Stories of Learning Spaces from Distant Places

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Paper presented at HERDSA 2013, Auckland, 2nd July.

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  • Has a strong phenomenological dimension and involves a number of case studies or learner stories collected through audio/video diaries over the initial stages of the study lifecycle—that is, from thinking about study to the first few weeks.
  • Has a strong phenomenological dimension and involves a number of case studies or learner stories collected through audio/video diaries over the initial stages of the study lifecycle—that is, from thinking about study to the first few weeks.
  • Stories of Learning Spaces from Distant Places

    1. 1. Stories of Learning Spaces From Distant Places HERDSA Conference 2nd July, 2013 Mark Brown, Mike Keppell Helen Hughes, Natasha Hard & Liz Smith
    2. 2. The challenge of attrition, progressionandcompletion Background…
    3. 3. 72% 58% Background…
    4. 4. Background…
    5. 5. • Wealth of literature • Issues around attrition and completion are complex • Further investigation required of the „soft‟ factors • There is a growing body of literature on first year experience • Gap in the literature on the experiences of (first-time) distance learners • Dearth of research that presents the learner voice Background…
    6. 6. To improve the supports and services available for first-time distance learners. More specifically… Research objective… Research Design…
    7. 7. To improve the supports and services available for first-time distance learners. More specifically… • To investigate the experiences of being a first time distance learner „in their own words‟ from a student perspective Research Design… Research objective…
    8. 8. To improve the supports and services available for first-time distance learners. More specifically… • To investigate the experiences of being a first time distance learner „in their own words‟ from a student perspective • To develop a set of overarching principles for enhancing distance learner engagement and success; • To develop a conceptual framework for identifying the most effective use of various intervention tools, supports and resources at early stages of the study lifecycle. Research Design… Research objective…
    9. 9. • Design-based research • Mixed method approach • Strong phenomenological dimension Methodology… Research Design…
    10. 10. • Phase 1 - Audit of existing services • Phase 2 - Baseline and end of semester survey • Phase 3 - Stories of first-time distance learners • 140 volunteers from pool of 850 potential participants • 20 participantsbroadly representive distance learners • Obtained full human ethics approval process • Weekly video diaries using Sony bloggie™ Method… Research Design…
    11. 11. The stories… Gender Female (13) Male (7) Age Under 25 (4), 25-29 (4), 30-39 (6), 40-49 (4), 50-59 (2) Ethnicity Pakeha / European (12), Māori and/or Pasifika (8) Location A campus town (11), Other urban town (3), Remote (4), Overseas (2) Delivery Mode Distance only (17), Mixed mode (3) Total Papers (Units) Undergraduate: One (6), Two (6), Three (0), Four (6); Postgraduate (2) Discipline Business (8), Humanities (6), Education (3), Sciences (3) Prior Education High school (8), Diploma (2), Degree papers (5), Degree (5) Employment Full time (11), Part time (3), Casual (1), None (3), Full time mother (2) Dependents None (11), One (1), Two or three (5), Four or more (3)
    12. 12. 30 – 39 years Maori 4 papers (units) College of Humanities Remote location Not employed 7 children The stories…
    13. 13. 30 – 39 years Maori / Pasifika 4 papers (units) College of Business Wellington FT employment 1 guardianship The stories…
    14. 14. 20 – 29 years European 2 papers (units) College of Humanities Urban location FT employment 0 children The stories…
    15. 15. 50 - 59 years Maori / European 2 papers (units) College of Business Auckland Seeking employment The stories…
    16. 16. 60+ years European 1 paper (unit) College of Education Remote location Employed 3 days The stories…
    17. 17. The soft factors… “I have also had thoughts that this is not the right time to study because I can't get my children around giving me the time to study; my family is not on the same page as me.”
    18. 18. “I've had a lot of money problems this week. That has to be my biggest stress of the week. It really upsets me and distracts me completely. It makes studying really hard when you're worrying about how to buy the groceries.” The soft factors… “I have also had thoughts that this is not the right time to study because I can't get my children around giving me the time to study; my family is not on the same page as me.”
    19. 19. “I've had a lot of money problems this week. That has to be my biggest stress of the week. It really upsets me and distracts me completely. It makes studying really hard when you're worrying about how to buy the groceries.” The soft factors… “I have also had thoughts that this is not the right time to study because I can't get my children around giving me the time to study; my family is not on the same page as me.” “Unfortunately I'm going through a relationship break-up, which involves changing everything in my life so university study is far, far away in my mind.”
    20. 20. "I've finished my paper [unit], which is such a relief because, in the last six weeks, I just wasn't really interested in it. Other things in my life meant it went on the back-burner and was something that was frustrating and it got in the way of... well, life got in the way." The soft factors…
    21. 21. 1. Stories „add flesh‟ to the „soft factors‟of what it means to be a distance learner. Key takeaways…
    22. 22. 1. Stories „add flesh‟ to the „soft factors‟ of what it means to be a distance learner. 2. Distance learning is perceived to enabletertiary study to fit around other life commitments; but first-time distance students have relatively little conception of the actual demandsof studying from a distant place. Key takeaways…
    23. 23. 1. Stories „add flesh‟ to the „soft factors‟ of what it means to be a distance learner. 2. Distance learning is perceived to enable tertiary study to fit around other life commitments; but first-time distance students have relatively little conception of the actual demands of studying from a distant place. 3. Models of curriculum design need to be more attuned with the challenges of navigating new digitalised „virtual‟ learning spaces; as distinct from campus spaces, from a learners‟ perspective. Key takeaways…
    24. 24. 1. Shared goals 2. Personal agency 3. Adaptive empathy 4. Personalisation 5. Transactional engagement 6. Networked learning 7. Spaces for knowledge generation For distance providers… Guiding principles…
    25. 25. Video diaries, coupled with the researcher‟s role, influenced student engagement by metaphorically providing a new cave, campfire, watering hole and mountain top for active learning and fostering a stronger sense of belonging. Final comment…
    26. 26. http://www.dehub.edu.au Acknowledgement… Support for this project and the production of this report has been provided by DEHub, funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR). The views expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect the views of the DEHub, Australian Government or DEEWR.
    27. 27. Questions… “He [she] who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he [she] who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.” Chinese Proverb
    28. 28. Tertiary Intervention What do we do for failing students Secondary Intervention What do we do for at-risk students? Targeted/Selective Primary Intervention What do we do for targeted groups of students? General/Primary Intervention What do we do for all students? Intervention Pyramid Adapted from Wilson (2009) Outcomes…
    29. 29. Student Success Framework I N T E R V E N T I O N S Study Life Cycle Outcomes…

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