Equity, pedagogy and inclusion. Harnessing digital technologies to support higher education access and success

  • Alison Elliott
Keywords: access, learning, higher education


Australia is striving to reach a 20 per cent across-the-board higher education target participation rate for students from low socio-economic backgrounds by 2020. This paper focuses on enabling higher education access for students who might otherwise be excluded by complex socio-economic circumstances. Digital learning and communication tools provide a vital pathway to higher education and a means of re-engineering pedagogies to better meet students’ learning needs, especially when students cannot access regular on campus face-to-face teaching. On-line learning enables both access to higher education  and effective ways of engaging students with learning, especially those who are isolated by location or by circumstances associated with work and family commitments. This paper focuses on broad-brush factors students say supported their study success while undertaking an externally delivered, on-line teaching degree. It reports on students’ decision to study and their subsequent on-line study experiences, progression and outcomes. Analyses of students’ perceptions indicated the value of on-line pedagogy supported by ‘face-to-face’ interaction (albeit at a distance) with academics. While students wanted to study externally and on-line and in their ‘own time’ and at their own ‘pace’, all valued a personal, on-going relationship with their lecturer, teacher or other university-based mentor. Overwhelmingly, students , found the on-line learning relatively straightforward to navigate, practical and rewarding, but all wanted conversations with a “real person” although this could be on the phone, in a video conference/Skype situation or as part of a remote site ‘tutorial’ or consultation.
How to Cite
Elliott, A. (2011). Equity, pedagogy and inclusion. Harnessing digital technologies to support higher education access and success. The Journal of Community Informatics, 6(3). Retrieved from http://ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej/article/view/751