Digital transformation in student support

22nd May 2020

University is about more than just lectures and tutorials; it is about connecting with peers and socialising with your learning community.

This semester, QUT has successfully transitioned 1,180 units to an online learning mode, but outside of their usual learning activities, students are looking to engage with student support services and the broader QUT community.

Since transitioning to an online delivery model, the Student Success Group has worked diligently to provide support and connection using technology in creative ways.

Rob Johnson is a Senior Language and Learning Educator at QUT, and with Helen Donovan, cofacilitates the peer-to-peer support program for undergraduate nursing students - Nursing COMPASS (Collaborative Mentoring with Peer-Assisted Support for Success).

The program began in March 2020 as an in-person support session, but the transition to an online platform saw QUT Nursing COMPASS thrive.

“Attendance has more than doubled, and we have increased the sessions to twice a week,” said Rob.

“Now more than ever students need a place where they can chat to other students, a peer who has been through it or an educator who understands and get the help they need.”

QUT nursing student, Katarina, is one of the dedicated peer student leaders in the COMPASS program.

“I joined Nursing COMPASS to facilitate student success and to help students like me to complete assessments and succeed more broadly in their studies,“ said Katarina.

“I have found such happiness and satisfaction seeing students begin the session struggling, but leaving with more confidence and the skills to improve their work.”

“At QUT, lectures and many other materials have always been available online, so I find students are accustomed to online learning alongside in-class attendance - this made the transition to online workshops a lot smoother.”

As well as faculty specific programs like Nursing COMPASS, the Student Success Group is hosting other initiatives to maintain a sense of community online.

The student coaching sessions have been adapted to an online format, with students opting into these workshops to feel more connected and learn how to be adaptive in volatile and uncertain times.

There has also been a shift to online participation in QUT’s long running Speakeasy program, which is designed to support and refine students’ spoken communication skills in university, social, and professional contexts.

“The Speakeasy program is a no expectation gathering of students from across the university. There are no learning objectives, it’s just a session to talk and create a community connection,” said Rob.

Since the beginning of semester, 7938 participants have accessed group workshops hosted by the Student Success Group, 1515 participants have attended drop-in and 1-1 consultations and 400 participants have attended a coaching or micro-coaching session.


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