing induction resources. 

There was particular emphasis put on the need for an extended induction experience.  I.e., continuous activity that supports students become fully embedded across their full first year of study, not just in the first few weeks of the semester.

Online Learning & Assessment support Moodle

This site was designed to guide students through the essential elements of learning, studying and researching online.  This resource complements materials available via other sources, e.g. Glasgow anywhere, and aims to help students adapt to their new learning environment this year.

Transitions-In Courses

Two courses, one for Arts and Social Sciences and one for CoSE and MVLS, are being designed for delivery in August/September 2021.  Running for 2-weeks in advance of the start of semester these courses will provide incoming undergraduates with experience of University learning, life, study, and assessment. The courses will offer students a range of subject-aligned electives, alongside core academic skills and academic writing development timetabled provision. The courses will be offered to all incoming students (except students on Widening Participation Summer School programmes who will have alternative courses to participate in). Students that successfully complete the course will have also completed the requirements for the Academic Writing Skills Programme (AWSP). The courses will be available as an open resource and not require a student GUID to access.

Student Learning Development/LEADS Courses

Student Learning Development (SLD) will continue to run a fully online version of the Academic Writing Skills Programme (AWSP). Compulsory for all incoming undergraduate and postgraduate taught students, the AWSP provides all students with the opportunity to receive feedback on their written work in advance of first summative assessments. Some students will be referred to a fully asynchronous writing course and others will be referred to a synchronous writing course in order to complete AWSP.

In addition, PGT students entering the University with specific Duolingo language qualifications will be automatically enrolled onto a compulsory in-sessional academic writing and language course. Run jointly between SLD and the College of Social Sciences, the semester-long course provides these students with small group teaching to further enhance and embed abilities in academic writing and language. This will be the second year that the course has run, and student feedback from the pilot year has been exceptionally positive.

Lastly, SLD staff will continue to work across all four Colleges in the delivery of tailored, bespoke academic skills and academic writing development. There are Effective Learning Advisers for each College, and Effective Learning Advisers who work specifically with International students. Information can be found on the SLD website: or by contacting Dr Andrew Struan.