The Highs and Lows of Ubiquitous Mobile Connectivity - Investigating Students' Well-Being
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Authors: Salvagno, M.
Journal: Proceedings of the European Conference on e-Learning, ECEL
Although Universities have employed Technologically Enhanced Learning (TEL) for many years, to date there are few investigations regarding the impact these new learning contexts have on students' welfare. This paper presents the early stage of a PhD research that aims to build a theory of "students' well-being" with reference to university students that learn in TEL environments. Specifically, the purpose of this study is to explore and explain how university students and other stakeholders co-construct the reality of "students' well-being" in TEL contexts and the pedagogical implications for learners' experience. A qualitative approach is adopted and the methodology used is constructivist Grounded Theory. Data will be collected in two different phases: in the first phase, an online survey based on open-ended questions will be sent to approximately 500 blended and online learning undergraduate and postgraduate taught students attending Bournemouth University (UK) and 20 staff members will be interviewed. This phase of data collection is currently ongoing. The findings of this first part will be further explored using in-depth interviews with a smaller sample of students and a second round of interviews with staff members will be conducted. Additional data will be collected from students' online diaries. In the first phase of analysis, learners' and other stakeholders' constructions will be analysed and points of conflict and points of agreement identified. In the second phase, data will be compared to the two main well-being paradigms in the literature (hedonic and eudaimonic) to highlight similarities and differences between students' and other stakeholders' constructions of the concept of students' well-being. The final stage of the PhD will use the findings to build a theory of students' wellbeing in TEL environments. Early findings show that the following factors are involved in students' constructions of wellbeing: 1. quality of support, 2. ease of accessing and using resources, 3. managing the flexibility given by mobile devices, 4. managing online interactions, 5. maintaining motivation outside university, 6. quality of online material and lecturers' elearning expertise and 7. managing information overload. Moreover, students' constructions of well-being appear to embrace the hedonic paradigm whereas staff members' views seem closer to the eudaimonic perspective.