Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal <p>SEHEJ is an international peer-reviewed journal supporting the work of the <a href="">RAISE network</a>. Thus the focus is on student engagement, the active participation of students and staff and students working in partnership. You can sign up as a reviewer, reader, or author on this site by creating an account, and contact the editorial board on </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> en-US Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:<br /><p>a. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a <a href="" target="_new">Creative Commons Attribution License</a> that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.</p><p>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.</p><p>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 <a href="" target="_new">The Effect of Open Access</a>).</p> (SEHEJ Editorial team) (Katrina Ingram) Thu, 22 Feb 2024 09:10:11 +0000 OJS 60 Riding the carousel: Examining the intersection of students’ identity and sense of place as factors impacting their attendance and engagement behaviours <p><strong>ABSTRACT </strong></p> <p>Motivated by lower levels of student attendance on campus than pre-pandemic, this research explored the intersect of student identity and place as dependent factors in student attendance and engagement behaviours; seeking to further understand students’ decision-making process in deciding whether to attend campus.</p> <p>The paper discusses the findings of a small exploratory research project which, through a participant-led interactive virtual interview, enabled students to talk about things that had influenced their attendance and engagement at university. Students identified that different aspects of their identity and geography were more prominent at certain times of the year, that certain identities were more important to them and that they deprioritized university attendance to attend to these other commitments. All students acknowledged that balancing these competing demands was a struggle and that their engagement had negatively suffered due to other factors. The key findings from the research are presented as composite case studies. These are also offered as audio clips to allow the characters to tell their stories. Speaking about the sense of juggling competing demands, feeling like an outsider (both geographically and to the “student” role), the motivation to accommodate university into an already complex and demanding life load and the desire to maintain a sense of connectedness to their home, family, and sense of authentic self.</p> <p>The findings highlight the divergence in the non-traditional student group and the practical decision-making process students employ when trying to balance their competing identities and making authentic choices aligned with their identities. It celebrates the autonomy they have as adult learners and poses questions for institutions as to whether more can be done to accommodate and meet students where they are, acknowledging the student role may not be the default or dominant identity these individuals occupy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Keywords: Student Engagement, Identity, Geography, Place, Lifeload, Non-traditional student</p> Helen Kirby-Hawkins Copyright (c) 2024 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal Fri, 26 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Representation and Sense of Belonging for People of the Global Majority in Higher Education <p>This paper explores student perceptions of culture, representation, and barriers to success in higher education (HE) for People of the Global Majority (PGM). Many students who are People of the Global Majority in the context of UK higher education experience a variety of challenges while studying. One such challenge concerns culture and representations of culture and ethnicity. Whereas many studies investigate the experience of PGM students and frame that through Critical Race Theory (CRT), more empirical studies are needed to explore these experiences with regard to culture and representations of culture and ethnicity at personal and institutional/ structural levels and how these link to multiple areas of student success, particularly awards and different elements of the curriculum such as learning and teaching approaches. This study addresses this gap and provides empirical results through the data collected via a survey method, which is also an underutilized method to map the feelings and perceptions of a large student cohort (N=441 – number of survey participants), with participants from a large Post-1992 university.</p> <p>An earlier unpublished study showed that students felt that an understanding of and shared experiences of ethnicity and the associated cultural heritage impacted their experiences in higher education, and this research explores this more deeply. Whilst this full research project covered representation of culture in the curriculum; cultural sensitivity in learning environments; the impact of culture and student backgrounds on higher education study; experiences of different teaching methods; and prior educational experiences, this paper focuses more specifically on representation and sense of belonging for PGM students at one institution.</p> <p>Key words: representation; sense of belonging; PGM; People of the Global Majority; BAME; culture</p> Fiona Cook Copyright (c) 2024 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal Fri, 26 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Placements as Communities of Practice (CoP) <p>Placements are becoming an integral part of undergraduates’ experiences of higher education. They are offered in a variety of subject areas including education, and can be taken by students as different types of work-based experiences, such as placements. The literature supports this focus on placement experiences through the publication of long lists of benefits for students, universities and employers. However, there is also evidence of limitations in placement experiences that hinder this generalized view of placements’ benefits. Therefore, this article offers a reflective account by a lecturer and a student of their experience of using the framework of Communities of Practice (CoP) and socio-cultural concepts in a placement module in higher education. Through this reflective account, the article argues that CoP, as a framework for social learning rooted in participation can support students to engage with the placement’ setting, people and knowledge, when integrated into a placement module. The article also suggests the need for the consideration of additional features of the placement experience, such as structure and pedagogical approaches, thus offering valuable insights to other placement modules in the UK and beyond.