Archive for the ‘My Learning Journey’ Category

British Education Studies Association Conference

February 20th, 2014 by Cristina Costa

Call for papers: British Education Studies Association Conference

Glasgow, June 26-27 June

Glasgow University cc Venana

We would like to invite you to submit an abstract as a contribution to this important conference. This year the conference takes place in the University of Glasgow, making it the first time the conference has been held in Scotland. The key theme of this year’s conference is: “The politics of education studies: pedagogy, curriculum, policy”

Some of the suggested topics for papers are the following:

• Alternative voices in Education Studies

• Innovations in Education Studies

• Education Studies: Contemporary debates

• Researching Education Studies: critical issues

• Student perspectives on Education Studies

Please note this list is not exhaustive.

SUBMISSION DETAILS:

Abstracts for the conference should be no longer than 400 words, and include:

  1. a clear description of the aims and objectives of your inquiry
  2. the methodology and methods employed
  3. results and key conclusions.

You can submit an abstract by following this link: SUBMITTING AN ABSTRACT

NOTE: You must log in or register on the  site to be able to submit an abstract – you will have this opportunity when you visit the above page.

The Submission deadline is Friday 28th February, 2014.

Please contact Mark.murphy.2@glasgow.ac.uk if you wish to discus your abstract before submission

The habitus of digital scholars

February 14th, 2014 by Cristina Costa

The first paper coming out from my PhD has just been published by the the Journal of Research in Learning Technology, 21(0).

CC OpenSource.com

I’m actually quite excited about it and I have blogged about it here. (I’ll talk more about the Social Theory Applied project I have just joined in a very near future post)

The article concerns the Participatory Web and the impact it has on academic researchers’ perceptions of digital scholarship practices. The Participatory Web, as a space of active involvement, presence and socialisation of knowledge, has the potential to introduce significant changes to scholarly practice and to diversify it. This article draws on the findings of a narrative inquiry study that investigated the habitus of 10 digital scholars. The study uses Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, field, and social and cultural capital as a research lens. One of the main findings to come out of the study was that research participants’ approaches to digital scholarship practices are highly influenced by their online social capital, the online networks that influence their thinking and outlook on scholarly practices, including their advocacy of openness and transparency of academic practice. This article concludes by highlighting the dispositions digital scholars display in an attempt to characterise the values and beliefs that underpin their scholarly practices.

What’s been interesting in writing this article, is that, as it often happens, my thinking has already moved on from where I was when I wrote my PhD. This resulted in a more refined approach regarding how I used Weller’s concept of digital Scholarship and Bourdieu’s thinking tools. I hope you enjoy reading the article and I look forward to a fruitful discussion. That’s the only way we can move forward this debate.

What Bourdieu would say about the web

February 14th, 2014 by Cristina Costa

CC Rockcreek

Bourdieu passed away just as the web was starting to emerge as a social phenomenon worthy of our attention. As a new space for socialisation and participation, Bourdieu would have had a lot to say about the web. That is not to say that he would have painted a rosy picture of it. He would have probably been as indignant as ever of the appropriation of its potential to less altruistic purposes.

Bourdieu was very tough in his essays On Television, particularly where the journalistic field was concerned. His main concern was that television, and tele-journalism in particular, were taking away the monopoly of the instruments of cultural diffusion from its main cultural producers, i.e, artist, writers, scholars, philosophers, newspaper journalists… “the official thinkers”. Bourdieu described a manipulative television that imposed a particular vision of the political field onto its audience, thus depriving them of intellectual debate. In this vein, Bourdieu tried to make a stand against television turning into an instrument of symbolic oppression, when it could, in his opinion, “have become an extraordinary instrument of direct democracy”.

It is almost impossible not to notice that Bourdieu felt that same symbolic oppression hard in the flesh, as television grew more influential on the masses, without him – or any other intellectual for that matter – having full control of that instrument of cultural production. Indeed, Part One of On Television starts with a reflection on that very same issue, with Bourdieu admitting that what follows are two lectures recorded by the audiovisual services of the College de France, which gives him full control of the medium. And so Bourdieu admits, even if implicitly, that his critique of television is not only based on the ways it manipulates its audience (based on external factors that are at stake and the internal rules that are created to answer to those external demands); but also founded on intellectuals’ lack of control of the medium; an issue that affects him personally, and the work of academics in particular.

