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Being there? A Collaborative Inquiry into Attendance

Menendez Alvarez-Hevia, David and Lord, Janet and Naylor, Steven (2018) Being there? A Collaborative Inquiry into Attendance. In: Fourth International Conference on Higher Education Advances (HEAd '18), 20 June 2018 - 22 June 2018, Valencia, Spain.

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Abstract

There is a growing concern among universities over the levels of student absenteeism at teaching activities. Attendance is an increasingly important issue in the UK, but also internationally, for its impact on the student experience, academic performance and engagement.  This article explores the topic of poor attendance in one of the larger universities in the UK, through a collaborative action research methodology that includes Education Studies lecturers and students as research partners.  Initial findings suggest that attendance is conceptualised in different ways by different actors. We found that a key theme in understanding attendance and engagement was that students’ identities are multi-layered and complex, and that their identities as students are often interwoven. We also found that technology and the virtual world play a fundamental role in understanding practices and conceptualising attendance and engagement. Concerning this, the way that a Virtual Learning Environments is approached in our study illustrates how physical attendance is challenged (but also supported)  as a privileged form of getting access to the knowledge presented in taught sessions.

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