About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6669-6673
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.1731

Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain

FIRST YEAR UNIVERSITY STUDENTS’ PERCEPTIONS ABOUT ELEARNING VERSUS ON CAMPUS LEARNING IN THE 21ST CENTURY: AN ACTIVITY THEORY ANALYSIS

A. Fenn-Lavington

Griffith University (AUSTRALIA)
The aim of this study is to identify the tensions, contradictions and implications for informing the improvement of university teaching and learning regarding eLearning and on campus learning within the context of the first-year experience (FYE) of university study. Moreover, the study aims to examine the effectiveness of the relatively new roles of the personnel who help students in building academic capital through on campus engagement experiences as opposed to eLearning. To illuminate these implications and perceptions of effectiveness, the research will explore the lived experiences of university students through an activity theory lens (Engestrom, 1987, 2001).

Considerable attention is being afforded to the First-Year Experience (FYE) of University students to enhance student retention and success. The importance of social capital (Bourdieu, 1993; Tinto, 2012; Wacquant, 2014) and acquiring academic skills and succeeding in assessment tasks in the FYE is seen to be influential for student success (Tinto, 2012; Kuh, 2013). More recently, in response to these influences, there has been a trend for universities to appoint specialist personnel, such as PASS Coordinators, First Year Coordinators, Mentors, Subject Tutors and various Advisors, whose purpose is to assist in enhancing student success and retention. With the onslaught of eLearning approaches, some effective and some not so effective, this study explores the viability of universities in the 21st Century keeping a strong personal presence by using effective supportive programs to combat the somewhat distant eLearning methods of the 21st Century.

Therefore, the key research question guiding this study:
What approaches are most effective in developing students’ academic capital?

Locating the study within the theoretical and conceptual framework of cultural activity theory (Engestrom, 1987; Bourdieu, 1993) provides a means to describe the dynamic interactions of the various personnel including lecturers and students in teaching and learning, as well to capture the social and academic factors influencing their decision making in the local and broader context.
By employing activity theory, the findings of the survey and the subsequent focus on four first year students provide an expanded view of student cognition that illuminates the complex interrelationships among students’ academic beliefs, their interpretation of the academic ‘affordances-in-use’, their experiences so far as university students, and the academic and social structures in their local environment.

An activity theory base for future research holds significant potential for a broader and deeper theorisation of the complexity of learning in the FYE at university. This study engaged with the contextual complexities of the human condition to illuminate the interrelationships among the individual, social and academic factors at play in academic and assessment tasks and the first-year university students’ learning environment. Balancing the descriptive and interpretive elements of this study with structure and organisation enhanced the explication of the findings. In doing so, this study represents a credible contribution to the field and offers a viable approach for future investigations.
@InProceedings{FENNLAVINGTON2017FIR,
author = {Fenn-Lavington, A.},
title = {FIRST YEAR UNIVERSITY STUDENTS’ PERCEPTIONS ABOUT ELEARNING VERSUS ON CAMPUS LEARNING IN THE 21ST CENTURY: AN ACTIVITY THEORY ANALYSIS},
series = {10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2017 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-6957-7},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2017.1731},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2017.1731},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {6669-6673}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Fenn-Lavington
TI - FIRST YEAR UNIVERSITY STUDENTS’ PERCEPTIONS ABOUT ELEARNING VERSUS ON CAMPUS LEARNING IN THE 21ST CENTURY: AN ACTIVITY THEORY ANALYSIS
SN - 978-84-697-6957-7/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2017.1731
PY - 2017
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2017
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2017 Proceedings
SP - 6669
EP - 6673
ER -
A. Fenn-Lavington (2017) FIRST YEAR UNIVERSITY STUDENTS’ PERCEPTIONS ABOUT ELEARNING VERSUS ON CAMPUS LEARNING IN THE 21ST CENTURY: AN ACTIVITY THEORY ANALYSIS, ICERI2017 Proceedings, pp. 6669-6673.
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