I would like to believe that Bourdieu would have enjoyed some of the affordances the web has offered us as cultural producers a bit more than he did appreciate television, although – it has to be said – he would probably have been as critical of it as he was of television as a medium of diffusion. The issue, however, is that the web  cannot be solely regarded as a medium of diffusion, but rather as a medium of multi-way communication; a platform where individuals can congregate to discuss and create new knowledge, without necessarily being “professional cultural producers”. This is obviously the short and rosy interpretation of the web, and one that Bourdieu would probably have not been so fond of. Firstly, because a field needs to be regarded in relation to its social agents and the different types of capital that matter in that field. Secondly, and probably more surprisingly, because – basing my judgement on his ideas expressed On Television – the web blurs boundaries and allows individuals to proclaim themselves as culture producers, and that can also jeopardise the work of academics. And so, if Bourdieu thought that television manipulated intellectual input by forcing a single view of reality onto its audience, would he have agreed with the web as a space of social encounters where the freedom of thought and debate can be exercised without any restrictions? I am tempted to say he would have not.

What is curious to me, however, is that via On Television, Bourdieu does portray a more biased view of the topic he is reporting on than we were use to in previous writings and reflections. And so I wonder if that is so  because he felt television weakened his professional authority as he was not fully in control of the medium?

A close read of On Television, tells me that Bourdieu would have, most likely, been skeptical of the web because it allows a shift of power and entitlement that would have affected him directly… probably more than he would have liked. On reflection, I am not sure if he would have championed the web as an instrument of direct democracy.

  • TV

The post What Bourdieu would say about the web appeared first on Social Theory Applied.

Fieldwork: understanding the habitus of digital scholars

February 5th, 2014 by Cristina Costa

The post Fieldwork: understanding the habitus of digital scholars appeared first on Social Theory Applied.

Digital Literacies and Learning Design

January 27th, 2014 by Cristina Costa

I’m currently putting together the sessions for a new Module I am teaching in March for our new cohort of PGDE.

I want to offer something that would link the concepts of Critical Digital Literacies to the design of learning activities. I want this for two reason. First, because I think this is both an area of practice and debate that has been under-explored as part of implementing the Curriculum for Excellence here in Scotland. Second, because I believe that teacher-students should put themselves in the shoes of the learners and engage hands-on with the possibilities and challenges of the web to get a better grasp how to use the web in their practice. As such, I submitted the following Module proposal:

 

Introduction and Rationale:

The internet and the Social and Participatory Web, as a growing phenomenon in our society, is increasingly influencing the way people work, socialise, bank and shop, to name a few. As it enters our household and workplace, what does it mean to Education? And more concretely, what impact should it have on Learning, Teaching and Assessment?

This module aims to discuss such questions and provide an introduction to learning design methodologies in connection to key digital literacies.  In doing so, it places an emphasis on the design of learning contexts rather than of content, “the activity-rich, interaction-rich and culturally rich learning environments that the use of technology is making possible and where new principles and practices apply” (Dias Figueiredo, 2005, p.127).

This module is designed to extend participants’ understanding of learning design in connection with the opportunities and challenges posed by the Social and Participatory Web, and thus equip them with the necessary know-how to harness technologies for the 21st century classroom.

 

Learning Outcomes:

The main intended outcome is that participants will be able to engage with key literature in the field of Technology Enhanced Learning and effectively apply it to their own practice. Participants will:

  • Critically compare their own ideas about Learning and Teaching with the Social and Participatory Web with those of the literature
  • Examine the implications of using the Social and Participatory Web in their Teaching practice
  • Demonstrate a practical understanding of the use of the Social and Participatory Web for their own Learning, Teaching and Assessment strategies
  • Design contexts for Learning

 

My greatest challenge, as usual, is to find ways to engage students in both the discussions I want them to have and the activities I want them to take part in. I have been putting together a draft of activities for each session … but have now reached a point I need a new pair of eyes to look at it and give me feedback:

  • do you think I am adding too much or too little?
  • are the topics proposed relevant?
  • are the activities too easy or too hard?
  • what else should I add?

