Publication Details

O'Shea, S., Stone, C. & Delahunty, J. (2015). "I 'feel' like I am at university even though I am online." Exploring how students narrate their engagement with higher education institutions in an online learning environment. Distance Education, 36 (1), 41-58.


This article outlines a collaborative study between higher education institutions in Australia, which qualitatively explored the online learning experience for undergraduate and postgraduate students. The project adopted a narrative inquiry approach and encouraged students to story their experiences of this virtual environment, providing a snapshot of how learning is experienced by those undertaking online studies. The study explores what impacted upon students' engagement in this environment and how different facets of their learning experience made a qualitative difference to how individuals enacted engagement. Drawing upon Sharon Pittaway's engagement framework, the article seeks to foreground student voice as the learners define their engagement in learning, the strategies they employed to assist this process and how engagement was enacted at an individual level. The students' reflections presented in this article can be used to inform teaching and learning strategies designed to improve engagement in the online environment within the higher education sector.



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