A learning place where a high-risk student cohort can succeed: curriculum, assessment and teacher recruitment
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AbstractThe Associate Degree in Dementia Care is a course offered by the University ofTasmania, developed in consultation with the Australian aged care industry to supportthe professional development of its workforce. Aged care workers do not typicallypossess higher education qualifications and the initial cohort of 180 students, consistedpredominantly of mature age, non-traditional students normally classified as 'high risk'of failing to meet the demands of a university level degree. The challenge in designing acourse targeting this workforce was to create a learning place in which students couldsucceed and, in turn, become change agents in the field of dementia care. This paperdescribes the rationale and method of course design and implementation, reports thedemographics and retention data for the first student cohort, and shares barriers toretention and progression. The course development approach aligned curriculum design(content and delivery) with staff recruitment and provision for student support. Theinterventions designed into the course, including a dedicated student support officer,highly scaffolded foundation units and blended learning delivery mode. Early outcomesevidence attrition rates comparable with the first year of undergraduate studies and lower than for other pre-degree courses. The authors argue the curricular approachunderpinning the broader course design provides a model for other pre-degree courseswhere enrolled students are at increased progression risk due to entry-level capabilitiesand personal background and where there is strong industry engagement in selectionand support of students.
TypeRefereed Conference Paper