TAG was funded by JISC under the Institutional Innovation Programme (Phase Two).
TAG – The Alternative Guide (to UCLan) was based on an interactive website, which provides a dynamic platform for projects within UCLan to support students in their transition into higher education. The tool provides information, written by students, that allows potential students to develop realistic expectations of HE. The tool will guide students to identify the skills and attributes required in HE and how to start developing them prior to arrival through support, formative assessment and problem based learning. The tool allows students to access to online tours of UCLan to enable them to become orientated with the campus prior to arrival. The social aspect of the site utilises Web 2.0 technology to encourage students to develop relationships and peer support and to share concerns or seek advice to support them in their transition.
The original aims and objectives, outlined in the project plan were;
This was to be achieved by producing a dynamic website that will act as a platform for other developments designed to support students in their transition into higher education and to promote best practice both internally and externally.
The tool aims to engage users, supporting students in their move into higher education, identifying at an early stage issues students need to be aware of during the period of time from when a student applies to UCLan until the submission of their first assessment. TAG aims to be an alternative guide to UCLan, providing information and sharing experiences of current students, which gives the students information not usually included in the marketing of a university. The information and the activities available through TAG will help the students develop realistic expectations of higher education and give them a starting point to identify and develop the skills they will need on their course.
As the project has developed, it has been identified that the overall aim of the project is to enable students to develop realistic expectations of HE to aid retention.
The reasoning behind the change of aim is that for UCLan, the concept of TAG, delivered as an individual website seems to work. However, other institutions may prefer to apply the TAG method using a different approach. They may wish to only take elements of the TAG project and apply them to work they are currently undertaking, which might be more suitable to their institution. However, the overall aim of enabling students to develop realistic expectations remains the same.
The TAG Team also identified another key benefit of their approach to the TAG project. By encouraging students to produce the content for TAG they were able to offer the students a means to develop their employability. This has become a second aim of the TAG project. As a result students have engaged with other aspects of the projects, not just producing content. This was an interesting development as one of the concerns of JISC was the risk of students not engaging in the project.
The key output of the TAG project was the TAG website itself
Other outputs are;