Thelwell, Helen Wendy (2008) The student experience of Foundation Degrees: a case study of a cohort in a Foundation Degree in Educational Administration. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This thesis is the result of a qualitative case study of a group of ten part-time, mature,
non-traditional learners enrolled on a Foundation Degree. The thesis identifies how
students think, communicate with one another and manage the learning processes. It
explores the attitudes of students who are a new type of cohort entering Higher
The thesis commences by identifying entry barriers to Higher Education and how these
were overcome. Despite earlier failures, students retained a belief in their abilities, were
motivated and maintained aspirations to achieve a Higher Education qualification. The
research then identifies how this group of adult learners developed strategies to support
them in their quest for continuing success and achievement, including developing
supporting relationships with other students. Students were also very pragmatic in the
way they handled the complexities of learning whilst at the same time coping with
multiple roles.
E-learning contributed to the learning experience and achievement and the research
identifies new patterns and modes of learning for this group of students. Insights into
human adaptation to a new learning environment are revealed and the research shows
how students utilised technology in order to be successful in their learning. For example,
students used discussion boards and email to continue social interaction, communication
and relationships formed at day schools.
Other issues that arose from the research are gender issues as well as student change. For
example, students reported they felt they had gained confidence. This increased
confidence manifested itself in the way they approached their academic work and
approached their jobs. In addition, students also believed employers saw their value as
enhanced. Students were goal driven yet highly interested in the process of learning, very
much in line with mature female goals.
This is a study, therefore, not only of a new type of degree but of new kinds of students
following the huge expansion of entrants into Higher Education


Download (1MB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email