Exploring adult student experiences of new technologies in widening participation.
In: British Educational Research Association Conference, 05-08 Sep 2007, London, UK.
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Issues around e-learning and student use of ‘new’ technologies such as computers, email, the internet, mobile phones and other mobile devices have been the subject of much recent research. However, learner perspectives of e-learning are under-represented in the literature. Research in e-learning is usually focused on technological or pedagogical issues, and so far, students have been largely overlooked. This paper explores the experiences of adult students in using new technologies, on a series of distance education course . These Openings courses are designed for a widening participation audience, which , in this context, refers to groups under-represented in Higher Education, particularly adults with low previous educational qualifications. The results presented in this paper summarise initial findings within an eighteen-month project. The project focuses particularly upon mathematics and science, although humanities are included, to explore discipline variations. The first round of survey and interview data provides insights into the realities of the students’ experience of technologies, which may inform policy and practice decisions within the widening participation arena.
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