Teaching & Learning


Sixth-formers and students brainstorm Introductory Programme

28 October 2016

Pupils from UCL’s partner schools joined undergraduate students last week to brainstorm ways of supporting the transition to university.

Students at IP workshop

Five year 13 pupils from City and Islington College, UCL Academy and Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre joined current students at the workshop, which was designed to inform the development of the new online Introductory Programme.

The session followed workshops for academic (May 2016) and professional services staff (July 2016) about the Programme, which aims to prepare incoming undergraduates for life and study at UCL. Three Academic Content Developers will soon begin researching and writing content for the Programme and will be contacting colleagues from January 2017.

The Programme will be piloted in 2018-19. When fully up and running it is envisaged that 4,000 first year undergraduates will interact with the online programme prior to their arrival at UCL. The Programme will help them make contacts and then meet face to face at the start of session. 

Pupils from partner schools and undergraduates alike agreed that the Programme should convey what it is really like to be a student at UCL, including where to find study spaces, good places to eat, how to access UCLU, and life in a student residence. Most of all, the participants wanted to hear from students themselves – to view a ‘day in the life’ of a UCL student, to learn more about lectures, seminars and tutorials, to link up online with a ‘buddy’ who could guide them through any issues and questions they might have.

Managing the transition from school to university was highlighted, as well as getting to know London. Students wanted an explanation of the transport system, interactive maps of museums and galleries, and a Facebook page for sharing advice and tips on where (and where not) to go. From a pastoral perspective, they were interested in advice from fellow students about wellbeing, how to eat healthily on a budget, and where to go for fitness ideas.

Research was a very strong theme running through the discussions. Current students were proud of the fact that UCL has so many Nobel Prize-winners and famous alumni, and that it is at the forefront of research in areas such as dementia. They felt it would be important to emphasise how research at UCL directly and indirectly benefits them.

Participants had creative ideas about how the programme could be delivered interactively across a range of digital channels. There was even the suggestion of a game format along the lines of Pokemon Go, or a check-in game where participants who achieve 10 different check-ins receive a free pizza. 

Paiwand Mohammed, a pupil at UCL Academy, hoping to study Medicine said, ‘I really enjoyed the experience. I think that what is being done is very useful especially to those who may find it difficult to navigate around UCL. Programmes like this would be very informative to new students joining the university and beginning their campus life.'

For further information or if you would like to get involved in the Programme, please contact Judith Hillmore at j.hillmore@ucl.ac.uk

For information on UCL’s Education Partnerships, please emai leducationpartnerships@ucl.ac.uk