*please note that at the moment this is only a draft – first thoughts – and your comments are very welcome as usual. ;-)

Learning and teaching with digital technologies is a mindset

December 7th, 2013 by Cristina Costa

A month or so ago, I was asked to give a lecture on learning technologies to Year 4 BEd students who are getting ready to do their last placement. The lecture was part of the Contemporary Education Issues Module and aimed to look at “more futuristic, cutting-edge practices”.

I’m not one to predict the future. I’d rather focus on the present, on the stage I am currently at and what I can do with the ideals I currently embrace and the tools, technologies, and support structures that are available to me. And so, with this in mind, I organised the lecture.

I started with a set of questions that aimed to elicit people’s ideas about learning and teaching in the “21st century classroom”. I know this type of phrases is not that great but they do help get the conversation started. The purpose of the lecture was to make connections between students’ use of digital technology in their daily life and the connection, or lack of it, with their professional life. I sensed that for many, connecting social and professional, daily and teaching practice was a hard thing to imagine, let alone do. And this has to do as much with preparedness as it has to do with entitlement to question established practices.

What I did not want to do was to dismiss current, “analog” practices as bad or useless, because they are not necessarily so. Rather, I wanted to trigger new ways of thinking about teaching practices in relation to the current changing society and our own practices outside the classroom, and what it meant for learning. Technology plays a massive role in our daily lives. As we grow more and more used to it, we only really notice it when it is missing. Who hasn’t felt some kind of “withdrawal syndrome” when you go abroad and all of a sudden you can no longer access mobile Internet?! … at least not at the same price. The Internet and the Web have become indispensable commodities for a large part of a society that relies of digital technologies to consume and produce information. Knowledge is still (a form of em)power(ing), and we can anticipate it will always be so. The same applies to Education. Mandela talked from experience when he said that

But as the world changes, so do our practices and approaches to living and working, and also learning.  Hence, for Education to keep its currency, it needs to keep up with the times. The way through which we can access and create information online provide alternatives as to how individuals can *be* successful learners, effective contributors and responsible citizens as they develop their confidence as active participants and learners (see the 4 capacities). As such this begs the following questions:

  • What is the role of education in ensuring that our current, and future, generations as prepared to address these new ways of being (members of a society that is progressively relying on digital forms of living, learning and working)?
  • What is our duty in equipping children, and learners in general, with the “adequate” cultural capital to tackle the challenges posed by the digital society?

This might just be me… but I do think the Curriculum for Excellence does touch on this matter, even if ever so slightly, with the 4 capacities (see above). If we place it in the context  of what Education Scotland calls  “literacies across learning: principles and practice” and their definition of literacy as a “a set of skills that allows the individual to engage fully in society and in learning (…)” then surely the debate of digital technologies needs to be a key item on the agenda. Yet, this is not only a topic for Scotland or for primary teachers; it is rather a crucial debate to be had with regards to all levels of education as well as different forms of learning! Getting back to my lecture, there were a series of key points that I wanted to get across and which I hope to go into further detail in future blogposts. For the time being, I just want to list them here for future reference. I would be interested in knowing of your views about this debate, which although is not new, it is still very relevant.

  • Teaching and learning with digital technologies is not only a new form of practice; it is a mindset
    • Not only a change of technology; a change of attitudes
  • Digital technologies provide tools for content and context creation.
    • Teachers as context facilitators
    • Learners as content creators
  • Technology dissonance: a clash of practices and approaches
    • The place of technology in and outside the classroom
  • The role of the institution, and policy, in harmonising practices
  • A curriculum for authentic learning and assessment
    • Changing the ways learners communicate learning

Above all, I am trying to answer the following question: Can digital technologies, and the philosophies of practice associated with it, finally deliver on the promise of critical pedagogies? What do you think? I’d also be interested in knowing which of the topics above you’d like to discuss first.

RAdioActive101 Dissemination *free* event

October 23rd, 2013 by Cristina Costa

RadioActive101 in cooperation with the Centre for Lifelong Learning at the University of Strathclyde is organising a *free* dissemination event on the 13th of November 2013.

 

RadioActive101 promotes the engagement, informal learning and employability of disenfranchised young people through internet radio and social media. RadioActive101 is an approach to radio and social media that catalyses, organises and legitimises the digital practices, content production and critical and creative potential of disenfranchised young people – to provide a new and original community voice.

 

Please join us:

  • For a discussion of the impact of radio with disenfranchised young people
  • For a presentation of the evaluation of the advanced pilot
  • To learn how to get involved and roll out Internet Radio in your community

Registration can be done via this link.

