A case study of student learning spaces during the pandemic a sociomateriality perspective

Main Article Content

Teri-Lisa Griffiths http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5756-6596 Jill Dickinson, Dr https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1471-869X Anna Fletcher

Abstract

Against the backdrop of a dynamic Higher Education (‘HE’) environment and challenges compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, this ‘on the horizon’ paper will outline initial findings from a study which seeks to explore students' perceptions of their transitions to a blended learning environment. Subsequently, this paper examines two research questions. First, what can be learned from initial findings about students’ perceptions regarding the approaches taken by the Higher Education Institution (‘HEI’) to support the imposed changes to their learning? Second, with a particular focus on spaces, how do students perceive their early experiences of the changes to teaching and assessment necessitated by the pandemic? To achieve the richness of data required, the research adopts a case study approach in focusing on a post 1992 HEI in the North of England. Drawing on the theoretical framework provided by sociomateriality, the paper will offer a reflective voice on the interaction, adjustment, opportunities, and conflicts arising from adapting residential dwellings into learning spaces. The variation in student living situations will be considered in the context of access to HE and student experience. The study draws on creative, photovoice methods to facilitate participant-led discussions in both focus groups and interviews. Illustrative images produced by participants will be included in this paper to add context to the initial analysis. Finally, future directions for the study will be outlined and considered in the context of the ongoing changes in the HE sector.

Article Details

Section
Reflective Analysis Papers
Author Biographies

Teri-Lisa Griffiths, Sheffield Hallam University

Teri-Lisa Griffiths BA (Hons) QCG MA FHEA is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology. Her teaching is focused on the development of student employability and academic skills, working with external partners to provide relevant and high-quality experiences for students. Her research interests are centered on the student experience and professional development.

Jill Dickinson, Dr, Sheffield Hallam University

Dr Jill Dickinson LLB (Hons) PGCE LLM SFHEA PhD RPA is a Senior Lecturer in Law. Jill’s research encompasses aspects of place and space, and professional development. Through her role as Senior Fellow, Jill sat on the review panel for the Advance HE Global Teaching Excellence Awards.

Anna Fletcher, Sheffield Hallam University

Anna Fletcher BSc is a Graduate Intern working within the Student Experience, Teaching and Learning directorate. She works closely with the Digital team and the Student communications team. Anna recently graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a 1st class degree in Psychology, where she developed research skills in data analysis and evaluation.

