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Student Engagement at CIT during Covid-19

Student Engagement at CIT during Covid-19

02 October, 2020

This coming academic year is going to be different because of the challenges associated with ensuring students can successfully manage the challenges associated with study while also ensuring their safety and well-being during COVID – 19. We are all working hard here at CIT/MTU to adjust to the changing circumstances and to ensure that our students, have the best student experience possible, in the current circumstances.


There are many pieces of the college student learning experience that will not change and many that will. Some will be better and some we will be working out together as we go along. How we get started this year must be different, we cannot risk student health and safety and yet we can, working positively together, move forward with our students’ education.  We urge all our students, both new and continuing, to bring their best selves to the opportunities that await, remote or not.


Starting a little later and learning remotely, using a blended approach of online, with more limited time on campus, will be challenging for students this year. It is not what our students expected, and not what we would have chosen for our students either, but please be assured we are doing our best to ensure that our student experience is as positive as it can be despite the challenges being faced by us all.


Given our institutional commitment to enhancing Student Engagement, Progression and Success, CIT are taking some very positive and concrete actions this year to maximise student opportunities to connect with other students and with course teaching and learning development teams.


We have successfully pivoted our unique Academic Success Coaching programme and Academic Learning Centre activities and supports to a virtual/blended learning environment.

 

Our well-known Good Start induction programme by students, for students, has already launched its social media campaign and 24 specially trained student Good Start Ambassadors are in place, working with the AnSEO (The Student Engagement Office) team. They are ready to facilitate our annual Just Ask! information campaigns/ pop up desks, virtual information campaign and Get Connected events. 


Many academic departments are planning their own tailored Transitions to CIT projects in collaboration with AnSEO.  


Added to these programmes this year, the AnSEO team are leading out on a new CIT wide Academic Mentoring programme – The Reach Initiative.


NEW! The Reach Initiative for 2020/21


Creating and Enhancing Presence, Connectedness and Engagement in Learning and Teaching in 20/21


Student feedback and research tell us that students value relationship with their lecturers and class groups /peers over and above anything else. This is one of our main challenges in the current context. How can we ensure that our students, are connected to CIT and build relationship/ presence in different times?


Given the student engagement challenges expected in a new type of learning and teaching reality, during COVID 19, the Reach Initiative is to specifically add a new layer of academic support and development for our students in what, we expect, will be a very challenging time for new and returning 2nd year students in particular. This initiative is a very practical and concrete CIT response to current challenges.


The Reach Initiative is a system of Academic Mentoring that will connect new students and continuing 2nd year students with an Academic Mentor (a selected member of teaching staff) who will proactively connect with their allocated group of students to reassure, support and mentor, throughout the coming academic year.


Academic Mentors will positively work with students to develop agency and independent learning skills, working closely with other CIT programmes such as Academic Success Coaching and Academic Learning Centre. 


Academic Mentors will gain insights and feedback from students enabling appropriate responses/ referrals etc for those students who might be struggling.


Academic Mentors will communicate and check in regularly with students through weekly announcements, updates, discussion groups, study groups online to simply see how they are doing and provide some trusted connection.


The Reach Initiative will reach out to students through its Academic Mentors, will encourage students to actively reach in to CIT and be proactive in making this year work while also encouraging students to reach up and not lose sight of their potential to progress and succeed regardless of the current challenges.


We will be posting more information on the Reach Initiative as it evolves on our website and AnSEO – The Student Engagement website. https://studentengagement.cit.ie/

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