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TO BE OR NOT TO BE A STUDENT?. Dr Hazel Knox Dr Anne McGillivray Centre for Lifelong Learning University of Paisley. Research Context. University of Paisley Full- & part-time provision majority of awards Flexible study opportunities Day, evening, weekend classes

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To be or not to be a student

TO BE OR NOT TO BE A STUDENT?

Dr Hazel Knox

Dr Anne McGillivray

Centre for Lifelong Learning

University of Paisley


Research context
Research Context

  • University of Paisley

    • Full- & part-time provision majority of awards

    • Flexible study opportunities

    • Day, evening, weekend classes

    • Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework operationalised in terms of credit accumulation and transfer

    • Generic degrees

    • Exit awards, Certificate of HE to Masters

    • CPD - “from module to Masters”


Research project
Research Project

  • Focus on part-time students considering University entry for the first time

    • Enquirers

    • Applicants

    • Entrants

  • Decision-making processes and influences


Enquirers
Enquirers

  • Telephoned UNIDIRECT

  • Sent part-time information pack

    • Catalogue

    • Application form

    • Special needs form

  • No further contact with University


Applicants
Applicants

  • Telephoned UNIDIRECT

  • Sent part-time information pack

  • May have had guidance (telephone, email, information session, appointment …)

  • Submitted application, received and accepted offer

  • Did not enrol


Entrants
Entrants

  • Telephoned UNIDIRECT

  • Sent part-time information pack

  • May have had guidance (telephone, email, information session, appointment …)

  • Submitted application, received and accepted offer

  • Enrolled


The learning continuum

unaware

aware

interest

under-

standing

desire

action

THE LEARNING CONTINUUM

Applicants

Entrants

Enquirers


Research methodology
Research Methodology

  • ENQUIRERS: workshop participation or telephone interview or questionnaire

  • APPLICANTS: telephone interview or questionnaire

  • ENTRANTS: questionnaire

  • QUANTITATIVE & QUALITATIVE DATA


Workshop for enquirers
Workshop for Enquirers

  • Is HE for me?


Scope of research
Scope of Research

  • ENQUIRERS (438/759 UNI-DIRECT)

    • Workshop participants (27) 18

    • Telephone interviews (253) 77

    • Questionnaires (158) 28

  • APPLICANTS (75 previous semester)

    • Telephone interviews (32) 11

    • Questionnaires (43) 4

  • ENTRANTS (152 Summer Programme)

    • Questionnaires (152) 90


Data gathered
Data Gathered

  • ALL

    • Reasons for considering University study

    • Perception of value of University study

  • ENQUIRERS

    • Influences on decision whether or not to proceed with enquiry

  • APPLICANTS

    • Influences on decision not to enrol

  • ENTRANTS

    • Factors weighed up in deciding to study


General findings 1
General findings - 1

  • Reasons for considering study

    • CPD, career progression, career change

    • Gain university award

    • Unfulfilled ambition (female)

    • Personal interest (age related)

  • Perceptions of value of study

    • Beneficial/essential


General findings 2
General findings - 2

  • Influences on initial decision to enquire

    • Subjects available

    • Location (priority for entrants)

    • Evening study

    • Build on prior credit


Enquirers workshop participants 18
Enquirers – Workshop participants (18)

  • Already committed to study

    • Achieve degree, CPD, Career change, Unfulfilled aspirations, Continue learning

  • “Information & more information advice & more advice”

    • How part-time study works, how to get started, modules to meet individual needs, timetable, cost …


Enquirers telephone interviewees 77
Enquirers – Telephone interviewees (77)

  • University-related issues

    • 33 Seeking guidance

    • 17 Enrolled/applied/following up

    • 18 Additional university information

  • Other issues

    • 7 Enrolled elsewhere

    • 4 Decided not to study

    • 8 Other - enquiry for someone else, modules unsuitable, transport, thought too difficult


Enquirers questionnaire respondents 28
Enquirers - Questionnaire respondents (28)

  • 5 following up enquiry

  • 2 study elsewhere

  • 21 decision not to proceed with enquiry

    • Personal circumstances

    • Financial considerations

    • Suitable provision not available

    • Lack of information

    • Change in employment situation


Applicants telephone questionnaire 11 4
Applicants - telephone & questionnaire (11+4)

  • Decision not to proceed with enrolment

    • Personal circumstances

    • Change of provision

    • Financial considerations

    • Change in employment situation

    • Lack of confidence


Entrants questionnaire 90
Entrants – questionnaire (90)

  • Factors weighed up in deciding to study

    • Financial considerations

    • Lack of confidence

    • Time, fit with family and/or work

    • Lack of information

    • Travel / childcare


Conclusions what have we learned
Conclusions: what have we learned?

  • Initially “serious” enquiries

  • Extrinsic factors “real” or “rationalised”

    • Personal circumstances

    • Financial considerations

    • Employment / family commitments

  • Lack of confidence

    • Overtaken by extrinsic factors in early stages

    • Not confronted until entry


Conclusions what have we learned1
Conclusions: what have we learned?

  • Information needs

    • Quantity

    • Clarity

    • Robustness

    • Specific: modules, content, duration, time, cost

    • Guidance: building on prior credit, modules for career development, personalised programmes

    • Practicalities: cost, travel, childcare, work schedules

    • Broader context: impact of study on life, absence from classes, confidence building, support mechanisms


The learning continuum1

unaware

aware

interest

under-

standing

desire

action

THE LEARNING CONTINUUM

Workshop participants

Enquirers

Applicants

Entrants


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