Using the on-line environment to support foundation degree (level 5) students in their progression to honours degree (level 6).
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This project aimed to provide information and develop relationships between progressing students and university staff in order to improve their progression experiences. To design, pilot and evaluate the use of a web-site to support Early Childhood Studies (ECS) students in their progression from foundation degree at a partner college to honours degree at Plymouth University.
Foundation degrees were introduced in the UK in 2000 by the Department for Education and Skills as a qualification which balanced intermediate academic skills with vocational skills (QAA 2004a). One of the many defining characteristics of foundation degrees was that they were expected to widen participation and attract students from non-traditional higher educational backgrounds (QAA 2004a). Although Foundation Degrees are seen as providing ‘self-standing qualifications of specific value’ (QAA 2004a) there is also the requirement that all students who pass their foundation degree have the opportunity to automatically progress onto the third year of an honours degree (QAA 2004a) and that this progression from foundation degree to honours is ‘smooth’ (HEFCE 2008:44). However, a Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) report (2004b), found that one-third of all reviews of foundation degrees identified areas for development in the area of student progression and other projects have also found similar results (University of Plymouth SPAT Project) and this has also been identified by research (Morgan 2013).
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