22 SES 10 B, Inclusion and Diversity in Higher Education Settings
Earlier studies show that students in higher education today have a much more diverse background than previous generations according to gender, ethnicity, social class and academic experience in the family (Husu, 2005). Swedish Universities are demanded to help students with diverse backgrounds to accomplish their higher education studies. At the University of Halmstad The Learning and Educational Relations (SOLUR) research group has studied their own students and their progress since 2007(Nelson, Björk, Trolle-Schultz Jensen, Nilsson & Witt).
The objective of this paper is to describe and discuss the results from a pilot study with the aim to develop new pedagogical methods as tools in order to facilitate for students with diverse backgrounds. The pilot study is integrated in a larger project as part of an application to the Swedish Research Council. This study is cooperation between researchers from Sociology, Media and Communication, and Science of Education. The main goal of the project is, by the developing innovative pedagogical methods as tools, to stimulate students, by coaching, to a better manage with their studies. Coaching is here defined as a method for encouraging and supporting students to cooperate with eachother, and by the use of Facebook, as a platform for communication and support. The development of these methods can be seen as providing equal opportunities, by generating better results in higher education studies. The project is supposed to contribute to more profound issues associated to ideas of democracy and empowerment correlated to change and development in academic cultures.
There are several investigations about innovative pedagogical method, but lesser connected to the focus of this paper; a) consciousness-raising studies: show that there is a problem connected to ideas that norms are created out of views on homogeny social categories, which means that individual differences become something negative. Social distinctions become obsessions for raised consciousness and empowerment because they are absorbed by and become invisible for involved people (Freire, 1972; Hooks, 1994; Mohanty, 2003). The reproduction of distinction has been defined as “durable inequality” (Tilly, 2000), which includes processes of inclusion and exclusion, as well as, a norm producing praxis. It is often difficult to point at specific actions of discrimination, sometimes you just can point at a long row off “non-actions” or lack of feedback (Husu, 2005). Norm-reproducing processes (Leathwood, 2009) negatively influence the students’ progress and motivations to accomplish their studies. b) the impact of social media as innovative pedagogy, shows that social media is useful as an innovative pedagogy (see f.i. Hung & Yuen, 2010; Mason, 2006; Medge, Meek, Wellens & Hooley, 2009). But recent debates remark different angels, on the one hand, like Hung and Yuen (2010) mean that Facebook should be avoided, because students think the social media is a private one, and on the other, like Bosch (2009) and Mazer, Murphy and Simonds (2007) mean that the use of social media give good results on teaching and learning. In our view, social media can be used as a support in cooperation to ordinary teaching and learning.
Bosch, T. (2009). Using online social networking for teaching and learning: Facebook use at the University of Cape Town. Communicatio: South African Journal for Communication Theory and Research. 35:2, 185-200. Freire, P. (1993). Pedagogy of the oppressed. London: Penguin Books. Hooks, B. (1994). Teaching to transgress: education as the practice of freedom. London: Routledge. Hung, H.-T. & Yuen, C.-Y. (2010). Educational use of social networking technology in higher education. Teaching in Higher Education, 15:6, 703-714. Husu, L. (2005). Dold könsdiskriminering på akademiska arenor – osynligt, synligt, subtilt. Stockholm: Högskoleverket. Leathwood, C. & Read, B. (2009). Gender and the changing face of higher education. A feminized future? Open University Press, UK. Mason, R. (2006). Learning technologies for adult continuing education. Studies in Continuing Education 28 no 2, 121-133. Mazer, J.P., Murphy, R.E. & Simonds, C.J. (2007). I’ll See you on “Facebook”: The Effects of Computer-mediated Teacher Self-Disclosure on Student Motivation, Affective Learning and Classroom Climate. Communication Education, 56:1, 1-17. Madge, C., Meek J., Wellens, J. & Hooley, T. (2009). Facebook, social integration and informal learning at university: “It is more for socialising and talking to friends about work than for actually doing work. Learning, Media and Technology, 34:2, 141-155 Mohanty, C.T. (2003). Feminism without borders. Decolonized theory, practiced solidarity. Stockholm: Tankekraftförlag. Nelson, A., Björk, P., Trolle-Schultz Jensen, J., Nilsson, M. & Witt, A-K. (2009). De första ”Bolognastudenterna” – om aktörskap, yrkesorientering och bildning i programutbildningar - Delrapport från projektet Före, under och efter utbildningen på Högskolan i Halmstad 2007-2012. Forskning i Halmstad Nr 18. Tilly, C. (2000). Durable inequality. Lund: Arkiv.
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