Staff and student perspectives of online teaching and learning; implications for belonging and engagement at university – a qualitative exploration

Lija Abu, Craig Chipfuwamiti, Adrian-Mihai Costea, Alison Faith Kelly, Krisztina Major, Hilda Mary Mulrooney

Abstract


A sense of belonging within higher education (HE) enhances educational engagement and attainment. The rapid shift to online provision has implications for reducing students’ sense of belonging at university. We have previously shown that students consider belonging in HE to be important and that their personal sense of belonging was high. We also found that sense of belonging had elements of people and place: relationships with peers and staff were influential and the physical campus facilitated social relationships. In the first lockdown, we showed that sense of belonging in both staff and students at our large widening-participation London university was reduced. In this paper, we report on a continuing project to explore the impact of sustained provision of learning online, focusing on qualitative interviews carried out with forty-three students and twenty-three staff. Both groups identified advantages and disadvantages of online provision. Advantages included flexibility and accessibility, with savings – financial and time – owing to reduced commuting. However, both groups identified a negative impact on social relationships, student motivation and engagement. Future development of blended learning should be planned, supported and structured to optimise the benefits.


Keywords


blended; online; belonging; social; engagement

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.21100/compass.v14i3.1219

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