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Stay with the Flo: Improving retention rates in University Students

Dr Elizabeth Boath 
Associate Professor in Health 

Staffordshire University 

26 March 2016 

Staffordshire University are leading the way in their application of Flo within a higher educational setting.  For the first time ever Flo has been translated for use in an academic environment as a means of helping students to feel more involved, equipped and supported, enhancing student retention rates.  The outcomes of use at Staffordshire University have recently been celebrated with Dr Elizabeth Boath, Associate Professor in Health at Staffordshire University presenting the research findings at The Higher Education Academy Transforming Teaching, Inspiring Learning Conference in Glasgow, in February 2016.

The transition into University life can be a challenge for many students, as can going out on a first professional placement with both becoming key trigger points for students to begin to feel less engaged with University and ultimately decide to leave. Staffordshire University recognised this opportunity to support their students in gaining the most from their experience and commenced a pilot project  to explore the use of Flo as an intervention to support students on Nursing, Social Work, Social Welfare Law and Sports Science courses at these key points in their educational journey.  

Dr. Boath presented “Stay with the Flo: using text messaging to improve retention rates in University Students” highlighting the role that Flo has played in providing good pastoral support and fostering a sense of belonging and engagement with the University, both of which are critical to student retention.  As one Student Nurse summed up: 

“For me, receiving texts from FLO was good to make me feel part of the University. Helpful, prompting me to resources within the University and also helping me to realise I was part of something, the University, which was important”

Three papers have been written and submitted for publication and further uses of Flo in academia are being explored to support student’s experience and educational outcomes.

For more information about the research carried out at Staffordshire University Please contact Dr Elizabeth Boath on @DrLizBoath

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