</p> Gisela Oliveira, Abdullah Daya Copyright (c) 2024 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal Fri, 26 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 An investigation into the provision of support for mature international students at UK HEIs to foster belonging <p>Widening participation and lifelong learning have emerged as areas of keen debate in Higher Education. The rapid expansion of international students in UK HEIs has led universities across the UK to turn their attention towards ensuring that students have the necessary foundations to succeed in their educational endeavors. However, quite often students with multiple characteristics (‘intersectionality’) are marginalized. An example of such a group is mature international students, who may be overlooked and under-supported. Current literature indicates that both mature and international students do not fit in the traditional university culture with additional family, work, and financial pressures, often leading them to be further removed from the university community, resulting in a weaker sense of belonging. Whilst student belonging has become the focus of research in HEIs, limited research exists into the work being done to support the belonging of mature international students. Drawing upon primary and secondary data from across 44 UK HEIs, this study highlights the support offered to mature international students and gaps in support provision, highlighted by researchers and practitioners. Our results show that whilst a wide range of support exists to foster the belonging of mature or international students, this is largely aimed at one group rather than mature international students as a whole. The study highlights the importance of moving away from a deficit model and ensuring that HEIs focus on facilitating cultural inclusivity.</p> Aneeza Pervez, Dangeni, Niki Koutrou, Clare Miller, Charlotte Wisson Copyright (c) 2024 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal Fri, 26 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Wellbeing Day: Co-producing events with students to promote wellbeing <p>Wellbeing comprises both positive and negative feelings and emotions and is directly impactful upon mental health. At university, students are exposed to a multitude of experiences that can both benefit and impair wellbeing, such as the transition to social and academic independence. It is widely recognised that students are vulnerable to mental ill-health and poor wellbeing is a catalyst of this. Including students in decision-making about their lives fosters student empowerment and belongingness, which are both predictors of positive wellbeing. Centring students in decision-making via co-production may be effective in benefitting student wellbeing. Co-production concerns the prioritisation of the lived experiences of a target population within the design and implementation of a product or service, facilitated by professionals. Within this review, we will draw upon Wellbeing Day, a departmental event co-produced for students, to evaluate the effectiveness of co-production upon student wellbeing. Wellbeing Day took place in November 2022 at a UK-based university and was entirely co-produced by a group of teaching-focused staff and a group of undergraduate and postgraduate students. We encourage student-facing staff across universities to engage in co-production with students to promote better student wellbeing.</p> Beatrice Hayes, Danijela Serbic Copyright (c) 2024 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal Fri, 26 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Challenges and barriers for first-year home and international students in Higher Education in the UK and Ireland: A scoping review <p>The challenges and barriers that occur when transitioning to university are widely acknowledged within the Higher Education (HE) sector (Thompson et al., 2021). Previous literature has focused extensively on the importance of breaking down barriers and cultivating a sense of belonging in order to generate student success (Daniels &amp; McNeela, 2021; Thompson et al., 2021). There is also considerable research and literature surrounding the challenges and barriers that international students face (Gbadamosi, 2018). However, the direct comparisons between the challenges and barriers faced by home students and international students are less prominently researched. This scoping review aims to fill this gap by gathering literature on this topic and highlighting the similarities and differences between the challenges and barriers home and international students encounter.</p> Yasmin Clough, Sarah Gibbons, Hannah Gibson, Kiu Sum, Yue Yue Copyright (c) 2024 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal Fri, 26 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Student Co-creation of Digital Learning Resources: An evaluation and reflection of veterinary pharmacy and care home pharmacy interprofessional education packages <p>Funding secured from the University of Nottingham was used to enable students to work together with academics to develop two interprofessional education (IPE) e-learning resources using Xerte<sup>TM</sup>. One project focussed on veterinary pharmacy and involved six students from both the School of Pharmacy and School of Veterinary Medicine and Science. The other project focussed on the role of the pharmacist in a care home setting; the two pharmacy students involved completed a pilot placement in a care home as a prerequisite. With a focus on digital engagement and co-creation, this project encouraged the development of learning communities and a connected curriculum. Students collaborated to build IPE resources that would aid student learning. Healthcare professionals need to be prepared to integrate into the multidisciplinary team (MDT) and this project aimed to nurture such cooperation.