Covid-19 and its impact on students’ perception of their roles as Student Ambassadors and/or Course Representatives.
Relationships between universities and their students are complex, but opportunities for active involvement of students in a variety of roles are available. Two of these, Course Representatives (CR) and Student Ambassadors (SA), are explored in this study to better understand student perceptions of these roles, and explore whether and how they have changed in response to the pandemic within a large and diverse post-92 HE institution. Qualitative and quantitative data were gathered using online questionnaires and individual interviews. This data reveals that both groups identified their key responsibility as communications, the main benefit being enhanced social interaction. Both also described the difficulties of juggling multiple commitments and a strong sense of belonging to their institution. The Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected both roles, resulting in communication difficulties for the CR and reduced working opportunities as well as communication problems for SA. Given the move to blended learning approaches in most institutions and the potential for disengagement of students as a result, especially new students who have not yet formed attachments, the SA and CR roles will become more critical to help retain current students and attract new applicants. Understanding how best these roles may be utilised both at a time of a global pandemic and beyond is an important issue for HEIs.
Bell, J., Dicker, R., Garcia, M., Kelly, E, Streich, R, Mulrooney, H. & Kelly, A. F. (2019). Active learning across disciplines: opportunities to develop employability skills and leadership potential in undergraduate students. A student and staff perspective. New Directions in the Teaching of Physical Sciences, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.293111/ndtps.v0i14.3048
Bonwell, C. C. & Eison, J. A. (1991). Active learning: creating excitement in the classroom. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Reports. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED336049.pdf
Bunce, L., Baird, A., & Jones, S. E. (2017). The student-as-consumer approach in higher education and its effects on academic performance. Studies in Higher Education, 42(11), 1958-1978. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2015.1127908
Burns, D., Dagnell, N. & Holt, M. (2020). Assessing the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Student Wellbeing at Universities in the United Kingdom: A Conceptual Analysis. Frontiers in Education, 5, 582882. https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2020.582882
Carey, P. (2013). Representation and student engagement in higher education: a reflection on the views and experiences of course representatives. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 37(1), 71-88. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2011.644775
Chickering, A. W. & Gambon, Z. F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice. AAHE Bulletin, 39, 3-7. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED282491.pdf
Collini, S. (2020, August 31). English universities are in peril because of 10 years of calamitous reform. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/31/english-universities-peril-10-years-calamitous-reform-higher-education
Crawford, J., Butler-Henderson, K., Rudolph, J., Malkawi, B., Glowatz, M., Burton, R., Magni, P. A., & Lam, S. (2020). COVID-19: 20 countries' higher education intra-period digital pedagogy responses. Journal of Applied Learning & Teaching, 3(1), 1-20. https://doi.org/10.37074/jalt.2020.3.1.7
Crossan, B., Field, J., Gallacher, J., & Merrill, B. (2003). Understanding participation in learning for non-traditional adult learners: Learning careers and the construction of learning identities. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 24(1), 55-67. https://doi.org/10.1080/01425690301907
European University Association (2019). Promoting active learning in universities. Thematic Peer Group Report. Learning and Teaching Paper #5. https://eua.eu/downloads/publications/eua%20tpg%20report%205-%20promoting%20active%20learning%20in%20universities.pdf
Fielding, M. (2001). Students as radical agents of change. Journal of Educational Change, 2, 123–141. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1017949213447
Flint, A. & Goddard, G. (2020). Power, Partnership & Representation. In L. Mercer-Mapstone & S. Abbott (Eds). The Power of Partnership: Students, Staff and Faculty Revolutionizing higher Education (pp. 73-86). Elon Center for Engaged Learning.
Fowler-Watt, K., Majin, G., Sunderland, M., Phillips, M., Brine, D., Bissell, A., & Murphy, J. (2020). Reflections on the shifting shape of journalism education in the Covid-19 pandemic. Digital Culture and Education. Advance Online Publication. https://www.digitalcultureandeducation.com/reflections-on-covid19/journalism-education
Freeman, I., & Thomas, M. (2005). Consumerism in education: A comparison between Canada and the United Kingdom. International Journal of Educational Management, 19(2), 153–77. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513540510582444
Freeman, T., Anderman, L., & Jensen, J. (2007). Sense of belonging in College freshmen at the classroom and campus Levels. Journal of Experimental Education, 75(3), 203-220. https://doi.org/10.3200/JEXE.75.3.203-220.
