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Making Mature Undergraduates’ Experience Visible: Exploring Sense of Belonging and Use of Digital Technologies

Munoz Chereau, B; Timmis, S; (2019) Making Mature Undergraduates’ Experience Visible: Exploring Sense of Belonging and Use of Digital Technologies. Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning , 21 (3) pp. 32-56. 10.5456/WPLL.21.3.32.

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to explore the role that informal networks, interactions and digital technologies play in supporting the participation in undergraduate education of eleven mature students coming from widening participation backgrounds in one research-intensive United Kingdom (UK) university. For eighteen months mature students were co-researchers of the longitudinal qualitative study DD-LAB: Digital Diversity Learning and Belonging'. Along with problematizing the heterogeneity of students grouped under the category and home location were as influential as age when understanding their participation in university. Digital technologies played a role in fostering belonging and participation in academic and social spaces. Yet, engagement in a digital world did not necessarily mitigate their positioning as a minority group within a research-intensive institution. Although digital technologies and informal networks helped mature students overcome institutional struggles and expanded modes of belonging, we conclude that the institutional and social positioning constrained mature students sense of academic and social integration, leading to continuing inequalities that universities need to address.

Type: Article
Title: Making Mature Undergraduates’ Experience Visible: Exploring Sense of Belonging and Use of Digital Technologies
DOI: 10.5456/WPLL.21.3.32
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.5456/WPLL.21.3.32
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Widening participation; undergraduate students; identities; agency; digital technologies; mature students
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Learning and Leadership
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10083773
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