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Layers of transition: the lived experiences of online distance learners

Wozniak, Helen and McEldowney, Rosemary (2015). Layers of transition: the lived experiences of online distance learners. In: Thomas, T., Levin, E., Dawson, P., Fraser, K. and Hadgraft, R. 38th HERDSA Annual International Conference, Melbourne, Australia, 6-9 July 2015.

Document type: Conference Paper
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IRMA ID 84377429xPUB122
Author Wozniak, Helen
McEldowney, Rosemary
Title Layers of transition: the lived experiences of online distance learners
Conference Name 38th HERDSA Annual International Conference
Conference Location Melbourne, Australia
Conference Dates 6-9 July 2015
Conference Publication Title Research and Development in Higher Education: Learning for Life and Work in a Complex World
Editor Thomas, T.
Levin, E.
Dawson, P.
Fraser, K.
Hadgraft, R.
Place of Publication Milperra, NSW, Australia
Publisher Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia, Inc.(HERDSA)
Publication Year 2015
Volume Number 38
Issue Number 1441-01X
ISBN 978-0-908557-96-7   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 505
End Page 515
Total Pages 10
HERDC Category E1 - Conference Publication (DIISR)
Abstract Higher education is undergoing change, whereby technology is used to mediate learning for an increasingly diverse student population. Many choose flexible options studying online and at a distance to the university. Such policy directions have created an educational problem for students, namely how to manage this mode of learning while maintaining complex lives juggling work, home and study. This research forms part of an extended design-based research project studying the practical problem of health science students transitioning to online distance study. A subset of five students studying an undergraduate fully online nursing degree at a regional university was used to examine their engagement with an online orientation resource designed to smooth the transition to university study. Their digital footprints illustrating student access levels were combined with qualitative interview data to identify and interpret meanings about the way they encountered and constructed their study world. Findings indicated that technical aspects, lifestyle, interaction and academic supports created both barriers and enablers for this transition. The essence of the students’ experience revealed a complex study journey with multiple layers of transition. This involved adjusting to being a university student, managing the distance and online environment and re-positioning their occupational mindset. Their ability to manage these layers of transition was influenced by their selfregulatory varied approaches to enable successful transition for distance and online learners.
Keyword Design-based research
Student engagement
Description for Link Link to confernece proceedings
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Created: Tue, 26 Jul 2016, 12:11:28 CST