Learning and Teaching Investment Fund 2009
Summary of Projects
Launching Student Learning Advisor Mentors (SLAMs) at RMIT Vietnam
Dr Ulas Basar Gezgin
‘Launching Student Learning Advisor Mentors (SLAMs) at RMIT Vietnam’ was a project with RMIT Melbourne staff. This project aimed to launch a Student Learning Advisor Mentors (SLAMS) program at RMIT Vietnam to address the needs of students experiencing difficulties academically, especially those identified ‘at-risk’.
The project was modelled on the SLAMs program at RMIT Melbourne, in which students who have achieved a DI and HD in particular courses voluntarily assist students who are having difficulty with their learning in those courses. DI and HD students were recruited and trained by the end of 2009/1 to provide help on 2009/2. The project initially covered 4 BComm courses progressing to 8 courses: Introduction to Accounting; Management Accounting; Business Statistics; Macroeconomics; Commercial Law; Marketing Principles; Prices & Markets; and Business Computing.
The volunteer students of RMIT Vietnam drafted a Vietnam SLAMs Code of Conduct which provided guidance for themselves as well as for the next intake of volunteers. The main incentive for volunteering students was the SLAMs certificates that they were awarded after completing the required number of sessions. They received their certificates in a closing ceremony.
Informal and formal feedback was received from SLAMs and from course coordinators. Informal and formal feedback was received from students. Course coordinators stated in informal talks that SLAMs has been usefulfor their students.
A student survey was used to evaluate the success of the program.
A total of 203 Macroeconomics students out of 270 returned completed surveys in August 2009. The results showed:
- Out of 203 respondents at Saigon South,11.3% received help from SLAMs
- Of those receiving help, 96% felt that SLAMs were helpful and friendly
- 29% of the students who did not use the service said they were too busy and did not have time
- 24% said they had no information (although all students had received two emails about SLAMs, and SLAMs information is available on Blackboard)
- 20% felt that they did not need SLAMs (this comment may be normal for high performing students)
- 20% prefer to ask the lecturer while 16% prefer to ask their friends
- 17% prefer self-study (the total is more than 100% as multiple responses are possible).
As to the future of the SLAMs program in RMIT Vietnam, one possibility is the expansion into courses other than those of the BComm.