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Navigating students' academic odyssey at Unisa with the Student Retention Unit

Embarking on an academic journey at Unisa is an exhilarating adventure filled with promise and possibility. But, like any great quest, preparation is key to success. That's where the SRU's first-year experience (FYE) courses, FYE 1500 and FYE 1600,  come in – serving as a student’s compass and map for navigating the academic landscape at Unisa.FYE_240515_body.png

To prepare for the academic year, all first-time entering students at Unisa were required to complete two non-credit-bearing courses on myModules post-registration. These courses have been in operation for the last three years and run for each academic registration cycle.

FYE 1500: Fundamental Skills for Student Success acts as a "toolkit" for students, guiding them as they begin their journey at Unisa. This learning course covers eight vital aspects, including exploring Unisa’s learning management system (myUnisa), understanding library services, acquainting students with student affairs, and providing insights on academic literacies, digital literacy, and numeracy. Additionally, the course equips students with basic study skills and introduces them to the mySupport Hub.

In a move towards inclusivity, FYE 1500 is currently being translated into the 11 official languages. During the first semester rollout for 2024, the SRU released five translated versions of FYE 1500 with 57 646 students being enrolled for the English version of the course. Interestingly, students also opted to complete the FYE 1500 in Zulu (2 642 enrolments), Pedi (1 606 enrolments), Tshivenda (728 enrolments), and Tsonga (865 enrolments).

The second course completed by students was FYE 1600: Academic Preparedness, which attracted an enrolment figure of 55 104 students for the 2024 first registration cycle. This diagnostic academic tool allows students to identify areas of basic academic literacy where they may be struggling. Consequently, the SRU can refer students to the necessary support departments to receive the academic assistance they require as first-time entering students at Unisa.

Students were automatically enrolled with the assistance of myModules staff support, and self-enrolment links were also provided. SMSs, bulk emails, and SRU telegram reminders were sent to students to ensure completion of the courses.

The road to academic excellence begins with preparation, and the FYE 1500 and FYE 1600 courses aim to lay the foundation for student success. At the SRU, we refuse to let uncertainty hold our students back – instead, we seize the opportunity for students to equip themselves with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive at Unisa.

For additional information on the First-Year Experience and other SRU initiatives, feel free to visit the FYE Support site or contact one of our Student Success Practitioners today.


*By Naseehat Ebrahim Dawood, Student Success Practitioner, Student Retention Unit

Publish date: 2024/05/15

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