• Cross-cultural adaptation and academic performance: overseas Chinese students on an international foundation course at a British university

      Xiong, Zhao Ning (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2005-02)
      The aim of the present research study was to examine the cross-cultural adaptation experiences of overseas Chinese students studying on an International Foundation Course (hereafter IFC) at Luton University, in an attempt to: 1) gain a better understanding of the sociocultural adjustment difficulties and psychological adjustment problems experienced by the Chinese students and their perceived importance in adapting to sociocultural events in the new environment; 2) to examine factors that are related to the students' sociocultural adjustment, psychological adjustment and academic performance; 3) to explore the strategies used by the students for handling obstacles; 4) to integrate research perspectives from different fields (e.g. cultural adaptation, international education), and to re-assess current theoretical models in the light of this. To gain new insights into the dynamic and multi-dimensional nature of cross-cultural adaptation, this two-phase, sequential mixed method study was designed firstly to obtain quantitative results from a sample of the IFe Chinese students and then to follow up a few of the students and their teachers to explore those results in greater depth. In the first phase, a total of 126 of the students participated in the cross-cultural adaptation survey. In the second phase, twenty of the respondents of the earlier survey and seven of the IFC teachers were invited for a semi-structured in-depth interview. Results of the survey indicated that the IFC respondents regarded themselves as having "slight to moderate difficulty" in coping with the new culture, more specifically, interactions with people of other nationalities were perceived as more difficult than the academic demands, which in turn were seen as more difficult than daily life demands. With regard to psychological adjustment, most of the IFC students did not have clinical depression symptoms. Psychological adjustment was found to affect academic performance (measured by GPA). An examination of the students' GPA showed that more than half of the students had a GPA in the 'bare pass' category and half of the respondents had negative perceptions of the university, many of whom regarded the university to be worse than they expected. Results of the in-depth interviews from the students and teachers corroborated and added some further insights to the findings of the survey. After discussing the empirical findings in relation to the relevant theories and research studies, a number of recommendations are offered respectively for international students, for staff working with international students and for university authorities.
    • Enhanced technology acceptance model to explain and predict learners' behavioural intentions in learning management systems

      Al-Aulamie, Abdullah (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-09)
      E-learning has become the new paradigm for modern teaching moreover, the technology allows to break the resurrection of time and place by enabling people to learn whenever and wherever they want. In information system research, learners' acceptance of e-learning can be predicted and explained using technology acceptance models. This research developed enhanced technology acceptance model to explain students' acceptance of learning management systems (LMSs) in Saudi Arabia. The research model aims to investigate the viability of TAM constructs in a nonwestern country. Moreover, due to the cultural impact of the Saudi Arabian culture towards genders, the research addresses the moderating effect of gender towards LMSs acceptance. The developed model variables identification focuses on two motivation aspects, extrinsic and intrinsic. The developed model consisted of ten variables in total, which can be categorised into three groups. First, the extrinsic variables consisting of information quality, functionality, accessibility, and user interface design. Second, the intrinsic variables are consisting of computer playfulness, enjoyment, and learning goal orientation. Third, the TAM variables consisting of perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use and behavioural intention. Moreover, to validate and examine the developed model, a questionnaire tool was developed for data collection. Furthermore, the data was collected from electronically from three universities over six weeks. The research findings supported the developed model. Additionally, the identified variables were good critical in predicting and explaining students' acceptance of LMSs. The research applied structural equation modelling for statistical analysis using IBM AMOS. The research results confirmed the applicability of the developed model to explain the Saudi students' acceptance of LMSs. The developed model explained high variance among the dependent variables outperforming the excising models. The research improved the explanatory power of the TAM model through the identified variables. Furthermore, the research results showed that the extrinsic variables were stronger predictors of students' perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use and behavioural intention. In addition, the results showed that males and females perception towards the LMS was significantly different. The male students' acceptance towards LMSs was higher than females. Moreover, enjoyment was the stronger determinant of females' behavioural intention.
    • Genre-based literacy pedagogy: the nature and value of genre knowledge in teaching and learning writing on a university first year media studies course

