The first year curriculum embraces and supports the diversity and reality of students’ backgrounds, previous experiences and preparedness for university.

Good first year curriculum design acknowledges student diversity because diversity may exacerbate transition issues and, in the current massified sector, few assumptions can be made about students’ entering knowledge, skills and attitudes. Diversity in this context is very broad and includes, for example, membership of at-risk or equity groups, non-traditional cohorts, and students’ various patterns and timing of engagement with the first year curriculum (e.g., mid-year entry).

For example:

  • students might be made aware of the diversity of their learning preference/ personality type/ preferred team role/ etc through self-reflective exercises;
  • online quizzes could be made available to students to complete at their own pace;
  • a diversity of learning, teaching and assessment approaches might be employed;
  • attention could be paid to the scaffolding of academic skills and learning processes (e.g., by scaffolding reading through subject workbooks; discipline writing workshops in class time);
  • self refection of the individual student’s own cultural “grab-bag” might be incorporated.

See: S. Kift. (2008). The next, great first year challenge: Sustaining, coordinating and embedding coherent institution–wide approaches to enact the FYE as “everybody’s business”. In 11th International Pacific Rim First Year in Higher Education Conference, An Apple for the Learner: Celebrating the First Year Experience, 2008, Hobart, 16. Retrieved August 14, 2008 from http://www.fyhe.com.au/past_papers/papers08/FYHE2008/content/pdfs/Keynote%20-%20Kift.pdf (pdf 280KB)