</p> <p>The perspectives of the student co-creators were explored through a reflective survey, focusing on their experiences of Xerte<sup>TM</sup>, the co-creation process and the skills they developed. In addition, the e-learning resources produced were reviewed by a group of student evaluators focusing on content, relevance to practice, accessibility, learning gained and ease of use. The overall aim was to optimise and enhance any future digital co-creation projects.</p> <p>The reflection from the student co-creators was generally positive. The students gained an insight into the role of educators, developed interpersonal skills, and gained knowledge related to their profession as well as the wider MDT. Challenges were concentrated around the use of the Xerte<sup>TM</sup> and logistical issues of group work; specific training and ongoing support from academics was crucial in overcoming this. This was even more apparent in the larger group involving both schools, where the wider remit accentuated challenges around producing focused content in a cohesive package. However, students appreciated the creative freedom and autonomy in deciding the content and activities within the resources. Result from the evaluation showed the resources were easy to navigate, engaging through interactive elements and relevant to students’ profession as well as contributing IPE. Design, grammatical errors, and accessibility were areas highlighted for improvement.</p> <p>Overall, the students’ perspectives and collaboration between students of different disciplines added great value to curriculum development, though support from academics is key. The produced outcomes also require scrutiny from academics before they can be integrated into the curriculum. The value of co-creation is apparent, but a balance should be sought between giving the students full autonomy and providing structured support.</p> Priyanka Chandarana, Rebecca Rickaby, Kimberley Sonnex, Cinzia Allegrucci, Amelia Garcia-Ara Copyright (c) 2024 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal Fri, 26 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Ethnicity Awarding Gap Project – co-creation and action research; a means of understanding the student experience of underrepresented students <p>Reducing awarding gaps is part of the Faculty Student Experience strategy which aims to maintain an inclusive community environment. At the time this project was conceptualised, the ethnicity awarding gap in the faculty between students from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic backgrounds and their white counterparts was 11.2% at the level of 1St class degrees and 3.4% when 2:1 and 1st class degrees were combined. The Ethnicity Awarding Gap project was developed to understand the student experience of this group of students and investigate structural factors that may be contributing to the awarding gap. 10 student researchers were hired to participate in this student-staff action research project to lead focus groups. These focus groups revealed student opinion on community, belonging, teaching, and learning. Other themes included comfortability accessing support, navigating the hidden curriculum, university preparedness and capital in its various forms. The researchers analysed this data and produced 6 research project outlines and actionable recommendations. Through the procurement of funding, liaison with key stakeholders and continued student consultation these projects and recommendations will be established across the faculty in the hope to transform experiences and graduating awards for students <br />from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.</p> Tamara Kwofie, Mariam Almallah, Ajfar Choudhury, Deneka Francis, Hannah Gordon, Helena Gordon-Agbaje, Zainab Javed, Fatima Khan, Maryam Miah, Amanda Richardson, Vanessa Wete Copyright (c) 2024 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal Fri, 26 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 "Who am I? Navigating Professional Identity as an Ethnic Minority Early Career Academic <p>Finding the answer to my academic identity and a sense of belonging is something I have questioned since I just started my doctorate journey. It has been a question lingering in my mind with no clear answer where one will go after a few years of completing a PhD. Yet, without a doubt, the challenges I experienced demonstrate that constructing my identity in my discipline and the wider sector will be much more challenging than one would have hoped.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This reflection article aims to share a personal account of a doctoral researcher transitioning to an independent professional. Key aspects, such as their experience constructing their identity in their field, the professional developmental support as a doctoral researcher in preparation and during that transition, and the challenges with employment opportunities for the wider doctoral graduate community will be discussed. In addition to drawing on previous literature, provocative questions will be shared with the higher education sector to consider what more we can do to support the lives of postgraduate researchers after their doctorate to support their sense of belonging.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Championing that early career professionals need to have the graduates' attributes to make it in the "real world" is one thing. But the support to meet individual needs is another. Having the right skills and experiences is difficult and valuable. Yet, do we know if our graduates are fully ready to become independent professionals in the real world?