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Title: An investigation into computing lecturers' perceptions of the impact of changes in the student body on their role
Author(s): Birch, Miriam C.
Supervisor(s): Field, John
Keywords: Higher Education
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This study focuses on perceptions of a group of Computing lecturers at a large post ’92 Scottish university of the changes that have occurred in the student body. It also considers whether or not the changes have had any impact on the identity and role of the lecturers and whether the lecturers have adapted their practice to accommodate the needs of the diverse student population. An empirical approach was used consisting of semi-structured interviews with a targeted random sample of lecturers. The findings indicate that the impact of the changes which have taken place within higher education have not been uniform and have varied depending on the perceived status of the institution as well as the discipline within the Higher Education (HE) hierarchy. The findings identify a number of areas for consideration by university managers, lecturers and higher education researchers. There appears to be a gap between university policies on widening access and student retention and the implementation of the policies by the lecturers. The findings show that the lecturers are aware of the greater diversity of the student body, but that many of the lecturers share the traditional view of a university student and therefore expect the students to adapt to fit the existing system rather than considering changing their approaches to suit the students. The lecturers in my study have adopted a number of strategies to cope with the constant changes taking place within higher education. However, many of them are unclear as to what is expected of them and unsure about how they should prioritise the numerous demands on their time. This study differs from and complements other work because it focuses on the lecturers’ perceptions of the changes in their role as well as in the student body. The outcome of my study is a better understanding of the perceptions lecturers have of their role and the students that they teach. Although my study is small scale and specific to a particular academic discipline within a large university, the findings should be of value not only to the particular institution in the study, but the wider academic community as well.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Education

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