• Building the foundations for academic success: learning from the experiences of part-time students in their first semester of study

      Goodchild, Allyson; Butler, Cathal (Open University, 2020-07-01)
      This article examines the findings from a mixed methods research study exploring part- time students' perceptions of their transition into higher education. Drawing on wider research in the field of transition and utilising Gale and Parker's (2014) conceptual framework as a means of viewing the transition process, the article identifies how one group of part-time undergraduates experienced the process of becoming an undergraduate. The results highlight the importance of offering a well-framed early learning experience for students, which enables them to learn the skills needed for early academic success and provides continued support as they progress in their own time towards recognition of themselves as undergraduates. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that transition is not time bound, and individual students will need individual approaches. This will require institutions to consider how the support they offer can be tailored to a student's specific needs.
    • Working with/in institutions: how policy enactment in widening participation is shaped through practitioners' experience

      Rainford, Jon; (Routledge, 2021-01-12)
      Widening participation in higher education is driven by policy which is then enacted by individual practitioners. Practitioners bring with them a wealth of personal and employment experiences which shape their interpretations and enactments. Drawing on sixteen in-depth semi structured interviews with practitioners across seven universities in England, a classification is developed in order to conceptualise their orientations to policy enactment. Whilst nationally focused, this study has international resonance especially in marketised HE systems where policies are similarly enacted. The model developed within the paper proposes that personal and professional experience can cause practitioners to orient towards the interests of the institution or the individuals they work with. This orientation can be in compliance with institutional policy or adopt a more transgressive stance. Through deeper theorisation of practitioner positions we can better understand how to ensure work in this area better serves the individuals which it is targeted at.