Any questions of suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at cristina.costa[@]strath.ac.uk (remove [ ] when emailing me)

Gold… for sale!

October 12th, 2013 by Cristina Costa

The current discussions surrounding Open Access have left me somehow perplexed, mainly because of the turn the debate has taken and which is, in my opinion, a major setback.

So to start with, I think it is useful to remind ourselves of the original purpose of Open Access and where it all started… because sometimes we lose sight of that initial purpose which, in this case, is so, so important.

The Open Access term was first used by the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) in 2001 to campaign for the accessibility of knowledge for a wider community. And in their website they explain the need for Open Access (OA) by stating that

By “open access” to [peer-reviewed research literature], we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.

This because:

“scientists and scholars…publish the fruits of their research in scholarly journals without payment” and “without expectation of payment.” In addition, scholars typically participate in peer review as referees and editors without expectation of payment. Yet more often than not, access barriers to peer-reviewed research literature remain firmly in place, for the benefit of intermediaries rather than authors, referees, or editors, and at the expense of research, researchers, and research institutions.

So, in part OA came to value researchers’ work by giving it the potential of a much larger audience, and in part it came to do what is morally expected of public funded institutions, i.e, that the outcomes they produce benefit the public good.  But we all know that these ideas (Or are they ideals?) cannot be materialised from day to night when there are other (commercial) players involved in the game.

Around the 1960s/70s academic journals started to gain the attention of commercial scholarly publishers who began acquiring the already established, high-quality journals run by non-profit scholarly societies. With research journals published by commercial publishers, dissemination of academic work is inevitably impacted by the provision of knowledge as a commodity for sale. And this has become even more visible now with the struggle to implement OA and the different interpretations different players have of it.

Academia not only yielded the monopoly of knowledge dissemination to publishing houses, but they also supported, even if implicitly, the rather atypical business that publishing houses grew from it. If academic publishing was already a peculiar business before the emergence of the web, the fact that it persists now is even more extraordinary. Simply put, the business model of academic publications is one in which one pays to work, not only once, but twice, and now apparently perhaps even thrice! Institutions pay academics to write research papers that are published in journals which institutions also pay to have access to!! And now apparently there is also the added option of paying an additional fee to have the work of their academics made free online. And this is what the publishing houses are currently calling the Gold Route to Open Access.

This is not my interpretation of what the Gold Route OA option is, nor what BOIA’s statement hints at. However, I do recognise that the language used can lead to different interpretations. When  BOIA put forward two primary strategies for OA:

OA through repositories (also called “green OA”) and OA through journals (also called “gold OA”)

they did not specify what an OA journal should be. It is unclear from their statement if it should include a no-fee policy for authors or not. That has given publishing houses room to play. As such, their interpretation of Gold Route to OA includes a fee. It’s another gold mine for them; one I am not sure academia will be able to afford. And this is where I see institutions and researchers backing down from the OA Movement because it is costing them even more.

Maybe it is high time that academic institutions regained control of knowledge publication. Research funding bodies and researchers may want to support and campaign for no-fee open access journals (there are quite a few out there already, so why not exploit the web in that way and use our own time to free our own knowledge). Otherwise, I fear that the push for the current interpretation of “Gold Route OA” will generate a even wider gap between different research institutions given that their economic power is already so uneven.

Digital Literacies – Post 1

October 6th, 2013 by Cristina Costa

This is a blogpost is based on a presentation I recently did for the Flexible, Distance and Online Learning open module that Chrissi Neranzi and her colleagues are currently running. It was part of Unit 2 that focuses on the theme of Digital Literacies.

Digital literacies is a very “hot” topic right now, and one that deserves our attention given the influence of the web on our working and social lives. And worthy of note is that the web is not only influencing the way we work nor solely the way we use it to socialise. The separation between formal and informal, public and private spaces has never been less straight forward and, as many would argue, the boundaries are blurry(ing) (See here, here, and here, for instance).

In its Developing Digital Literacies briefing paper, JISC state that
digital literacies define those who exhibit a critical understanding and capability for living, learning, and working in the digital society. 

I think this is a good definition. It goes beyond the initial concerns regarding the searching and retrieving of information online – as important as they are – to reflect the participatory culture that the social web supports because of its very interactive nature.

