Engendering an Online Community: Supporting Students on the Transition into University Life

  • Sam J. Nolan
  • Megan Bruce
  • Steve Leech


In this chapter, we explore the issues facing students as they make the transition into higher education via a foundation year. To address some of these issues, we introduce the development of a short pre-arrival course for incoming foundation students. This course uses live web interactions, together with discussion boards and video interviews with staff and also with former students who have made the transition into university study. Student engagement with the site is evaluated both quantitatively and qualitatively through the use of focus groups.


International Student Student Engagement Discussion Board Current Student Video Interview 
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The authors thank Durham University for funding the majority of this work through its Enhancing the Student Learning Experience Award Scheme. Thanks must also go to our summer students Stephen Brayson, Frances Weetman, Jason Hustby and Sarah Learmonth, without whose tireless work this project would not have been possible. Finally, we thank the many tutors and students who gave up their time to take part in interviews.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sam J. Nolan
    • 1
  • Megan Bruce
    • 2
  • Steve Leech
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for AcademicResearcher and Organisation DevelopmentDurhamUK
  2. 2.Foundation CentreUniversity of DurhamDurhamUK

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