University of Central Lancashire (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2019 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 7106-7112
ISBN: 978-84-09-08619-1
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2019.1720
Conference name: 13th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 11-13 March, 2019
Location: Valencia, Spain
This paper explores themes around retention of students in higher education, an ongoing problem for universities across the world. Attending and finishing a university course is a central enabler of social mobility in the UK. It unlocks the gate to a varied range of professional careers, and forecasts imply that there will be sustained development in the need for people with graduate-level skills. There are now more people in the UK enrolling at universities than ever before, with a wider variety of courses being made available, to a more diverse body of students.

This research project used an interpretive approach to student’s experiences during their first year of an undergraduate computing degree at a university in the North West of England. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with Year 1 Computing students at a number of points spanning their first year of study. The interviews are designed to explore their feelings and experiences at each point. The data collected during the interviews has been coded and analysed using thematic analysis. It has been reviewed repeatedly to identify trends and refined so that themes can be acknowledged.

The paper presents the research method and analysis, using specific examples of data as supporting evidence. This is an attempt to understand the student experience. Making sense of student experiences and helping them meet their expectations is vital to any university. Each student who abandons their studies is likely to suffer a poor experience of higher education, which may impact their confidence, as well as their future career prospects. The effect on the university is likewise as grave, with several repercussions, including loss of potential income.

With higher education being the foundations of a lifetime of learning, it is important that all students have the opportunity to thrive and flourish, so examining data that is held on students may unpack areas that would enable enhancements and interventions to be tailored to provide better support.
Student Retention, Higher Education, Computing, Student Experience.