ERG SES C 01, ICT and Education
This article presents some results of STAY-IN, an intercultural European project that aims to design a continuous Online Counselling & Guidance (hereinafter C&G) service for Higher Education students, in order to contribute to the improvement of their engagement, and avoid dropping out.
It is based on the premise that C&G and ICT services improve university students’ engagement levels, reducing dropping out rates. For this reason, students are asked to consider the design of an ICT platform where C&G services are integrated, specifying which services should be included in the platform.
The high rates of university dropping out make it one of the main problems to be addressed in university systems (Reyes-de Cózar, 2016). In addition, University dropping out is a phenomenon that has repercussions as much in the individual as in society (Colás, De Pablos, González-Ramírez, Conde-Jiménez, González & Contreras, 2014). In this sense, reduce the dropping out would be one of the targets to be included in national and international educational policies (Colás, González-Ramírez, Conde-Jiménez, Reyes-de Cózar, Contreras & Villaciervos, 2016).
Traditionally, Research into university dropout has originated various lines of work. Among them are, on the one hand, the identification of the causes of the same (Cabrera, Bethencourt, González & Álvarez, 2006; Araque, Roldán & Salguero, 2009), and on the other hand, the exploration of the significant explanatory variables and factors about this phenomenon (Rodríguez, Feixas, Gairín & Muñoz, 2015), originating different compression models about this phenomenon, which reveal the complexity of the same.
In recent years, the scientific interest has focused on the search for elements that avoid the dropping out of university students, through the analysis of their opposite: the engagement of students. In this sense, the processes of counseling and guidance favor the improvement of students' engagement, avoiding their desertion (Reyes-de Cózar, 2016). Also, it is understood that the use and application of ICT impacts on the improvement of the levels of engagement of university students. In other words, through the application of technological tools, the university can offer a motivational, challenging and rich educational model in technological elements which allows it to adjust to 100% real demands of the students (Barnes et al. 2009; Bonamici et al., 2005; Dunleavy & Milton, 2009; Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005; Parsons & Taylor, 2011; Prensky, 2006; Ramaley & Zia, 2005; Windham, 2005).
That is why this paper aims to link the benefits of C&G Services and ICT, in an online platform to increase the levels of engagement of students, and pretending to decrease dropout. Therefore, it is intended to investigate if the students consider beneficial the creation of the online platform and what are the services that the they consider useful to include. It is understood that the collection of this information, would offer a greater adjustment for the design of the platform, responding to real formative demands of the students.
This paper is part of the European Research Project “Student Guidance at university for inclusion- Stay-In” (Ref.:526600-LLP-1-2012-IT-Ersamus-Esin). It is a two-year project co-financed by Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission, in which three European universities (University of Macerata (Italy), University of Technology and Economy of Budapest (Hungary) and the University of Seville (Spain).) participate as associates along with other international enterprises of research and consultancy (ARCOLA Research (England), Melius (Italy) and LYNX (Italy) and the international networks “European Union of Students” and the “European Network of Long Distance Learning and E-Learning”. The results of this project have allowed the development of several doctoral theses.
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