PHOTOVOICE APPROACH: DEVELOPING STUDENT GENERIC COMPETENCIES THROUGH RESIDENTIAL EXPERIENCES IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Living in university residence halls is a new experience to many undergraduates. Despite the potential of residential halls in enhancing student learning, the role of residence halls is generally perceived as a place for affordable accommodation in Hong Kong. Residential education is defined as an approach to campus life to capture the educational moments that take place as a student spends time on campus (Weinberg, 2005). These educational moments may help to shape and develop student generic competencies and virtues. Although there are various out-of-class activities available to students, living in residence halls can challenge and educate students to connect with their living realities.
This research studies how student generic competencies can be developed through residential experiences. Photovoice is adopted in this research study. First-year student residents are selected from a Hong Kong university which adopts different approaches to add educational values into student residential experiences. The invited student residents record their residential experiences for one semester by taking photos with written captions. These students are purposely selected from different residential halls where diverse educational moments take place. These captioned pictures then served as a catalyst for group discussion sessions. This participatory research methodology enables the collection of direct insight of student residential experiences.
This paper delves into the black box of residential experiences which allows better understanding of the paradoxical reality that residential experiences for undergraduates can simultaneously facilitate student holistic development. It will offer suggestions for the design of residential experiences in higher education for student development. Literature findings suggested that residential experience is more than just accommodation. With better understanding and purposeful design, residential experiences can also carry its educational potential.
 Weinberg, A. (2005). Residential education for democracy. Learning for Democracy, 1(2), 29-45.