Right time, right space? Developing an online transition course for new undergraduates

Kim Shahabudin, Sonia Hood, Michelle Reid


This case study describes the development of a pre-entry transition course for new undergraduate students and its delivery online using a commercial open online course platform. Use of this ‘third space’ platform, and the additional in-house support that accompanied it, were essential in creating a professional-looking course to maximise interest among an entire cohort of undergraduates at the start of their academic careers, while the pre-entry timing aimed to engage students before they became engrossed in subject learning. The course had dual aims: to support students in the development of new academic skills and to build a sense of community and identification with the University before arrival. Videos of current students and academic tutors provided a face-to-face introduction to the university while articles and activities on academic skills were informed by professional learning development experience and expertise. Non-compulsory enrolment attracted 64% of eligible students, 40.2% of which marked 90% or more of the course as completed. The course is now undergoing revision in response to student feedback for next year’s iteration.


Transition; first year experience; study skills; undergraduate; online teaching; MOOC; widening participation; diversity; inclusion; orientation; induction; community; online mentoring

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ISSN: 1759-667X