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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
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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