Yet, not everyone perceives the web in this way nor does everyone value it for its social(lisation) potential. The web as a field of participation and socialisation is not deprived of tensions, and it is far from being evenly distributed in the current global and network society [just to throw a couple of more ready made phrases in there!]. Consequently, different practices, and agendas, co-exist in a space that aggregates a wide variety of groups of people with a multitude of approaches on how the web can be appropriated to serve their needs.

This takes me to consider the Digital Visitors and Digital Residents debate initiated by White and Cornu. In wanting to take the digital native discussion to a new level, the authors devised a topology that looks at the frequency of use and explores the needs and motivations of individuals when using the web. This is translated into two different types of users: those who have embedded the web in their day-to-day practice (the residents) and those who use it sporadically for specific purposes (the visitors). Attached to this dichotomy between intense and occasional use of the web is a feeling of belonging, with the former feeling more attached to the “online world” than the latter. Although the Digital Visitors and Digital Residents metaphor provides us with an understanding on how individuals are taking to the Social and Participatory Web, it still offers, in my opinion, a binary interpretation of a more complex reality; one that educational institutions are struggling to get to terms with. And that has as much to do with how learners are using the web as it has to do with why some learners are more predisposed to do so than others, not to mention those who may be excluded of this topology altogether because of other factors that may preclude them from having access to technology or perceiving it as a useful tool for learning.

This makes me wonder what role individuals’ social, cultural and economic background play in prompting them to engage with the web for living, learning and working.

And more important even, it leads me to question as to the role (or duty) of educational institutions in cultivating and enhancing learners‘ cultural capital in a world mediated by technology.

Providing access to technology and wifi is necessary, but it’s effects will only be felt if the implementation of such technological infrastructures are accompanied by practices that promote its effective use.

The University of Southampton has recognised that and launched a module on Living and Working on the Web in an attempt to equip their students with relevant skills for the changing job market that the so called digital economy is bringing about. In our preliminary study we realised that the student population participating in the module was very diverse, not only in terms of their digital literacies but also, and above all, in terms of their attitudes with regard to digital forms of working and learning. This might be related to the way students have been socialised into learning and how they are predisposed to engage with digital practices. In this sense, I wonder how different these students are from staff who also feel less keen in changing their practices and attitudes to accommodate digital practices.

With learning technologies (and implicitly digital literacies) starting to feature heavily in Educational Institutions’s policies, what does it really mean to (and in) practice?

Is all data research data?

September 30th, 2013 by Cristina Costa

In times when academia debates about the openness and transparency of academic work, and the processes associated with it, more questions than answers tend to be formulated.  And as it usually happens, different approaches often co-exist. There is nothing wrong with that. It is only natural when trying to make sense of the affordances that the web, as a space of participation and socialisation, provides. Nonetheless, the latests news on the openness of research publications leave me slightly concerned regarding the misunderstanding between the Open Access Gold Route and the Gold Mine publishing houses are trying to maintain with their take on Open Access. This will however be content for another post as this post relates to some still unripe reflections of mine on the topic of online research ethics. …although one could argue that paying to access publicly funded knowledge also touches on some ethics…!

The gate's unlocked!!!One of the big questions we are currently debating on twitter deals with the use of  data publicly available online. Given the current events regarding how governments are using information published online by their own citizens, we could conclude that no data is, or for that matter ever was, private! But as researchers interested in the prosumer phenomenon (online users who consume and produce content available on the web) a key issue arises when doing research online:

  • Can we use information that is publicly available online, i.e., that can be accessed without a password by any individual, for research purposes?
  • What ethics should we observe in this case?

Researching online data that is produced and made available online voluntarily, or involuntarily, by the regular citizen is so new, even to those in Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL), that we are still trying to make sense of how to go about this. Publications regarding this matter are still scare, and even those that I have had access to deal mainly with the issues of anonymity (Here is a recent example). A big issue indeed, especially in a time where participating online means to create an online digital footprint that not only allows information to be traced back to an individual; but also creates, to a certain extent, a (re)presentation of a given ‘self’, voluntarily or involuntarily… In TEL we call this “Digital Identities” (more on this in a forthcoming post).  Digital identities disclose personal, and sometimes private, information within the online social environments in which individuals interact, we assume, on their own accord. But are they always conscious of the publicness of the information they publish? Do they perceive their participation online as an form of creating and publishing information?

