The process of transitioning into a third-level learning environment can present cognitive, behavioural and emotional challenges for first-year students (Chipchase et al., 2017). When these challenges are not adequately addressed, students’ motivation to engage with their academic programmes may suffer, hindering academic progression. Motivation underpins students’ ability to generate and accomplish goals (Locke & Latham, 1990); Anderson (2006) regards it as being “The best predictor of student retention”. Consequently, providing “proactive motivational support” (Simpson, 2013) is vital for students’ success and for university programmes to accomplish their teaching & learning goals. Against this backdrop, University College Dublin’s (UCD) ‘Live Engagement & Attendance Project’ (LEAP) examines the effectiveness, application and scalability of a digital attendance management system that enables students to personally ‘check in’ at lectures and track their attendance via their smartphones using Bluetooth technology. Through the utilisation and application of real-time attendance analytics, UCD LEAP aims to not simply monitor students’ engagement and attendance, but to develop a proactive motivational support that can assist students in their transition into university. For students, UCD LEAP aims to foster their intrinsic motivation to participate in their academic programmes by supporting autonomy, competency and relatedness (Deci & Ryan, 2000). For academic and advisory staff, it aims to help ensure that they are best placed to offer personalised and timely supports when diminished student motivation becomes apparent. This includes, where appropriate, interventions via the Student Advisory Service, UCD’s pastoral support arm. This presentation explores UCD LEAP’s theoretical framework and examines ongoing research findings.
Maurice Kinsella, University College Dublin, Ireland
Niamh Nestor, University College Dublin, Ireland
Susan Rackard, University College Dublin, Ireland
Jason Last, University College Dublin, Ireland
John Wyatt, University College Dublin, Ireland
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