Goodenow, C. (1993). Classroom belonging among early adolescent students: relationships to motivation and achievement. Journal of Early Adolescence,13(1), 21–43. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0272431693013001002
Harris, M. (2011). Responding to student needs - co-responsibility between students and institutions. QAA. https://www.enhancementthemes.ac.uk/docs/ethemes/graduates-for-the-21st-century/responding-to-student-needs-co-responsibility-between-students-and-institutions.pdf?sfvrsn=a23df981_8
Hausmann, L. R., Ye, F., Schofield, J. W., & Woods, R. L. (2009). Sense of belonging and persistence in white and African American first-year students. Research in Higher Education, 50, 649–669. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-009-9137-8
Jackson, N. (2011). Recognising a more complete education through a lifelong learning award. Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning, 1(3), 247-261. https://doi.org/10.1177/1469787415574050
Johnson, D. R. (2012). Campus racial climate perceptions and overall sense of belonging among racially diverse women in STEM majors. Journal of College Student Development, 53(2), 336–346. https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1353/csd.2012.0028
Kahu, E. R. (2011). Framing student engagement in higher education. Studies in Higher Education 38(5), 758-773. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2011.598505
Katanis, T. (2000). The role of social transition in students’ adjustment to the first year of university. Journal of Institutional Research, 9(1), 100-110.
Kedraka, K., & Kaltsidis, C. (2020). Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on university pedagogy: Students’ experiences and considerations. European Journal of Education Studies, 7(8), 16-30. https://doi.org/10.46827/ejes.v7i8.3176
Little, B., Locke, W., Scesa, A., & Williams, R. (2009). Report to HEFCE on student engagement. HEFCE. http://oro.open.ac.uk/15281/1/Report_to_HEFCE_on_student_engagement.pdf
Lizzio, A., & Wilson, K. (2009). Student participation in university governance: The role conceptions and sense of efficacy of student representatives on departmental committees. Studies in Higher Education, 34(1), 69–84. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075070802602000
Longhurst, G. J., Stone, D. M., Dulohery, K., Scully, D., Campbell, T. & Smith, C. F. (2020). Strength, weakness, opportunity, threat (SWOT) analysis of the adaptations to anatomical education in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Anatomical Sciences Education, 13(3), 301-311. https://doi.org/10.1002/ase.1967
Lowden, K., Hall, S., Elliot, D., & Lewin, J. (2011). Employers perceptions of the employability skills of graduates. University of Glasgow SCRE & the Edge Foundation. http://www.edge.co.uk/media/63412/employability_skills_as_pdf_-_final_online_version.pdf
McNulty, J. A., Espiritu, B., Halsey, M., & Mendez, M. (2006). Personality preference influences medical student use of specific computer-aided instruction (CAI). BMC Medical Education, 6, 7. https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6920-6-7
Meehan, C., & Howells, K. (2019). In search of the feeling of ‘belonging’ in higher education: undergraduate students transition into higher education. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 43(10), 1376-1390. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2018.1490702
Mountford-Zimdars, A., Sabri, D., Moore, J., Sanders, J., Jones, S., & Higham L. (2015). Causes of difference in student outcomes. HEFCE. https://dera.ioe.ac.uk/23653/1/HEFCE2015_diffout.pdf
Norton, S. (2016). Embedding employability in higher education for student success. HEA. https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/system/files/downloads/employability_viewpoint_july16_1.pdf
O’Donnell, V. L., & Tobbell., J. (2007). The transition of adult students to Higher Education: legitimate peripheral participation in a community of practice? Adult Education Quarterly, 57(4), 312-328. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0741713607302686#
OECD (2020). The impact of CVOVID-19 on student equity and inclusion: Supporting vulnerable students during school closures and school re-openings. Poly Brief. OECD. https://read.oecd-ilibrary.org/view/?ref=434_434914-59wd7ekj29&title=The-impact-of-COVID-19-on-student-equity-and-inclusion&_ga=2.62708076.1192065862.1628515848-526281153.1621848243
Oldfield, J., Rodwell, J., Curry, L., & Marks, G. (2017). A face in a sea of faces: Exploring university students’ reasons for non-attendance to teaching sessions. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 43(4), 443-452. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2017.1363387
O’Shea, S. E. (2015). Filling up silences – first in family students, capital and university talk in the home. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 34(2), 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1080/02601370.2014.980342