This then begs the question:

  • Is, can or should such information be automatically converted into research data? In other words, are we, as researchers, entitled to use any data that is publicly available, even if we claim that it is only being used for research purposes?

My gut feeling is that no, we cannot! Just because the information is publicly available online and therefore accessible to use, I, as a researcher, am not entitled to use it without previously seeking and obtaining consent from its creator. This, obviously, generates more obstacles than those researchers would probably like to experience, but the truth is that collecting publicly available information without the consent of its producers does not seem right to me for the following reasons:

  1. We (people engaged in TEL) need to step outside of our own taken-for-granted understanding of online participation, and note that many people don’t realise, or at least have not given it considerate thought, that online communication can be public and that interactions online, by its very nature of written speech are more durable than equivalent forms of face-to-face interaction.
  2. Anonymity and confidentiality are topics that need to be discussed with the research participant independently of the type of information we want to use. Just because the content is there available to the world, it doesn’t mean it’s available for the take. That is invading the public sphere of an individual, if that makes any sense(!), because as it becomes research data we will be exposing (transferring even!) it to other public spaces.
  3. I truly believe that every research participants has the right to know he/she is one. This is not merely a courtesy on the part of the researcher, it is a right that they have! Content produced online, unless stated otherwise, belongs to its producer and should therefore be treated as such. (….maybe what we need is a creative commons license for research purposes! ]

Niessenbaum, and Zimmer, amongst others, talk about contextual integrity, a theory that rejects the notion that information types fit into a rigid dichotomy of public or private.’ “Instead, there is potentially an indefinite variety of types of information that could feature in the informational norms of a given context, and whose categorization might shift from one context to another.” (Zimmer, 2008,  p.116)

Although I am very amenable to the argument of context, and that nothing is absolute, and everything is relative [getting philosophical now!], I think that the context of research practice begs for informed consent independently of the research data being publicly and privately available. In my opinion, converting online information into research data should always be an opt in, and not an opt out, activity involving those to whom the information belongs.

…but as usual, this is only my 2 cents and I look forward to other people’s views on this.

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    News Bites

    Digital Literacy

    A National Survey fin Wales in 2017-18 showed that 15% of adults (aged 16 and over) in Wales do not regularly use the internet. However, this figure is much higher (26%) amongst people with a limiting long-standing illness, disability or infirmity.

    A new Welsh Government programme has been launched which will work with organisations across Wales, in order to help people increase their confidence using digital technology, with the aim of helping them improve and manage their health and well-being.

    Digital Communities Wales: Digital Confidence, Health and Well-being, follows on from the initial Digital Communities Wales (DCW) programme which enabled 62,500 people to reap the benefits of going online in the last two years.

    See here for more information


    Zero Hours Contracts

    Figures from the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency show that in total almost 11,500 people – both academics and support staff – working in universities on a standard basis were on a zero-hours contract in 2017-18, out of a total staff head count of about 430,000, reports the Times Higher Education.  Zero-hours contract means the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours

    Separate figures that only look at the number of people who are employed on “atypical” academic contracts (such as people working on projects) show that 23 per cent of them, or just over 16,000, had a zero-hours contract.


    Resistance decreases over time

    Interesting research on student centered learning and student buy in, as picked up by an article in Inside Higher Ed. A new study published in PLOS ONE, called “Knowing Is Half the Battle: Assessments of Both Student Perception and Performance Are Necessary to Successfully Evaluate Curricular Transformation finds that student resistance to curriculum innovation decreases over time as it becomes the institutional norm, and that students increasingly link active learning to their learning gains over time


    Postgrad pressure

    Research published this year by Vitae and the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and reported by the Guardian highlights the pressure on post graduate students.

    “They might suffer anxiety about whether they deserve their place at university,” says Sally Wilson, who led IES’s contribution to the research. “Postgraduates can feel as though they are in a vacuum. They don’t know how to structure their time. Many felt they didn’t get support from their supervisor.”

    Taught students tend to fare better than researchers – they enjoy more structure and contact, says Sian Duffin, student support manager at Arden University. But she believes anxiety is on the rise. “The pressure to gain distinction grades is immense,” she says. “Fear of failure can lead to perfectionism, anxiety and depression.”


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