About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 7842-7846
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-608-5617-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.0848

Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain

SOCIAL EQUITY AND JUSTICE THROUGH EDUCATION: EXPLORING ONLINE LEARNERS’ PERSONAL AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC HISTORIES

A. Grigoryan

Petroleum Institute (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)
During the past 15 years, the popularity of online degree programs has increased dramatically. Just as the Internet and the World Wide Web transformed culture and society with speed that gained higher momentum at the advent of Web 2.0 at the turn of the century, online learning has transformed the field of education with its increasing popularity and student demand. A large part of the demand in online learning is led by the influx of students historically considered “nontraditional”entering postsecondary institutions. Many recent academic as well as mainstream publications [1]–[5] point to a “fundamental shift in student demographics” characterized by a large number of “nontraditional” students seeking educational opportunities. These students seek flexible course delivery methods that can help them meet their career and family obligations while also fulfilling their educational goals [5].

The trend of large numbers of nontraditional students enrolling in postsecondary institutions began over 15 years ago and coincided with the beginning of the online learning boom. Since nontraditional students make up the majority of the student body in all undergraduate degree programs and since research shows that nontraditional students are more likely to choose distance education than traditional ones [6], it is reasonable to assume that nontraditional students are a majority in online degree programs.

Despite the hope for a better and more financially stable future that online education offers nontraditional learners, retention has remained a significant problem in online learning. Statistically, nontraditional students, upon enrollment in a postsecondary degree-granting institution, are less likely than traditional students to remain enrolled for five years and attain a degree [6]. In fact, several studies have found that attrition rates for online programs are generally much higher than those of onsite programs[7]–[10]. More recently, Patterson and McFadden [11] found dropout rates at online institutions can be six to seven times higher than that of face-to-face programs. In fact, dropout rates of as high as 50% are not unusual [12].

Based on the social-constructivist approach thatexplores the social and cultural context in which people live and work, this paper will report the findings of a qualitative study that used interviews with diverse online learners to understand their experiences of being online students within the social, personal, and economic context that makes up their histories. The study also aimed to determine the factors that lead students to online learning and the challenges nontraditional students face during their studies that my prevent them from completing their degrees. The presentation will aim to answer the following questions: What leads students to online learning? What are personal, social, and economic factors that play a significant role in non-traditional students’ history, which may include dropping out of traditional community colleges or universities? What steps can online and onsite institutions do to help nontraditional students reach academic success in online and on-site degree programs?
@InProceedings{GRIGORYAN2016SOC,
author = {Grigoryan, A.},
title = {SOCIAL EQUITY AND JUSTICE THROUGH EDUCATION: EXPLORING ONLINE LEARNERS’ PERSONAL AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC HISTORIES},
series = {10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2016 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-5617-7},
issn = {2340-1079},
doi = {10.21125/inted.2016.0848},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2016.0848},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {7-9 March, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {7842-7846}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Grigoryan
TI - SOCIAL EQUITY AND JUSTICE THROUGH EDUCATION: EXPLORING ONLINE LEARNERS’ PERSONAL AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC HISTORIES
SN - 978-84-608-5617-7/2340-1079
DO - 10.21125/inted.2016.0848
PY - 2016
Y1 - 7-9 March, 2016
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2016 Proceedings
SP - 7842
EP - 7846
ER -
A. Grigoryan (2016) SOCIAL EQUITY AND JUSTICE THROUGH EDUCATION: EXPLORING ONLINE LEARNERS’ PERSONAL AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC HISTORIES, INTED2016 Proceedings, pp. 7842-7846.
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