A Student Coaching Scheme for First Year University Students: Positive Learning Experiences and Individual Success in Biosciences

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Students studying Nursing and Midwifery at the University of South Australia, Australia, come from widely diverse cultural, linguistic and educational backgrounds and are challenged by the differing disciplinary demands that constitute the Bachelor of Nursing and Midwifery degree including sociology, psychology and bioscience courses. The variation in their preparedness for learning science in particular presents lecturers of Human Biosciences courses with challenges of finding ways to maximise each student’s learning and of alleviating the negative effects of high levels of anxiety. Students are offered a range of supports like online exercises and a handout on “How to learn Bioscience” but the addition of the ‘Student Coaching Scheme’ (SCS) has provided an effective and efficient process for peer support for individual and small groups of nursing and midwifery students. It recognises and rewards successful senior students, provides individual and group coaching for students with little or no science learning background, provides employment, and reduces the workloads of the Course Coordinators and other teaching staff. Evaluation of the SCS has shown that the scheme is successful in increasing the chances of students passing the course. Coaches are enthusiastic about the program and the opportunity to help fellow students, as well as improving their own skills. The scheme has had a positive impact on student learning outcomes and the Student Coaches support expanding the scheme to increase the level of uptake. Recommendations from the coaches to further improve the scheme are under consideration by the faculty. As well as the individual sessions between coaches and students, further revision classes have been trialled prior to the final examination for Human Biosciences courses.


Keywords: Student Coaching Scheme, First Year Students, Nursing Students, Learning Bioscience
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Student Coaching Scheme for First Year University Students, A


Dr. Jyothi Thalluri

Senior Lecturer, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences
Division of Health Sciences
University of South Australia, Universit of South Australia

Adelaide, SA, Australia

Jyothi Thalluri holds a doctorate degree in Neurosciences from Australian National University, Canberra. She has over 21 years of teaching experience at the University of South Australia. She teaches Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Pathophysiology, Pathology and Neurosciences to various programs across the division.

Beverley Kokkinn

Learning Adviser, Division of Health Sciences, University of South Australia
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia


Dr. Jackie O'Flaherty

Lecturer, Division of Health Sciences, University of South Australia
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia


Ref: L08P0547