      Donohue, James Peter Michael (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2002-07-29)
      In the teaching and learning of literacy, descriptions of text have a problematic status as a result of the growing understanding of literacy as both a cognitive process and a social practice. In the teaching of academic subjects at university, student text is not usually an object of study. The research in this thesis draws on a language based theory oflearning to place textual description at the centre of the teaching and learning of both literacy and academic subjects at university. Participant observation and practice-based research methods were used to implement a form of text-oriented literacy teaching and to explore its compatibility with processes and practices orientations to literacy. Over an eighteen month period, systemic functional grammar was used to investigate and describe the texts of a film studies classroom and the descriptions were used in genre based literacy pedagogy. The effects of the pedagogy are measured in terms of students' performance in an end of course assignment, students' accounts of their writing processes, and student and subject-tutor perception of the text description and the pedagogy. In the thesis, a linguistic description of a key curriculum genre -a Taxonomic Film Analysis -is presented. An account is given of the pedagogy by means of which this essay genre was represented in the film studies classroom as a realisation of choices from linguistic, conceptual and activity systems. Systemic functional grammar-based text description is seen to have provided a means whereby a literacy tutor could collaborate with a subject tutor to provide a subject-specific form of literacy teaching which was evaluated as relevant by students and tutors. The account and the evaluation help to clarify the role that description of text can play in relation to processes and practices ofliteracy use in the teaching and learning of literacy in a film studies classroom and have implications for the teaching and learning of literacy at university more generally.
    • Impact of racism and new managerialism on black female academics in English post-1992 universities

      Johnson, Janice V. (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2016-08)
      This thesis focused on the impact of racism and new managerialism on Black female academics in English post-1992 universities. The study explored the extent to which the changing environment of higher education institutions (HEIs) and the ethos and practice of new managerialism had affected the professional lives of Black academic females and how the consequences of new managerialism were being experienced in their daily academic lives. Semi-structured interviews were used to obtain qualitative data about the experiences of seventeen African and Caribbean participants in English post-1992 universities, mainly from business schools or health and social-sciences faculties. The critical race theory conceptual framework was used as an analytical and interpretive structure for understanding their experiences. The findings revealed that new managerialism changes contributed to increased levels of racism encountered by these Black female academics. Racism was endemic and embedded within their HEIs and demonstrated in overt and subtle ways, using micro-aggressions, micro-politics and varying agents, ensuring that racism remained rooted and positioned at different levels. Race was more prevalent in these women’s’ experiences than they had expected. The study discovered that these Black female academics perceived their progression and development as being negatively affected because of new managerialism practices and the inability of their respective HEIs to formulate and implement effective policies of equality and diversity. The HEIs’ neo-liberal policies of fairness, neutrality and meritocracy were experienced as rhetoric rather than practice and as not beneficial to those needing protection. The findings suggest that HEIs and human resource (HR) departments need more effective equality and diversity policies which incorporate a community diversity mind-set, influenced by the ethical codes of their professional HR body. There is also a need for HEI staff across all ethnic groups to be engaged in conversation, information-sharing and communication about racial issues so that Black female academic racialised work experiences can be improved.
    • Journeys of resilience? Aimhigher and the experiences of young people looked after and in alternative education

