Enhancing a Bridge Program with the First Year Experience Concept

Abstract

In September 2014, the Petroleum Institute (PI) in Abu Dhabi adapted the Freshman Year Experience concept to its Bridge, or Foundation, Program in an attempt to enhance student learning and improve student retention. This presentation describes how the First Year Experience program was implemented in terms of human resources and financial cost. It concludes with the results of feedback from a student survey.The PI Bridge Program was created with three branches: Skills, Success and Socialize. The Skills Workshop included lunchtime interactive lectures for students on a variety of topics, such as Coping with Exam Stress, Apps for TOEFL and even an exercise class on the benefits of TaiChi. Once the Skills Workshop was underway, a Success branch was introduced. The Success component of FYE- Bridge matched students to academic advisors who would guide students in areas such as study skills and self-reflection/analysis. The final component, Socialize, which included competitions, sports events and excursions for all students was then launched to complete the trinity. The first semester of FYE-Bridge culminated in an awards ceremony where students were rewarded for their participation in the program which was evidenced by the number of FYE Bridge stamps they received in a passport from the branch co-ordinators, presenters and teachers. The aim of this presentation is to provide stakeholders in both private and public English language learning institutions with the inspiration and framework upon which to build their own FYE Bridge with minimal impact on workload and budget, but maximum impact on student learning and retention.



Author Information
Ronald H. Jones, The Petroleum Institute, UAE

Paper Information
Conference: ACLL2015
Stream: Learning Environments

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