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Teaching inclusively online in a massified university system

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Student achievement is key to the fundamental objectives and future of all higher educational institutions across the globe. But despite this widespread intention, questions around the extent to which approaches to digitised/online education reflect this commitment often arise. The needs of mass and global student cohorts in higher education may not always be prioritised in the design of digital/online education, and this may be undermining achievement for nontraditional students. If so, this represents lost opportunities for all. This paper proposes that understanding the sociocultural capital and capability of mass and global student cohorts can inform success-focused approaches to digital/online forms of education for all students. It argues that the need to master the student role, to be aware of and be able to respond to and manage tacit expectations and the hidden curriculum, to behave and perform according to unspoken expectations and to have the requisite digital competencies and skills are key to non-traditional student achievement and success. The paper further argues that online and digitised forms of learning can exacerbate these challenges. It proposes a range of digital design considerations for policy makers, academics, leaders and educators. Notions of cultural capital, the hidden curriculum and sociocultural capability are examined. Five recommendations for improved approaches to digital education design are made.
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Keywords: DIGITAL DESIGN; INCLUSIVE HIGHER EDUCATION; NON-TRADITIONAL COHORTS; ONLINE EDUCATION; SOCIOCULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS; WIDENING PARTICIPATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2018

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  • The journal is based on the belief that there are neglected links between research and theory, and policy and practice in the promotion of widening participation in post-compulsory education and lifelong learning. It aims to provide a forum for the development of theory, the addressing of policy questions and the dissemination of innovative practice in the field of widening participation and lifelong learning.
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