LEAP (Learning Enhancement Academic Partnership) formerly: Where’s the one-stop study shop at UBC?

TitleLEAP (Learning Enhancement Academic Partnership) formerly: Where’s the one-stop study shop at UBC?
Faculty/College/UnitVP Students
Duration1 Year
Project Summary

What: LEAP's (www.leap.ubc.ca) goal is to provide first and second year students with a coordinated and collaborative point of contact for their academic success. This portal provides supplemental learning
support and opportunities for academic enhancement opportunities by offering access to online and
campus based resources, peer support, tutorial sessions and technology supported tools. The
overarching goal is to support student success. This TLEF embeds AMS Tutoring, (Prior to 2005 this
service received 10 years of annual funding, for the last four years on average $35k), and the LEAP portal project.

Why: Remaining consistent with last year's application many of the factors that drive this project still exist: increasing admission GPAs, increasing levels of student stress, demands on current programs, and the evolving diversity of our students. Combined with limited resources to identify and address student
learning needs in the first years of university life, means that collaboration is necessary to effectively
support students. It is critical that the university maximize its resources, skills and connections with
students to provide meaningful and timely support through a single, easy to find contact point. Through continued partnership between the Alma Mater Society, Office of Learning Technology, current student
learners and the Office of the VP Students portfolio, we will further develop and enhance this student­
centred, peer-based, easy to access student service to better support academic success.

Institutional research confirms that our current students are not satisfied with the learning support provided by the University. Further, prospective students, comparing programs that build academic success/learning skills services at other research-based institutions, find our services both difficult to find and disappointingly limited in their offerings. These programs are important to support academic achievement, but also to define a supportive, student centred learning environment accessible to all students that will contribute to UBC's distinctive undergraduate program. This strategic partnership is ensuring that UBC can provide the academic resources and support, when and where students need them.

How: In this phase of the project, we will focus on implementation, with the following objectives in mind:

  • Work with identified faculty contacts in meeting their specific needs related to tutoring.
  • Develop a coordinated approach to this effort and specific project objectives, by providing staff training in theories and models related to supported learning contexts and strategic content learning.
  • Develop an integrated tutoring service approach by expanding and developing technologies tested in phase 1.
  • Integrate technology (where possible) with other projects on campus (ie. My UBC, Web Chat pilot) in order to increase personalization of the LEAP site.
  • Integrate tutoring development with Faculty projects where goals are compatible.
  • Develop student diary feature and calendaring components to provide added value to faculty-specific projects.

Specifically, we will continue to address the following services using an approach which encourages Faculty and departmental ownership and collaboration within our virtual shared space to develop the following resources for students:

  • AMS Tutoring program (face to face and online)
  • The Learning Skills Workshops
  • Peer Program (ie. Peer Academic Coaching, Study Groups, Web Chat)
  • Academic Resource Development (expand to include resources for specific needs associated with groups such as students with disabilities, international students, athletes and others
  • Supported Learning Groups (SLG)

An important foundation is the use of web technology to expand on and build the dynamic, interactive capacity that engages students more actively in their learning. This is not a project goal, as such, but a means to ensure accessibility, interactivity and integrated service delivery.

This project will continue to build an innovative hub of shared resources and programs to better meet the needs of students at UBC. Faculty and faculty advisors will have a comprehensive resource site for student referral and will have the opportunity to build on existing resources and incorporate selected resources into their own student support mechanisms as desired. Our partnerships allow us to build on expertise and leverage innovations developed for other projects to meet our project goals. We can point to a couple of examples of this in use in phase one of the project: the development of a blog structure to support the LEAP site and the development of student diaries to support connection with other learners. Further, we adopted an online, collaborative approach for our project team work on this project - disseminating focus group feedback, writing site content and reviewing project developments. These tools had been used by staff in the Office of Learning Technology for some time in supporting of other projects on campus, so we were able to build on this expertise. Other projects in development include support and coordination for a suite of online tools to support collaboration among Faculty. We hope to leverage this project to support collaborative, Faculty based efforts related to the development of tutorial and other learning support resources for their students.

Common to all services is a commitment to peer-based learning. Students deliver tutoring services, will provide academic success workshops in consultation with educational experts, design on-line resources, conduct peer academic coaching sessions, and lead peer based learning communities. The faculties of Arts, Science and the Sauder School of Business are interested in piloting peer academic coaching and SLG in courses where the grade distribution suggests the need for enhanced learning support. In this synergistic partnership both students looking for academic assistance and students providing this will gain in terms of their own academic skills and development.

This partnership currently employs 38 students with a goal to grow further to 50 students to become one of UBC's strongest examples of peer education.

Each component of the program will continue to be steered by a team leader and collectively we will focus on networking out and working in partnership with faculties and units to create synergies between all aspects of the program. Key leads will be Cindy Underhill and Novak Rogic (OLT), Margot Bell (Student Development), and subsequent years' VP Academic and Exec Cord Student Services (AMS).

Funding Details
Year 1: Project YearYear 1
Year 1: Funding Year2006/2007
Year 1: Project TypeSmall TLEF
Year 1: Principal InvestigatorBrian Sullivan
Year 1: Funded Amount136,380
Year 1: Team Members

Brian Sullivan, Office of the Vice-President, Students
Michelle Lamberson, Office of Learning Technology
Gavin Dew, Alma Mater Society
Trevor Gikes, Alma Mater Society
Janet Teasdale, Director, Student Development
Margot Bell, Student Development
Maggie Hartley, Acting Director, Arts Academic Advising, Faculty of Arts
Janet Beddoes, Student Development Officer, Faculty of Science
David Whyte, Student Development Officer, Sauder School of Business
Jaclyn Stewart, Research Associate / Lecturer, Chemistry, Faculty of Science
Deborah Butler, Office of the Associate Dean, Graduate Programs and Research