References

Acocella, I. (2011). The focus groups in social research: advantages and disadvantages. Quality and Quantity, 46, 1125-1136.
Acton, R. (2017). Place-people-practice-process: Using sociomateriality in university physical spaces research. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 49(14), 1441-1451.
Adekola, J., Dale, V.H., Gardiner, K. and Fischbacher-Smith, M. (2017). Student transitions to blended learning: an institutional case study. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 5(2), 58-65.
Advance HE. (2020). Creating Socially Distanced Campuses and Education Project Final Capstone Report. York: Advance HE. Retrieved from: https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/assets.creode.advancehe-document-manager/documents/advance-he/SDCE%20Project_Report_Final_Capstone_Report_1594124518.pdf.
Baillie, L. (2019). Exchanging focus groups for individual interviews when collecting qualitative data. Nurse Researcher, 27(2), 15-20.
Bayne, S., Gallagher, M.S. and Lamb, J. (2014). Being ‘at’ university: the social topologies of distance students. Higher Education, 67(5), 569-583.
Carvalho, L., & Yeoman, P. (2021). Performativity of Materials in Learning: The Learning-Whole in Action. Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research, 10(1), 28-42.
Cleary, A., & Balmer, N. (2015). Fit for purpose? The impact of between wave engagement strategies on response to a longitudinal survey. International Journal of Market Research, 57(4), 533-554.
Ebneyamini, S., Reza, M., & Moghadam, S. (2018). Toward Developing a Framework for Conducting Case Study Research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 17, 1–11.
Fenwick, T. (2015). Sociomateriality and learning: A critical approach. In Scott, D., & Hargreaves, E. (eds.) The Sage Handbook of Learning. London: Sage Publications. 83-93.
Flores, J. G., & Alonso, C. G. (1995). Using Focus Groups in Educational Research: Exploring Teacher’s Perspectives on Educational Change. Evaluation Review, 19(1) 84-101.
Gourlay, L. (2021). There Is No 'Virtual Learning': The Materiality of Digital Education. Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research, 10(1), 57-66.
Grauer, K. (2012). A Case for Case Study Research in Education. In: Klein, S.R. (ed) Action Research Methods. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 969-79.
Jisc. (2020). Student digital experience insights survey 2020: UK higher education (HE) survey findings. Bristol: Jisc. Retrieved from: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/sites/default/files/student-dei-he-report-2020.pdf.
Koskela, M., Kiltti, P., Vilpola, I. and Tervonen, J. (2005). Suitability of a Virtual Learning Environment for Higher Education. Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 3(1), 23-32.
Lucas, P., Fleming, J., & Bhosale, J. (2018). The utility of case study as a methodology for work-integrated learning research. International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning, 19(3), 215-222.
Moniz, S. (2017). Should We Teach Students How to Learn? Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 3(5) pp.110-116.
Mulcahy, D., Cleveland, B., & Aberton, H. (2015). Learning spaces and pedagogic change: Envisioned, enacted and experienced. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 23(4), 575-595.
Nowell, L. S., Norris, J. M., White, D. E., & Moules, N. J. (2017). Thematic Analysis: Striving to Meet the Trustworthiness Criteria. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 16, 1-13.
O'Connor, U., & Robinson, A. (1999). Accession or exclusion? University and the disabled student: A case study of policy and practice. Higher Education Quarterly, 53(1), 88-103.
Office for Students. Report of the digital teaching and learning review. Bristol: Office for Students. Retrieved from: https://ofslivefs.blob.core.windows.net/files/Gravity%20assist/Gravity-assist-DTL-finalforweb.pdf.
Orlikowski, W. J., & Scott, S. V. (2008). Sociomateriality: challenging the separation of technology, work and organization. Academy of Management Annals, 2(1), 433-474.
Ployhart, R. E., & Vandenberg, R. J. (2010). Longitudinal Research: The Theory, Design, and Analysis of Change. Journal of Management, 36(1), 94-120.
Rashid, Y., Rashid, A., Warraich, M. A., Sabir, S. S., & Waseem, A. (2019). Case Study Method: A Step-by-Step Guide for Business Researchers. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 18, 1–13.
Reay, D., Davies, J., David, M., & Ball, S.J., (2001). Choices of degree or degrees of choice? Class, race and the higher education choice process. Sociology, 35(4), 855-874.
Saunders, B., Sim, J., Kingston, T., Baker, S., Waterfield, J., Bartlam, B., Burroughs, H., & Kinks, C. (2018). Saturation in qualitative research: exploring its conceptualization and operationalization. Quality and Quantity, 52, 1893-1907.
Sharma, G. (2017). Pros and Cons of Using Different Sampling Techniques. International Journal of Applied Research, 3(7) 749-752.
Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Vidalakis, C., Sun, M., & Papa, A., (2013). The quality and value of higher education facilities: a comparative study. Facilities, 489-504.
Wang, M., Beal, D. J., Chan, D., Newman, D. A, Vancouver, J. B., & Vandenberg, R. J. (2017). Longitudinal research: A panel discussion on conceptual issues, research design, and statistical techniques. Work Aging and Retirement, 3(1), 1-24.
Warne, M., Snyder, K., & Gadin, K. G. (2012). Photovoice: an opportunity and challenge for students’ genuine participation. Health Promotion International, 28(3) 299-310.
Webber, M., Lynch, S., & Oluku, J. (2012). Enhancing student engagement in student experience surveys: a mixed methods study. Educational Research, 55(1), 71-86.
Willis, J., Bland, D., Hughes, H., & Elliott Burns, R. (2013). Reimagining school libraries: Emerging teacher pedagogic practices. In: Proceedings of the 2013 International Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) (pp. 1-9). Australian Association for Research in Education.