O’Shea, S. (2016). First-in-family learners and higher education: negotiating the ‘silences’ of university transition and participation. HERDSA Review of Higher Education, 3, 5-23. https://www.herdsa.org.au/herdsa-review-higher-education-vol-3/5-23
Read, B., Burke, P. J., & Crozier, G. (2018). ‘It is like school sometimes’: Friendship and sociality on university campuses and patterns of social inequality. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 41(1), 70-82. https://doi.org/10.1080/01596306.2018.1457626
Reay, D. (2008). Class, Authenticity and the transition to higher education for mature students. Sociological Review, 50(3), 398-418. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-954X.00389
Reay, D., Crozier, G., & Clayton, J. (2010). ‘Fitting in’ or ‘standing out’: Working –class students in UK higher education. British Educational Research Journal, 36(1), 107-124. https://doi.org/10.1080/01411920902878925
Rivera Munoz, C. A., Baik, C., & Lodge, J. M. (2019). Teacher and student interactions in the first year of university. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 44(8), 1130-1142. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2019.1664731
Rochford, F. (2014). Bringing them into the tent – student association and the neutered academy. Studies in Higher Education, 39(3), 485-499. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2014.896184
Seale, J. (2009). Doing student voice work in higher education: An exploration of the value of participatory methods. British Educational Research Journal, 36(6), 995-1015. https://doi.org/10.1080/01411920903342038.
Simpson, O. (2003). Student retention in online, open and distance learning. Routledge.
Southall, J., Wason, H., & Avery, A. (2016). Non-traditional, commuter students and their transition to Higher Education – a synthesis of recent literature to enhance understanding of their needs. Student Engagement and Experience Journal, 5(1), 1-15. https://doi.org/10.7190/seej.v4i1.128
Strayhorn, T. (2012). College students' sense of belonging: A key to educational success for all students. Routledge.
Stuart, M., Lido, C., & Morgan, J. (2009). The Impact of Social Identity and Cultural Capital on Different Ethnic Student Groups at University (ESRC End of Award Report, RES-000-22-2485). ESRC. http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/117410/1/117410.pdf
Thomas, L. (2012). Building student engagement and belonging in higher education at a time of change (Final report from the What Works? Student Retention and Success programme). HEA. https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/system/files/What_works_final_report_0.pdf
Thompson, L. J., Clark, G., Walker, M. & Whyatt, J.D. (2013). ‘It’s just like an extra string to your bow’: Exploring higher education students’ perceptions and experiences of extracurricular activity and employability. Active Learning in Higher Education, 14(2), 135-147. https://doi.org/10.1177/1469787413481129
Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving College: Rethinking the Causes and Cures of Student Attrition (2nd Edition). University of Chicago Press.
Trowler, V. (2010). Student engagement literature review. Higher Education Academy.https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/system/files/StudentEngagementLiteratureReview_1.pdf
United Nations (2020). Education during COVID-19 and beyond (Policy Briefing). https://www.un.org/development/desa/dspd/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/08/sg_policy_brief_covid-19_and_education_august_2020.pdf
Universities UK (2016). Universities UK. https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Pages/higher-education-in-england-provision-skills-and-graduates.aspx
Wainwright, E., & Marandet, E. (2010). Parents in higher education: Impacts of university learning on the self and the family. Educational Review, 62(4), 449-465. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131911.2010.48764
Waite, S. (2013). ‘Knowing your place in the world’: How place and culture support and obstruct educational aims. Cambridge Journal of Education, 4(4), 413-433. https://doi.org/10.1080/0305764X.2013.792787
Wang, J. & Yan, Y. (2012). The Interview Question. In J. F. Gubrium, J. A. Holstein, A. B. Marvasti, & K. D. McKinney (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Interview Research (2nd ed., pp. 231-242). London, U.K.: SAGE.
Yuval-Davis, N. (2006). Belonging and the politics of belonging. Patterns of Prejudice, 40(3), 197-214. https://doi.org/10.1080/00313220600769331
How to Cite
LicenseAuthors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
a. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
b. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
c. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).