      Kukhareva, Maria (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-05)
      The study explores the impact of Aimhigher activity on the lives of young people looked after and in alternative education. In the background of the mixed messages around the effectiveness of the Aimhigher initiative and its closure of the latter in 2011, it is argued that Aimhigher did, in fact, play a very positive role in the young people’s lives. In view of recent messages that a similar initiative may be under way, it is necessary to understand, and make use of Aimhigher legacy, including critique and best practice. The remit of the scheme was mainly associated with improving social justice through increasing the participation of disadvantaged groups in higher education. However, due to ineffective targeting strategies and flawed monitoring mechanisms, it was not possible to establish a link between heavily funded Aimhigher activity and widening participation trends. Additionally, there was a general scarcity of research literature available on the issues related to Aimhigher and its effectiveness. At the same time, documents produced by Aimhigher partnerships feature positive accounts of pupils and teaching staff. Connections have also been made between Aimhigher activity and potential transformations in the young peoples’ attitudes and behaviour. There is also a small body of literature that highlights the importance of exploring the unexpected and the unintended outcomes of any project. It is argued that an in-depth exploration of individual experiences is needed in order to understand whether Aimhigher had a positive effect on its participants. The exploration is carried out using the resilience framework, which allows the researcher to examine the changes in the young people’s lives over time. Therefore, the Aimhigher experience is understood as a part of the participants’ life trajectories, which are constructed of the young people’s interactions with their environment. Grounding this investigation within literature on resilience and its applications is particularly useful, as there has been an increase in the practitioners’ interest in operationalising the resilience framework. The understanding of the resilience-building mechanisms can be utilised in the design of current and future interventions for those disadvantaged and vulnerable, thus contributing to the strength-based discourse around vulnerability and risk. Interviews were carried out with nineteen young people who were looked after or in alternative education at the time of their Aimhigher participation. In addition, nine professionals from gate keeping organisations were interviewed, all of whom had knowledge of the initiative and the young people. The findings reveal that taking part in Aimhigher activity can act as a protective factor in a young person’s development, thus enhancing their resilient patterns. For several participants Aimhigher acted as an important turning point in their life. However, as resilience is understood as a dynamic complex interaction across several domains, it is the cumulative effect of factors that is crucial. The participants who seemed to be navigating their environments most effectively had the most exposure to developmental opportunities and access to support networks. The study also highlights wider issues around practice and policy on vulnerable young people.
    • Performance and practice in higher education: an ethnomethodological study of everyday academic work.

      Bolam, Caroline (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2019-03)
      It is widely accepted that Higher Education (HE) has gone through significant changes within the last sixty years. The effects of such phenomena as managerialism, marketization and performativity are well documented in the literature (Deem et al 2007, Molesworth et al 2011, Hussey and Smith 2010, Bell et al 2009). Often, such terms are introduced and accepted as truth without fully exploring what such phenomena really mean to the members of that community. However, policy and purpose (impact) may differ from practice, as illustrated by Weider (1974). This research uses ethnomethodology (EM) as its focus, to explore this issue further. EM is a method of inquiry which concentrates on the members’ methods to understand how they make meaning of their work environment through their daily practices. This research applies a documentary approach to lecturing, to see it as a document of accomplishment. It also draws on the method of conversation analysis (CA) and examines discussions with academic members of two post 1992 universities, which are seen to be the most affected by the neoliberal phenomena mentioned. This is to understand how they accomplish their performance of being an academic. The use of EM allows a greater appreciation of the shared understanding of the use of the social space of the university and how the organisational daily objectives are achieved by its members. Evidence from this research shows that performativity (Lyotard 1984) causes misunderstandings of purpose, and marketized approaches have increased assymetries in student-academic interactions.
    • Supporting student experience management with learning analytics in the UK higher education sector

