An Outdoor Orientation Programme in its Infancy, Student Perception Influencing Best Practice

Luke Pickard, Julie Brunton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Outdoor orientation programs (OOP) use adventure experience to aid transition to university. Transition processes are achieved by helping students develop constructive social support systems as well as providing them with feelings of belonging, trust, and connection to a group of peers. These peer relationships provide both critical emotional support and strengthen educational gains (Bell et al., 2014). Important markers of success at university are academic attainment, retention, and student development (Bell et al.,2014). All of these are important for both the finances and reputation of universities. Programs vary in length, content, and objectives. Further outcome- and evidence-based studies are needed to examine outdoor orientation program elements to better understand
    how and what elements support student retention (Cortez, 2014). The aim of the research is to investigate student perceptions of the university’s first OOP for its sports-based first-year undergraduates. The university created an evaluation questionnaire to receive feedback on the OOP from students in order to have more informed input in future OOPs. The evaluation questionnaire was analyzed using content analysis. The questionnaire also included eight scale-scored questions. The study had 84 first-year undergraduate participants. The evaluation from students will form specific recommendations that will improve provision for its own students and possibly provide recommendations applicable to other academic institutions with limited experience in facilitating an OOP.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)61-77
    Number of pages17
    JournalThe Journal of College Orientation and Transition
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


    • outdoor orientation program
    • student perception
    • Content analysis
    • Intervention
    • transition
    • adaptation


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