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I probably have a closer relationship with my internet provider: experiences of belonging (or not) among mature-aged regional and remote university students


Crawford, NL and Emery, SG and Allen, P and Baird, A, I probably have a closer relationship with my internet provider: experiences of belonging (or not) among mature-aged regional and remote university students, Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 19, (4) Article 11. ISSN 1449-9789 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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While fostering a sense of belonging among university students is an objective of many universities, the landscape of belonging is complex and multifaceted. It is worthy of deeper interrogation, particularly for "non-traditional" students. This article draws on data from a national mixed-methods study that explored proactive ways of supporting the mental wellbeing of mature-aged students in regional and remote Australia. One of the overarching findings was students feeling invisible, misunderstood and undervalued. While this theme was relevant for many participants, it was also the case that other participants reported feeling visible, known and a sense of belonging. These inconsistencies prompted us to conduct further analyses of the quantitative and qualitative data, which were collected from a cross-sectional online survey of 1,879 mature-aged undergraduate students in regional and remote Australia and 51 interviews. We employed Yuval-Davis's analytical framework for the study of belonging. In the quantitative analyses, several variables were found to have a significant association with inclusion/connection/belonging. They included: study mode; socio-economic status; having a diagnosed mental health condition; and supports. In the qualitative analysis, we explored students' experiences in greater depth to gain insights into why some students experience belonging and others do not. Connections and relationships with university staff; familiarity with university systems and places; and feeling included and "part of" a subject/course/campus manifested in students feeling understood, known and a sense of belonging. Due to certain entrenched institutional approaches, in many cases, students' experiences fell short of the supportive and caring learning communities that pedagogical approaches advocate.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:belonging, connection, inclusion, exclusion, mature-aged students, regional and remote students, pedagogy, higher education, regional and remote education
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Education systems
Research Field:Higher education
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Learner and learning
Objective Field:Higher education
UTAS Author:Emery, SG (Dr Sherridan Emery)
UTAS Author:Allen, P (Dr Penny Allen)
UTAS Author:Baird, A (Mr Andy Baird)
ID Code:152771
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Peter Underwood Centre for Educational Attainment
Deposited On:2022-08-24
Last Modified:2022-09-07

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