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Can students combine work and study? A survey of part-time work and perceptions of the study of undergraduate and postgraduate engineering students

Jonkman, Mirjam E., De Boer, Friso G. and Jagielski, Jenifer A. (2006). Can students combine work and study? A survey of part-time work and perceptions of the study of undergraduate and postgraduate engineering students. In: 17th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education, Auckland, New Zealand, 10-13 December 2006.

Document type: Conference Paper
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IRMA ID 77514990xPUB1
Author Jonkman, Mirjam E.
De Boer, Friso G.
Jagielski, Jenifer A.
Title Can students combine work and study? A survey of part-time work and perceptions of the study of undergraduate and postgraduate engineering students
Conference Name 17th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education
Conference Location Auckland, New Zealand
Conference Dates 10-13 December 2006
Conference Publication Title Proceedings of the 17th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education: Creativity, challenge, change
Place of Publication Auckland, New Zealand
Publisher School of Engineering, Auckland University of Technology
Publication Year 2006
ISBN 9780473118815   (check CDU catalogue  open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 823
End Page 828
Total Pages 6
HERDC Category E1 - Conference Publication (DEST)
Abstract The current generation of Australian university students spends more time in part time employment than previous generations. This increase can be partially explained by economic necessity to compensate for a rise in tuition fees and the increased cost of living. Part-time work can interfere with study behaviour and has the potential to adversely affect academic standards at universities. To investigate the relationship between part-time employment and study a survey was held. A cohort of undergraduate and postgraduate engineering students was questioned about their enrolment, study behaviour including class attendance, study hours, perceived study workload, perceived difficulty of the course and part time work commitments. This was followed by focus groups, in which the questions raised by the survey were further explored. The results of the survey showed a number of interesting trends. They confirmed that students are working long hours. The number of hours students claim to be studying varies but is not strongly correlated to the number of hours student spent in paid employment. A remarkable difference was found between undergraduate and postgraduate engineering students when part-time working hours and perceived difficulty of the course were correlated. For undergraduate students this is slightly positive, +0.18, i.e. an increase in working hours only has a minor effect on how difficult a course is being perceived, while the postgraduate engineering students showed a strongly negative correlation, -0.37, i.e. the more part time work a student does, the easier the course is perceived to be. This counter intuitive result was further investigated with follow up focus groups. One possible explanation that emerged is that the perceived level of difficulty may be an indication of the standards a student desires to achieve rather than of the intrinsic difficulty of the study material or the capacity of the student. It is easier to get a pass than a high distinction and students, who only want to get a pass, therefore consider the study easier than students who aim to get high distinctions.
 
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Created: Fri, 12 Sep 2008, 08:35:25 CST by Administrator