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The Future of Campus Life in a Blended Learning Landscape Within Higher Education

Smith, David



Within the universities of the UK, the COVID pandemic necessitated a rapid change from face-to-face teaching to online learning. The affordances of this switch have been widely recognised by higher education institutes in terms of pedagogic and facilitative advantage. Most existing campuses are constructed to provide face-to-face experiences and tend not to be designed to deliver blended learning experiences. This thesis seeks to explore the demands of higher education in a blended learning landscape to offer some insight into what the campuses of tomorrow will look like.
An ontological constructivist approach was used to develop a methodology that sought to explore the motivations of people who had experienced or are experiencing higher education. An on-line survey was carried out that was promoted on the LinkedIn social media platform. This was supplemented with a series of semi-structured interviews with students and educationists about their experiences of higher education and how they saw the future of campus life developing. Edited versions of these interviews were posted as podcasts via an on-line podcast host called Podbean. Ninety-one on-line surveys were submitted complete, and five interviews were posted.
Findings showed the principal motivation for studying at university were transactional, in that most participants studied to give themselves advantage in the workplace. However, the social side of campus life education, although not a principal motivating force, was highly valued in respect to the experience of higher education and in choice of course. On-line education was seen as not as valuable as face-to-face education, a finding that was confirmed by a poll posted on LinkedIn. The extra curricula social side of campus life was not highly valued and had largely been replaced by social media and employment-based friendships. It is argued that a typical undergraduate learning experience now represents an emerging adult experience, rather than a full adult learning experience. The future of campus life in the UK is likely to support this trend away from self-actualization by providing strong extra-academic support for students and developing facilities which support the education of emerging adults. The sustainability of the higher education sector at its current level of provision is by no means assured, but the future does not lie in increasing on-line provision.

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords blended learning, on-line learning, face-to-face, self-actualisation
Award Date Feb 28, 2023