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Copy of Practising Widening Participation?

Assessment for PgC HPE Contemporary Issues module (15 credits)

Katy Vigurs

on 20 September 2011

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Transcript of Copy of Practising Widening Participation?

Practising Widening Participation? What did I learn? What can institutions and staff do in response? Introducing the part-time FD in Community Learning... An analysis of the factors underpinning the experiences of one cohort of FdA learners. Moving forwards... Who are the students? Student numbers? References: Archer, L. (2003) ‘Social class and higher education’, in Archer, L., Hutchings, M. and Ross, A. Higher Education and Social Class: Issues of Exclusion and Inclusion, Abingdon: RoutledgeFalmer, pp. 5-20.
Archer, L., Hutchings, M., Leathwood, C. and Ross, A. (2003) ‘Widening participation in higher education’, in Archer, L., Hutchings, M. and Ross, A. Higher Education and Social Class: Issues of Exclusion and Inclusion, Abingdon: RoutledgeFalmer, pp. 193-202.
Bamber, J. and Tett, L. (2001) Ensuring integrative learning experiences for non-traditional students, Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 3, 1, 8-16.
Department for Education and Skills (2003) Widening participation in higher education, London: Department for Education and Skills.
Dodgson, R. and Whitham, H. (2004) Learner experience of foundation degrees in the North East of England: Access, support and retention, Draft report.
Gorard, S., Smith, E., May, H., Thomas, L., Adnett, N. and Slack, K. (2006) Review of widening participation research: addressing the barriers to participation in higher education, London: HEFCE.
Johnston, R. and Merrill, B. (2004) Non-traditional students: tracking changing learning identities in the inter-face with higher education, SCUTREA, 34th annual conference, University of Sheffield.
Merrill, B. (2001) Learning and Teaching in Universities: perspectives from adult learners and lecturers, Teaching in Higher Education, 6, 1, 5-17.
Ozga, J. and Sukhnandan (1998) Undergraduate non-completion: Developing an explanatory model, Higher Education Quarterly, 53, 3, 316-333.
Ross, A. (2003) ‘Access to higher education: inclusion for the masses?’, in Archer, L., Hutchings, M. and Ross, A. Higher Education and Social Class: Issues of Exclusion and Inclusion, Abingdon: RoutledgeFalmer, pp. 45-74.
Tett, L. (2004) Mature working-class students in an ‘elite’ university: Discourses of risk, choice and exclusion, Studies in the Education of Adults, 36, 2, 252-264
Thomas, L. (2002) ‘Student retention in higher education: The role of institutional habitus’, Journal of Education Policy, 17, 4, 423-442
Watson, D. (2006) How to think about widening participation in UK higher education, Discussion paper for HEFCE, London: Institute of Education.
Winn, S. (2002) Student motivation: A socio-economic perspective, Studies in Higher Education, 27, 4, 445-457. flexible timetabling, to allow for employment and other commitments
encourage students to value learning experiences of all kinds and from all sources. Recognise and respect students as people with something to offer the ongoing debates.
Develop interactive, co-constructed seminars accordingly.
(Johnston and Merrill, 2004) Widening participation means extending and enhancing access to HE experiences of people from so-called under-represented and diverse subject backgrounds, families, groups and communities and positively enabling such people to participate in and benefit from HE. People from socially disadvantaged families and/or deprived geographical areas, or from families that have no prior experience of HE may be of key concern. Widening participation is also concerned with diversity in terms of ethnicity, gender, disability and social background. It can also include access and participation across the ages.
(Watson, 2006) Expansion of HE - Foundation Degrees were a new type of Level 5, work-focused HE qualification.

- Specifically targeted mature students already in the workforce to develop their skills and knowledge.

- 'Second-chance route'.

- Part of strategic response to government's 50% WP target by 2010 2003 ...the policy plan Defining 'widening participation' Mainly mature, female learners
wider support staff in schools, e.g. family support workers, out-of-school activity leaders and learning mentors
low paid, long hours, stressful work
feel undervalued and powerless in workplace
first in their family to go to HE
caring responsibilities outside of work
Very nervous of starting a 'university' course Started with 13 in 2009
Now down to 9 (2011) Factors that influence WP learners' HE decision-making: what stops them getting involved? financial considerations
lack of confidence
lack of time
lack of information
travel & childcare issues These factors should have implications for recruitment and retention strategies... '...institutions need to be aware of the social and economic context of these students' lives and take this into account both in the curriculum and in the emotional and practical support provided.' (Bamber and Tett, 2001) ...and the same factors also influence WP drop-out (Winn, 2002; Dodgson and Whitham, 2004) actively support learners to adjust to HE cultures and to become independent learners.
(Merrill, 2001) (Tett, 2004) - employer support crucial (financial or time off)
- importance of future employment - desire to improve career prospects
- location and timing of sessions
- range of assessment types
- opportunity to ask questions of tutor Susan (Rita) Frank What did I want to investigate? How did I collect data on issues affecting the group? tutor observations (me)
module evaluation forms (student)
in-session reflective discussions (both) What led to three students withdrawing from the course? What factors encouraged retention? What were students concerned about prior to enrolment? What factors facilitated initial participation? improve social justice? increase economic competitiveness? Recruitment enablers: Participation concerns: Retention enablers: Drop-out factors: - impact on personal relationships
- job change
- mental health issues
- job uncertainty - workplace relevance
- confidence to change practice
- sense of achievement
- developing self-confidence
- feeling more valued in workplace
- group working and sharing
- provision of example assessments
- study skills embedded within module
- level of work clearly communicated
- gentle pace of sessions
- regular, formative feedback - Am I clever enough?
- Will I be able to keep up?
- Will I be able to fit it in?
- Will it be of benefit?
- Am I too old? (Ozga and Sukhnandan, 1998; Thomas, 2002) don't get complacent. WP work is ongoing.

challenge students more in terms of pace and reading

continue to develop the use of Blackboard to facilitate a more blended and co-constructed approach to learning.

encourage students’ engagement with draft assignment service and assessment feedback.

continue to embed the use of computers as part of the learning process and to set related tasks in between taught sessions e.g. carrying out research using the internet.

keep an open dialogue with students about developments made in response to issues raised by their course evaluations.

encourage the development of a community of practice within the group

facilitate links with other education students - access to networks for personal and professional benefit
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