</p> Kiu Sum Copyright (c) 2024 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal Fri, 26 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 RAISE Special Interest Groups (Early Career Researchers and Research & Evaluation) Collaboration: A Case Study <p>In the academic year 2022/23, the RAISE Special Interest Groups for Early Career Researchers and Research &amp; Evaluation collaboratively developed a professional development programme for HE colleagues new to writing about student engagement. The diverse audience ranged from Early Career Researchers (ECRs) to colleagues new to academic writing including those interested in writing about Student Engagement. The programme featured three online events (alongside virtual on-demand support) covering themes around barriers and challenges to publication; enabling collaboration and co-creation across institutional/disciplinary contexts and the opportunity to participate in an academic writing workshop. This case study will present an account of the process and experiences of delivering these events looking into the barriers and challenges experienced by ECRs, the community-based, peer-learning approach adopted (CoPs) to address these with the aim to facilitate the publication process and make it more inclusive and accessible for (a diverse range of) participants. The example is framed and contextualised through relevant literature and a wider higher education backdrop of work-life balance, principles of staff-student partnership and a ‘publish or perish’ culture. </p> Wilko Luebsen, Stuart Sims, John Lean, Kiu Sum Copyright (c) 2024 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal Fri, 26 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Boys Dance Too: a case study on building and fostering peers communities among male-identifying dancers within Higher Education <p>There is a wealth of research which indicates the negative effects that lack of male role models might have of male-identifying people interested in participating in dance (Risner 2007, 2009a; Polasek and Roper 2011; Halton and Worthen 2014). For those who have chosen to participate in dance training and have continued through to Higher Education, this lack of role models and peers continues to provide some additional challenges. The following project focuses on the participation of male-identifying students within dance, with a focus on exploring how building a sense of community might contribute to student engagement and wellbeing within higher education. &nbsp;</p> <p>This project tracks the ongoing extra-curricular weekly choreographic sessions as part of ‘Lincoln Boys Company’ and its potential to create peer communities for male dancers within higher Education. The research proposes structured collaborative performance making as a tool for building and maintaining positive peer communities among male dancers in HE, and thus enhancing the student experience.</p> Tessa Palfrey Copyright (c) 2024 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal Fri, 26 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Collaborative drawing as a tool for creating a sense of community within NTU’s Architecture students <p>During the COVID-19 pandemic, students studied from home in isolation, communicating digitally through the computer.&nbsp; Some students lost confidence academically, as well as socially.&nbsp; Students’ wellbeing also suffered due to the challenging circumstances of the pandemic.&nbsp;&nbsp; A community of practice (CoP) is one way of tackling this issue and building a sense of community post pandemic.&nbsp; A CoP brings people together who share a passion for something they do and have a desire to further their skills alongside others with the same interest (Wenger-Trayner and Wenger-Trayner, 2015). Students get to know, trust and support each other (Laal and Ghodsi, 2012, p.817), improving the sense of belonging as students work together, consequently benefitting students’ wellbeing.</p> <p>The Architecture department at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) is exploring collaborative drawing, as a community of practice to improve a sense of belonging, whilst tackling issues related to confidence, perfectionism, and wellbeing. Alongside this, they seek to encourage students to draw more by hand, a skill that is often forgotten or put to one side in favour of digital drawing.</p> <p>Jessica Payne, Final year Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) student and Holly Mills, Senior Lecturer at NTU have been researching aspects of collaborative drawing together.&nbsp; The collaboration between staff and student was critical as it enabled the scholarly enquiry to be centred on student engagement.</p> <p>This case study focuses on one session which explored the practice and impact on learning: a ‘Cake &amp; Draw’ workshop hosted by the Architecture Student Society in April 2023.&nbsp; &nbsp;Using a focus group and post workshop surveys, Mills and Payne evaluated the benefits of collaborative drawing. They found that collaborative drawing enabled students to take risks, draw more fluently and accept ‘imperfect’ work. Collaborative drawing was found to expand feelings of community and increase communication between different cohorts, which in turn benefited the student’s wellbeing.</p> <p>Following Mills and Payne’s scholarly enquiry, the architecture department will implement a drawing area in the studio and adapt the themes of the collaborative drawing workshops to be more closely related to the architecture course.</p> Holly Mills, Jessica Payne Copyright (c) 2024 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal Fri, 26 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Using a gamification framework to increase student engagement with groupwork. <p>A sci-fi themed boardgame has been developed by students, for students, to enhance engagement and satisfaction with teamwork tasks at university and beyond.</p> <p>To address the need identified amongst students at Newcastle University for additional support in preparation for groupwork, funding was competitively acquired from the University’s Education Development Fund to employ 6 student interns with the remit to develop an inclusive, fun, board game to tackle common issues with group working. They collaborated with staff to codesign a teaching resource that aimed to increase student engagement with groupwork.