Working with a group of six current students, Damien Homer and the Widening Participation team co-created a Moodle site for new students in advance of their arrival at Warwick. The primary aim of this project was to provide information and support for new students, dispel any myths about university life and to offer reassurance, particularly to those students without family experience of attending university. The secondary aim of the project was to work collaboratively with current Warwick students, who were able to contribute important insights into student life at Warwick, while gaining skills such as working as part of a team, working to deadlines and digital skills.
The pre-arrival module combined informative and interactive elements, and included videos, such as ‘A Day in the Life of a Warwick Student’, interactive PowerPoints, checklists and links to other department resources. Students also used HP5 software to create interactive quizzes and card games, for example around university terminology that might be unfamiliar to new students.
Damien Homer, Widening Participation and Outreach
- Damien and the Widening Participation team secured funding from the Warwick International Higher Education Academy, which allowed them to pay the students who collaborated on the module.
- The six students who worked on the module were recruited via UniTemps.
- Staff from across the university and Academic Technology provided the students with two-days of training, which covered using the relevant software, engaging with students online, design principles and web accessibility. This empowered the students to take the lead in designing the Moodle site.
- Students and staff worked together to put together the various elements on the Moodle site, often co-working in the same space. They utilised video technology, interactive PowerPoints and HP5 to make the Moodle site as engaging and interactive as possible.
- Colleagues from Academic Technology and the Academic Development Centre provided feedback throughout.
- Once the Moodle site was completed, links were sent to new students who had accepted their offers to study at Warwick.
- New students were free to visit the Moodle site in their own time, as little or as often as they wanted, and engage with as many elements as necessary.
- Working with students to design the Moodle site and its contents meant that they had a clearer insight into what new students wanted to know and were able to include information that might otherwise would have been missed by the Widening Participation team alone.
- Bringing on specialist colleagues to assist with things like design and technology as early on as possible was essential to the success of the project.
- Analytics showed that over half of all new students accessed the site, with many returning to it multiple times even once term had started. Analytics also showed that the best used parts of the site were those that utilised video.
- The site and its contents did not look professionally designed but this added to its authenticity and made it feel more like a resource created by students for students.