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Digital engagement and under-represented groups


Digital engagement and under-represented groups

Nicole Hempsall supervised by Bronwen Swinnerton

About the student researcher 

I'm Nicole and I have just finished my year in industry of my Psychology (industrial) degree. I am really excited to begin my internship with LITE and the area of research I am contributing to is digital engagement and under-represented groups. This is something I am very interested in due to the digital divide which is present in students from bame communities, mature students and students from low income backgrounds. Being a plus programme student myself, I really resonated with this research project because of the imposter syndrome I felt when starting my studies at a Russel group university and how digital inequalities are present within some students and can limit their student experience as a whole. I am also very interested in researching the awarding gap and looking at the difference in the amount of high class degrees being given out to different groups of students. I am passionate about student experience as a whole and believe a project like this links together researching digital inequalities and whether they contribute to awarding gaps to help students succeed at university like the rest of their peers. 

Project overview

The aim of the project is to explore whether patterns of student engagement with digital systems can help us understand whether digital inequalities are contributing to non-continuation or awarding gaps, and if so how can the university help to alleviate this. I am collecting quantitative data by analysing existing JISC datasets, as well as creating my own quantitative questionnaire to ask students about their digital engagement. I will also be running focus groups alongside the questionnaires to support the data. The demographic will be students which will be undergraduate, postgraduate and mature students. By the end of the placement I will have written a piece of work that showcases whether student's digital engagements can be contributed to bigger things such as the awarding gap and an explanation for this.