About this paper

Appears in:
Page: 8219 (abstract only)
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.0795

Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain

IT IS NOT THE EASY OPTION PEOPLE THINK IT IS. SOCIAL ISOLATION AS A CONSEQUENCE OF LIVING AT HOME WHEN STUDYING AT UNIVERSITY. SOME IMPLICATIONS FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING

S. Speed, D. Burns, P. Fisher

University of Manchester (UNITED KINGDOM)
Background:
The United Kingdom (UK) has developed social and education policy to encourage students from a wide variety of backgrounds in Higher Education (HE) (Higher Education Funding Council England, HEFCE, 2009: 2014). The widening access and Widening Participation (WP) agenda generated by these policies and directives are targeted approaches to actively recruit students from non-traditional and mature students into HE. A sub group of students who are actively encouraged to pursue HE are those students who would not normally move away from home to study at University due to either family or financial commitments but who never-the-less want a University education and professional career (Holdsworth 2011). These Live at Home students (LAH) face many problems when they study at University and in the UK they are more than twice as likely to leave or suspend their studies (Archer et al 2003; Pugsley 2004; Reay 2001; Christie 2007). Little is known about the experiences of these students and the challenges they face which lead to the decision to leave or the struggles they face if they stay on their course of study. The aim of this study was to investigate the experience of medical and nursing students who live at home whilst studying in order to highlight the problems and potential solutions to these problems.

Methods:
Four focus groups (2 for nursing and two for medicine) were undertaken with nursing (n= 18, 10 and 8) and medical students (n=17, 11 and 6). Two experienced qualitative researcher conducted the focus groups in line with (Kitzinger, 1994; Kreuger, 2008) approach to focus group research. Data were analysed using a thematic analysis approach where two researchers generated the themes which were then agreed across the team.

Results:
This paper discusses the theme of social isolation The data in this study show that LAH students face many problems when engaging with their programme of study which has negative effects on their experience of study. Engagement with social activities difficult, the allocation of groups for course work makes making friends difficult which then leads to social isolation. This then has an effect on the experience of study and the development of social relationships. Students tended therefore to graitate towards religious and age based affiliations and friendships and consequently LAH students reported missing out on the wider and richer social relationships they could possibly develop. The students reported that it is "not the easy option they thought!" and that studying whilst living at home presented them with many challenges.

Discussion:
Live at home students face many problems engaging with their course of study and establishing a sense of connection with their peers. Strategies which would help LAH students, including the planning and induction before the start of the course and the careful organisation of welcome week. The use of social media, information technology were reported to be useful both before the start of the course and whilst studying in the early part of the course. The role of academic staff and peer support were highlighted as possible factors which would help students feel a part of the university.
@InProceedings{SPEED2016ITI,
author = {Speed, S. and Burns, D. and Fisher, P.},
title = {IT IS NOT THE EASY OPTION PEOPLE THINK IT IS. SOCIAL ISOLATION AS A CONSEQUENCE OF LIVING AT HOME WHEN STUDYING AT UNIVERSITY. SOME IMPLICATIONS FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING},
series = {8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN16 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-8860-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2016.0795},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2016.0795},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {4-6 July, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {8219}}
TY - CONF
AU - S. Speed AU - D. Burns AU - P. Fisher
TI - IT IS NOT THE EASY OPTION PEOPLE THINK IT IS. SOCIAL ISOLATION AS A CONSEQUENCE OF LIVING AT HOME WHEN STUDYING AT UNIVERSITY. SOME IMPLICATIONS FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING
SN - 978-84-608-8860-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2016.0795
PY - 2016
Y1 - 4-6 July, 2016
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN16 Proceedings
SP - 8219
EP - 8219
ER -
S. Speed, D. Burns, P. Fisher (2016) IT IS NOT THE EASY OPTION PEOPLE THINK IT IS. SOCIAL ISOLATION AS A CONSEQUENCE OF LIVING AT HOME WHEN STUDYING AT UNIVERSITY. SOME IMPLICATIONS FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING, EDULEARN16 Proceedings, p. 8219.
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