02 October 2018

New (academic) year's resolutions

During the Anglesey fieldtrip I spoke with one of the students, who had a whole list of conditions that don't help with an university education. Autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia. If we have students with similar conditions we are informed about it. Or rather, we do get some information. Often it's very concise! It might just say 'needs essay advice' or 'needs research advice' or 'needs assessment adjustment' but that tends to be it. If you're lucky there is a note attached which says something about this specific person. But after talking to this one student I figured I should be proactive with these things! So I invited everyone with such an indication (a Personal Learning Support Plan or PLSP) to come and see me before my module would start. What sort of information did they need, what sort of adjustments were in order?

One student mailed back she appreciated it but didn't think she needed extra guidance, and one mailed back saying he wanted to talk a bit later in the module, after knowing a bit more what it was all about. And I've met up with seven students already. One basically said he wasn't worried; that was a quick meeting. Another one also wanted to postpone the conversation. And then there were two who just wanted to know in a bit more detail what the assessments were like. And then two that needed adjustment: one wanted a schedule to stick with, as she said she wasn't good at time management and wanted to know by when to have what bits of the essay written. And one who struggled with group work so I excluded her from it (it's not essential for the module).

The fieldwork is already paying off! I don't think any of these students would have approached me individually. And I have done something useful for four students already. And I hope the other ones appreciate that I was interested in their individual needs. And having a one to one conversation is also just nice to get to know each other. I like dealing with people much more than with ticks on a list! And I am sure students prefer to be people rather than ticks...

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