The University of Prince Edward Island is offering a free, five-week course called ‘Experience U’ to introduce students to the university experience – and to answer some of the questions often asked by new students.
Designed to be a primer that will give students an overview of university and a context for the preparations and decisions they will need to make, the course is offered over a MOOC (massive open online course) platform and starts Wednesday, October 19. Students can sign up at http://xpu.ca/join.
Hon. Doug Currie, minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, heard about the web-based offering, appropriately, over Twitter, and was quick to endorse the idea, “It is so important engage our youth in the way they like to connect. Experience U is a fantastic initiative from UPEI to provide students with some of the basic information they need— especially those who might be the first ones in their family to consider university—over a technologically current platform.” After learning more about the program, Minister Currie has arranged for information to be sent to high school principals and guidance counsellors so they will encourage their students to register for the course.
For each week of the course, there is an introductory video that gives an overview of the topics to be covered, a live online event that features discussions with current university students and professors, and an assignment that will engage participants. The course is approximately a 10–15 hour commitment (2–3 hours a week) over five weeks, ending Sunday, November 20.
Themes over the five weeks include: week 1, what’s a student; week 2, what’s a professor; week 3, what’s a syllabus; week 4, what’s research; and week 5, how do I succeed at university?
Dave Cormier, manager of Web Communications and Innovations at UPEI, who is leading the delivery of the course, said, “Not only does Experience U give an overview to prospective university students, it also provides a glimpse of how university courses may be delivered in the future. The course uses new ways of connecting online as the method by which to actually deliver the learning.”
In the case of Experience U, students can choose to work in the online space if they like or they can put their work in their own space at their school or on the web.
UPEI Vice-President Academic Jim Randall added, “At Experience U, students have the chance to work with professionals and peers in an online environment, but are responsible for their own work—which is likely the most important aspect of university life that new university students face. Students that take the Experience U course will be equipped with this skill before they head off to university.”
The Experience U project is supported by the Office of the Vice President Academic at UPEI through a Strategic Initiative Fund (SIF) that encourages creative student engagement ideas.
More information is available at http://xpu.ca.