</p> <p>The need was raised in part due to a focus group with international students, and part of general student module feedback, and staff lived experience.&nbsp; Staff saw the value in an active approach to learning teamwork skills as opposed to listing off a series of dos and don’t’s in lectures. As such a framework of gamification was used to create ‘Alien Alliance’, a sci-fi themed board game incorporating teamwork training elements.</p> <p>This case study analyses the intervention to demonstrate that the gamified teaching resource can improve student engagement with teamwork through its ability to provide students with take away tips for future groupwork and act as a fun ice-breaker in a range of scenarios to develop confidence and communication skills.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>The game was piloted and trialled across a range of scenarios in the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, including widening-access summer schools in the transition to HE and across Stage 1-3, with applications identified in engineering, medicine, and languages.&nbsp; Feedback collated from students and staff demonstrated that this co-designed activity was considered a fun tool that has the potential to provide takeaway tips for future group work and definite ability in improving student confidence and communication. While it is not liked by all students, comparison of groupwork related complaints before and after the game was introduced into a module, suggests it has reduced issues. Alien Alliance provides a strong foundation from which further, improved versions can be developed.</p> <p>A 4 minute video outlining the game (supplementing the instruction booklet at the start of a lecture and available via QR code) is available here to give further context and a visual description of the project and insight into the game: <a href=";;sdata=R7H6djMKp5pnXOp0AU4GBX4LYR5xL8P9DXC5saOIwiw%3D&amp;reserved=0"></a></p> Manjot Brar, Catherine Douglas, Elisa Lopez-Capel Copyright (c) 2024 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal Fri, 26 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 From Collaboration to Transformation: A Reflective Exploration of Student-Staff Partnerships for Technology Enhanced Learning in Higher Education <p>Collaboration between students and staff has increasingly gained recognition as a powerful avenue for enhancing the overall learning experience in Higher Education. Student-staff partnership projects offer a unique opportunity for students to actively engage with their programme of studies, influencing decision-making processes and contributing to the improvement of the learning environment. This reflective practice piece delves into the lived experiences of four students who embraced student-staff partnership in unique ways, each contributing their perspectives and invaluable insights to projects they were involved in. With an aim to shed light on the significance of reflecting upon these lived experiences, recognising the immense value they hold for students, staff and the institution as a whole, a critical narrative enquiry approach was used in addition to vignettes to understand the intricacies and dynamics of student-staff partnerships, unravelling the complexities and capturing the transformative effects of these collaborations on students. By examining the challenges and triumphs faced by these four student partners, we gain insights into the multifaceted nature of student-staff partnerships, their potential for growth, and the resulting impact on the higher education landscape.</p> Nurun Nahar, Thomas Storey, Adeeba Azhar, Victoria Lomas, Kausar Jabbar Copyright (c) 2024 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal Fri, 26 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 "Where do we belong?" Collaborative Insights from RAISE Special Issue Groups' (Early Careers and Research Evaluation) Writing Project Kiu Sum, John Lean, Wilko Luebsen, Stuart Sims Copyright (c) 2024 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal Fri, 26 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Q&As - A Conversation with the Editors <p>A conversation piece among the guest editors on their experience of collaborating between two Special Interest Groups for this Special Issue of the journal</p> Kiu Sum, John Lean, Wilko Luebsen, Stuart Sims Copyright (c) 2024 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal Fri, 26 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Student Inclusion Consultants and Their Role within Higher Education Facilities <p><strong><u>Abstract</u></strong></p> <p>Every year, current Northumbria University students from underrepresented groups are offered flexible, paid opportunities to enhance the student experience by working as Student Inclusion Consultants (SIC).</p> <p>Our lived experience is used to identify and address barriers to access, success and progression, as well as to ensure the student experience is accessible and inclusive for all students. Examples of underrepresented student groups who are employed as SICs include commuter students, student carers, disabled students, and mature students.</p> <p>Since the scheme’s inception in 2020, over 50 SICs have been appointed across all our campuses (Newcastle, London and Amsterdam) and across all faculties. The scheme is funded by the University’s Access and Participation Plan (APP) and has, to date, provided students with over 1,500 hours of paid work and professional skills development.</p> <p>The scheme is based on the principles of students as co-creators, working with university staff on a wide-reaching range of projects. In practice this can include the design and delivery of focus groups, researching and producing reports, and presenting at conferences. The key thread to all of this is the elevation of our underrepresented student voice.</p> <p>As SIC’s we’d like to share our insight and reflections on the scheme with you, having been involved with its design, development and delivery at various stages.</p> Shola Hughes, Rian Laidlow, John Booth-Carey, Ellie Turnbull Copyright (c) 2024 Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal Fri, 26 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000