University of Worcester Case Study

The challenge

The University of Worcester is one of the fastest growing in the country and its popularity is based on:

  • Innovative and highly relevant courses
  • Excellent, inspiring teaching
  • A truly friendly, inclusive approach with excellent student support
  • An outstanding record of graduate employment

The University wanted to build on its success with a programme that would improve access to learning resources, support and improve attainment and contribute to their widening participation activity.

The solution

The University decided to introduce both an Aspire Engage cashless bursary scheme and to pilot an Aspire Connect scheme for selected courses.

How it works

Aspire Engage scheme

Branded the Reach Study Scheme, students receive a Reach branded smartcard with funds loaded that can be used to purchase a wide variety of learning resources. Working with the University, JS Group developed a specific online store for students at www.worcester-reach.co.uk where students can find recommended resources directly related to the course they are on.

Aspire Connect pilot

In addition, the University is running a trial on three courses, psychology, law and mental health nursing, where students receive a tablet that has been pre-loaded with their recommended textbooks, links to University resources, OERs, polling software and other educational apps.

The better outcome

Student response

Student response to the Reach programme has been very positive with significant increases in survey feedback on engagement and learning support. This feedback reflects the high levels of engagement seen with the tablet trial where over 98% of students are active users and where students and staff are using devices, texts and apps as an integral part of the learning experience.

Well I’m on the reach program and it really helps to have something in front of me that I can refer to as we are working through the theory In a lecture or seminar. Sometimes our lecturer will give us tasks or quizzes to do as well.

I’m on the Reach program, the supplies I got off it and having everything in one place was really useful. It made revising and recapping work so easy.

For me the reach program makes it so much easier, it’s so good to have something small that you can carry into the lectures and take notes and work through interactively. We’ve used the quizzes as well and it’s really good that I can go back to them and use them as a revision technique to prepare for my exams and assignments.

Results

As well as seeing improved levels of student engagement, the pilot is producing encouraging results.

As Val Yates, Director of Access and Inclusion, comments:

“Staff and students embraced the use of the devices from the very start of the trial. The course teams applied the use of the devices in a range of ways to suit the needs of the cohorts – for example, in the law courses the use of law databases in class enable students to engage with the material directly in the classroom, to compare, in psychology and nursing the tablets provide opportunity for the use of quizzes, live polling and off site support for students on placements

Though in its early days the pilot is yielding some exciting results:

  • 98% of students have become regular users of the devices, both in class and outside.
  • Levels of satisfaction amongst students participating in the trial is very high, there has been a substantial increase in students feeling engaged with the module (+10%) and satisfaction with feedback helping learning (+22%) student feedback suggests that the use of the devices in the classroom to provide feedback and assessment has been a major influence of this.
  • Attainment has improved in the trial group, in psychology, there has been an increase of 12% in A’s and reduction of 6% in D’s.
  • The students have formed a peer support network to ensure that all students can engage with the devices fully. – ‘The Tableteers’ have also formed a student led review group.”

To find out more about Aspire Connect please contact, David Fox, HE Partnerships Director on

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