      Kika, Claudette Adamma (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-08)
      While some UK Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) are very successful at harnessing the benefits of Learning Analytics, many others are not actually engaged in making effective use of it. There is a knowledge gap concerning understanding how Learning Analytics is being used and what the impacts are in UK HEIs. This study addresses this gap. More specifically, this study attempts to understand the challenges in utilising data effectively for student experience management (SEM) in the era of Big Data and Learning Analytics; to examine how Learning Analytics is being used for SEM; to identify the key factors affecting the use and impact of Learning Analytics; and to provide a systematic overview on the use and impact of Learning Analytics on SEM in HEIs by developing a conceptual framework. To achieve the research objectives, a qualitative research method is used. The data collection process firstly involves an exploratory case study in a UK university to gain a preliminary insight into the current status on the use of Big Data and Learning Analytics and their impact, and to determine the main focuses for the main study. The research then undertakes an extensive main study involving 30 semi-structured interviews with participants in different UK universities to develop more in-depth knowledge and to present systematically the key findings using a theoretical framework underpinned by relevant theories. Based on the evidence collected from the exploratory case study and interviews, the study identifies the key challenges in utilising data and Learning Analytics in the era of Big Data. These include issues related to data quality, data consistency, data reliability, data analysis, data integration, data and information overload, lack of data, information availability and problems with systems. A series of critical factors affecting the use of Learning Analytics is emerged and mapped out from a technology-organisation-environment-people (TOE+P) perspective. The technology-related factors include Usability, Affordability, Complexity and System integration. The organisation-related factors cover Resource, Data Driven Culture, Senior management support and Strategic IT alignment. The environment-related factors include Competitive pressure, Regulatory environment and External support. Most importantly, the findings emphasise the importance of the people-related factor in addition to TOE factors. The people-related factors include People’s engagement with using data and Learning Analytics, People’s awareness of Data Protection and Privacy and Digital Literacy. The impacts of the Learning Analytics are also identified and analysed using organisational absorptive capacity theory. The findings are integrated in the final theoretical framework and demonstrate that the HEIs’ capabilities in terms of data acquisition, assimilation, transformation and exploitation supported by Learning Analytics enable them to improve student experience management. This study makes new contributions to research and theory by providing a theoretical framework on understanding the use and impact of Learning Analytics in UK HEIs. It also makes important practical contributions by offering valuable guidelines to HEI managers and policy makers on understanding the value of Learning Analytics and know how to maximise the impact of Big Data and Learning Analytics in their organisations.
    • What’s the value of a degree? graduates’ perceptions of value of their undergraduate degrees

      Ingham, Deena (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2015-12)
      This thesis sets out to analyse perceptions of the legacy value of an undergraduate degree from graduates at different distances since graduation. This perspective has not been systematically sought within higher education today. Submission of the work comes as attention in England is focused on ‘teaching excellence’ and Government expectations that a higher education degree should deliver lasting value to graduates and taxpayers alike. Thus the work has importance in providing new research identifying that the graduate voice supports more realistic student expectations and effective curricula. Underpinned by constructivist theories of research (Kukla, 2000) and learning (Dewey 1916) the study sought to understand the value of a degree through the experiences and perceptions of graduates. It explored with them how they recognise and allocate value within well-established areas such as economic/financial, academic and personal, defined by previous researchers including Barnett (1990), Mezirow (1991) and Caul (1993). A mixed methods two-phase study gathered quantitative and qualitative data from 15 interviews and an online survey of 202 graduates from universities in England across all institutional mission groups. Graduates were invited to examine and allocate the relative value of their degree in economic/financial, academic and personal terms. The primary conclusion was that whilst 99 per cent of graduates perceived value in their degree they attributed least value to the economic/financial benefits. This indicates a discrepancy between graduate perceptions of value and the hegemonic cost/benefit discourse that underpins political policy around individual tuition fees. The findings additionally determined a statistically significant relationship between students’ entry motivation and graduate perception of degree value. Graduates whose entry motivation as students had been to meet the expectations of others were more likely to perceive lower value in their degree than those motivated by personal aspiration and a career goal requiring a degree. Graduates reporting the highest value perceptions also evidenced selfauthorship during their degrees. The relationship between high perceptions of value and likelihood to recommend a degree or institution emerged as statistically significant. Analysis of the findings resulted in the creation of a conceptual model of graduate perception of value which recommends institutions resource drawing on the graduate voice to develop and sustain value within and surrounding a degree to sustain their work. The findings revealed implications for sustaining student enrolment and institutional advancement in an increasingly commercialised, competitive and marketised sector. The thesis demonstrates ways in which regular collation and publication of graduate perceptions of value evidence, and inform, the legacy of undergraduate degrees across the sector and from specific institutions.