BeFlex Plus case Study
Project No. 134538LLP120071BEERASMUSEMHE 1. Title:
Increasing access to and preparation for higher education (HE) from people with few of no educational entry qualifications 2. Institutions:
Staffordshire University, Stoke College, Stafford College, Burton College, Acacia Training, Lifelong Learning Network 3. Context, purpose, objectives
The skills of students entering university have been questioned and many suggest there has been a decline in the literacy and numeracy skills of university entrants (Kitchen 1999; Shaw & Shaw 1997). Holder et al. (1999) identified that nearly half the entrants to a pharmacy degree had insufficient English language resources. Shepherd (2006a) reported on the low levels of numeracy, literacy and knowledge of new entrants to university forcing academic staff to delay subject teaching to undertake remedial work. In a further article she asserted that overseas students were better at English grammar than British students (Shepherd 2006b). The two awards are very similar but differ in level. The award is offered at level 0 and level 1 and comprises two modules: University Foundation Certificate in HE (level 0) Module: Portfolio of literacy and numeracy evidence • Certificate in Continuous Professional Development: Skills for HE (level 1) Module: Literacy and numeracy entry to HE These courses will build on the student’s knowledge and skills in numeracy, literacy, study, reflection and information technology. Student’s study skills including their ability to undertake academic work will be enhanced. Demonstrate a range of literacy and numeracy skills via a portfolio of evidence Access and use materials in order to inform their own learning development Use essential skills needed for HE to complete assessments Engage in personal reflection for learning Demonstrate a range of literacy and numeracy skills via a portfolio of evidence Access and use materials in order to inform their own learning development Use essential skills needed for HE to complete assessments Engage in personal reflection to evaluate personal learning and plan changes Learning outcomes at level 1 The learning outcomes for the award: Certificate in Continuous Professional Development: Skills for Higher Education have been mapped to Staffordshire University level 1 learning outcomes (Staffordshire University 2002). The University has adopted the Qualifications Framework for Higher Education (QAA 2001) and incorporated them into the table of eight Staffordshire University common learning outcome statements. 4. Activities
The following are the unique and innovative features of these awards: • Both have open access and do not require any particular entry criteria • The modules making up the award are offered at a choice of level (0 or 1) but are delivered together thus enabling students to change level after they have started their study • Achievement of the level 0 or level 1 award guarantees (with a progression agreement) an interview for a place on a full time pre registration undergraduate nursing course (adult, children’s or mental health) • Students studying at level 1 could use the APEL scheme to gain credit on future courses that include a • The modules are being delivered in further education, a private training organisation and the university thus maximising the opportunities to gain access to it for prospective students • There is considerable flexibility within the modules making up the award in terms of delivery site, delivery • Tutorial support to enable successful completion of the modules/award is offered in a wide variety of ways and in a wide variety of locations to increase retention of students • Contact time and methods of contact have been planned in a way that enables students who have travel, childcare or financial issues the best opportunities for success • Regular and early formative feedback is a key feature and occurs in a wide variety of ways throughout the • The awards are delivered by highly qualified and experienced teaching staff, but more particularly by those who have a special interest and belief in education for all and have experience of working with disadvantaged people to enable them to grow, develop and realise their potential • The awards are stand alone qualifications and as such will have currency for some time, thus enabling successful completers to take a break from study but use the qualification and skills and knowledge gained at a later date • All students have full access to the universities learning resources and are also supplied with a CD Rom with the materials and activities to support the Skills for HE module
5. The last 18 months / 2 years
The awards are relatively new. They were developed at the beginning of 2008 and one module from the award (Skills for HE) was first delivered within two further education colleges and acacia training (a private training organisation) over the summer. Data from these first modules and the subsequent two being delivered within the university (Faculty of Health) are being gathered for evaluative research purposes (and this is being funded by the Lifelong Learning Network). By January 2009 the Skills for HE module will have been delivered five times. The module focused on literacy and numeracy has been delivered as a stand alone module since 2004 and was updated in 2008 and added to the skills to HE module to compliment it and make a short award. Research related to the literacy and numeracy module has already been completed which demonstrates its effectiveness. 6. The Bologna reforms
This short course provision is largely unaffected by Bolonga reforms and ECTS have not impacted on this provision. However, the widening participation credentials, the removal of entry qualifications, flexible delivery and the addressing of relevant regional skills deficits would seem to be consistent with ULLL. The use of APL/RPL and learning outcomes are embedded in all University provision. The University APL policy is extensive and a possible example of how APL/RPL can be developed more widely across national boundaries. Please see The involvement of the LLN in this provision may signal a possible way forward re ECT in that the courses will possess a regional validity for all HEIs. 7. Access to education for adult learners
The two awards were designed to equip prospective students with the necessary skills for successful study thus increasing their confidence and enjoyment of education. The awards were aimed at people with few or no educational qualifications and successful completion of this short award is designed to give entry to higher education. Students completing one or both modules making up the award are guaranteed an interview for a full time undergraduate pre registration nursing course (adult, mental health or children’s). 8. Recommendations for dissemination
• Gather course materials including copies of the CD Rom • Discuss with course team issues of development and delivery • Select staff to be involved who have a special interest in enabling non traditional university students to • Build in strategies for retention as this is a high risk group for non completion • Market the awards in the right places and ensure that no academic language is used and that anything that could be perceived as ‘scary’ is reduced • Build in a method of evaluation from the beginning • Be prepared to share and publish findings • Advertise the success of the course and get successful students tell their family and friends • Be prepared to convince your academic colleagues of the benefits
9. Additional information
Research related to the literacy and numeracy entry to university can be requested from either of the contacts named below 10. Contact information
Sheri RhodesMartin Principal Lecturer in Mental Health Faculty of Health Staffordshire University Award Lead, who can be contacted: Royal Shrewsbury Hospital Mytton Oak Road Shrewsbury SY3 8XQ Tel: 01743 261136 Mrs. Wendy Munro Lifelong Learning Network Staffordshire University Blackheath Lane Stafford ST18 0AD Tel: 01785 353657 Fax: 01785 353666


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