Research on study choice and participation in higher education, particularly in science and engineering, stresses the importance of students' on-going identity work as learners (Holmegard, Ulriksen & Madsen, 2014; Henriksen, Dillon & Ryder, 2015), especially on the scale of field of study. Our project explore how such identity work takes place on course level.
An interview study concerning course achievement was undertaken with 21 students on a third-semester physics course. An interpretative discourse analysis (Gee, 2011) of the interviews yielded a model for students' negotiations of their practice in the course. Three types of practice were described: Ignoring to study, Studying to pass, and Studying to learn. The choice between these was influenced by the significance recognized for the course. This recognition, in turn, was generally discussed in relation to identity, largely connected to programme affiliation.
This negotiation process becomes especially relevant when differently profiled programmes allow students to recognize and expect different ways of doing disciplines. However, in the study context they often study the same courses. We will present examples of the consequences this can have, based on quantitative data from the fields of physics and economics. Our results emphasize the importance of designing and teaching courses in a way that enable all students to recognize them as significant, to encourage both learning and participation.
Gee, J.P. (2011). An introduction to discourse analysis: theory and method. (3rd ed.). New York: Routledge.
Henriksen, E.K., Dillon, J., & Ryder, J. (Eds.). (2015). Understanding student participation and choice in science and technology education. Springer.
Holmegaard, H.T., Ulriksen, L.M., & Madsen, L.M. (2014). The process of choosing what to study: A longitudinal study of upper secondary students' identity work when choosing higher education. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 58(1), 21-40.
EuroSoTL 2015: Bridging Boundaries through the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning