Articulating a Transition Pedagogy

The following information is sourced from Articulating a Transition Pedagogy.

Resources to help guide curriculum design can be found here.
There are a range of resources and checklists.

Intentional first year curriculum design should mediate a relevant, involving and social transition to tertiary academic study that is not overwhelming to the new learner in the discipline. This quote from Articulating a Transition Pedagogyauthored by Sally Kift, Senior Fellow for the ALTC, and now Deputy Vice Chancellor-Academic at James Cook University, demonstrates the importance of curriculum design to the first year experience.

First Year experience includes:


The curriculum and its delivery should be designed to be consistent and explicit in assisting students’ transition from their previous educational experience to the nature of learning in higher education and learning in their discipline as part of their lifelong learning. The first year curriculum should be designed to mediate and support transition as a process that occurs over time. In this way, the first year curriculum will enable successful student transition into first year, through first year, into later years and ultimately out into the world of work, professional practice and career attainment.

To help identify how you might already be supporting student through transition into higher education, examine a subject you teach and ask yourself questions like:


The first year curriculum should be attuned to student diversity and must be accessible by,and inclusive of, all students. First year curriculum design should recognise that students have special learning needs by reason of their social, cultural and academic transition. Diversity is often a factor that further exacerbates transition difficulties. The first year curriculum should take into account students’ backgrounds, needs, experiences and patterns of study and few if any assumptions should be made about existing skills and knowledge.

Diversity in this context includes, for example:
• membership of at-risk or equity groups
• widening participation (e.g. non-traditional cohorts)
• students’ existing skills and knowledge
• patterns and timing of engagement with the first year curriculum (e.g. mid-year entry).

First year curriculum design and delivery should be student
-focused, explicit and relevant in providing the foundation and scaffolding necessary for first year learning success. This requires that the curriculum must be designed to assist student development and to support their engagement with learning environments through the intentional integration and sequencing of knowledge, skills, and attitudes.


Learning, teaching, and assessment approaches in the first year curriculum should enact an engaging and involving curriculum pedagogy and should enable active and collaborative
learning. Learning communities should be promoted through the embedding in first year curriculum of active and interactive learning opportunities and other opportunities for peer-to-peer collaboration and teacher-student interaction.


The first year curriculum should assist students to make a successful transition to assessment in higher education, while assessment should increase in complexity from the first to later
years of curriculum design. Critically, students should receive regular, formative evaluations of their work early in their program of study to aid their learning and to provide feedback to both students and staff on student progress and achievement.

Evaluation and monitoring

Good first year curriculum design is evidence-based and enhanced by regular evaluation that leads to curriculum development and renewal designed to improve student learning. The first year curriculum should also have strategies embedded to monitor all students’ engagement in their learning and to identify and intervene in a timely way with students at risk of not succeeding or fully achieving desired learning outcomes.

These pages created by Deb Murdoch, an Academic Lead on the Student Transition and Retention Program at Charles Sturt University and course and subject analyst in the Faculty of Business.

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.