Duelling identities in refugees learning through open, online higher education

James Brunton, Orna Farrell, Eamon Costello, Lorraine Delaney, Colum Foley, Mark Brown

Abstract


This paper reports on a qualitative study of the transition experiences of refugees studying through open and online higher education. Online, open education programmes have considerable potential to provide flexible access to education for refugees, who are not well represented within higher education. As part of a wider University of Sanctuary initiative, interview data from six Ireland-based refugees was analysed using a data-led, qualitative methodological framework grounded in discursive psychology. Findings indicate that participants’ transition narratives are typical in many ways as they form student identities while managing their existing identities and begin to feel, or not, that they belong. Participants constructed a stark divide between two duelling identities, between their identity as a refugee and their new identity as an online learner. Identification with the university was emphasised in contrast to disidentification with the ‘asylum world’. These findings indicate that a strategically connected approach to supporting refugees transition into higher education can impact positively on these students.


Keywords


higher education; online learning; refugee; asylum seeker; identity; access initiative

Full Text:

HTML PDF XML

References


Allen-Collinson, J. & Brown, R. (2012). I’m a Reddie and a Christian! Identity negotiations amongst first-year university students. Studies in Higher Education, 37(4), 497–511. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2010.527327

Askham, P. (2008). Context and identity: exploring adult learners’ experiences of higher education. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 32(1), 85–97. https://doi.org/10.1080/03098770701781481

Baxter, A., & Britton, C. (2001).“Risk, Identity and Change: Becoming a Mature Student. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 11(1), 87–104. https://doi.org/10.1080/09620210100200066

Brunton, J., M. Brown, E. Costello & Farrell, O. (2018a). Pre-induction supports for flexible learners: The Head Start Online MOOC pilot. A Practice Report. Student Success, 9(2), 1–7. https://doi.org/10.5204/ssj.v10i1.434

Brunton, J., M. Brown, E. Costello & Farrell, O. (2018b). Head start online: flexibility, transitions and student success. Educational Media International, 55(4), 347–360. https://doi.org/10.1080/09523987.2018.1548783

Burzynski, M., Deuster, C., Docquier, F., & De Melo, J. (2018). Climate change, inequality and migration. Technical report.

Castaño-Muñoz, J., Colucci, E., & Smidt, H. (2018). Free Digital Learning for Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees in Europe: A Qualitative Analysis of Three Types of Learning Purposes. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 19, 2. 1–21. https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v19i2.3382

Cook, A., & Rushton, B.S. (eds.). (2009). How to recruit and retain higher education students: A handbook of good practice. New York: Routledge.

Crea, T.M., & Sparnon, N. (2017). Democratizing education at the margins: Faculty and practitioner perspectives on delivering online tertiary education for refugees. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 14(1), 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41239-017-0081-y

Delaney, L. & Farren, M. (2016). No “self”left behind? Part-time distance learning university graduates: social class, graduate identity and employability. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, 31(3), 194–208. https://doi.org/10.1080/02680513.2016.1208553

Earnest, J., Joyce, A., de Mori, G. & Silvagni, G. (2010). Are universities responding to the needs of students from refugee backgrounds? Australian Journal of Education, 54(2), 155–174. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F000494411005400204

Edwards, D. (2012). Discursive and scientific psychology. British Journal of Social Psychology, 51, 425–435. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8309.2012.02103.x

Farley, H. & Willems, J. (2017). Digital equity: diversity, inclusion and access for incarcerated students in a digital age. In H. Partridge, K. Davis, & J. Thomas. (Eds.), Me, Us, IT! Proceedings ASCILITE 2017: 34th International Conference on Innovation, Practice and Research in the Use

of Educational Technologies in Tertiary Education (pp. 68–72).

Farrell, O., Brunton, J., & Trevaskis, S. (2019). ‘If I had missed it I would have been the lost little sheep’: Exploring student narratives on orientation to first year. Journal of Further and Higher Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2019.1614543

Gardner, J.N., Siegel, M.J. & Cutright, M. (2001). Focusing on the first-year student. Priorities, 17, 1–17.

Hannah, J. (1999). Refugee students at college and university: Improving access and support. International Review of Education, 45(2), 13–166.

Harris, A., Ngum Chi Watts, M.C., & Spark, C. (2013). The barriers that only you can see: African Australian women thriving in tertiary education despite the odds. Multidisciplinary Journal of Gender Studies, 2, 182–202. https://doi.org/10.4471/generos.2013.25

Hodges, D.C. (1998). Participant as dis-identification with/in a community of practice. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 5(4), 272–290. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327884mca0504_3

Kahu, E.R. & Nelson, K. (2018). Student engagement in the educational interface: understanding the mechanisms of student success. Higher Education Research & Development, 37(1), 58–71. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2017.1344197

Kong, E., Harmsworth, S., Rajaeian, M.M., Parkes, G., Bishop, S., AlMansouri, B., & Lawrence, J. (2016). University transition challenges for first year domestic CALD students from refugee backgrounds: A case study from an Australian regional university. Australian Journal of Adult Learning,

(2), 170.

Kreiner, G.E., & Ashforth, B.E. (2004). Evidence toward an expanded model of organizational identification. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 25, 1–27. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.234

McAlpine, L., & Amundsen, C. (2011). Making Meaning of Diverse Experiences: Constructing An Identity Through Time. In McAlpine, L., & Amundsen, C. (Eds.) Doctoral Education: Research-based Strategies for Doctoral Students, Supervisors and Administrators (pp. 173–184). Amsterdam: Springer.

McLean, N. (2012). Researching Academic Identity: Using Discursive Psychology as an Approach. International Journal for Academic Development, 17(2), 97–108. https://doi.org/10.1080/136014

X.2011.599596

Morrice, L. (2013). Refugees in higher education: Boundaries of belonging and recognition, stigma and exclusion. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 32, 652–668. https://doi.org/10.1080/02601370.2

Nash, R. D. (2005). Course completion rates among distance learners: Identifying possible methods to improve retention. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 8(4).

Ní Raghallaigh, M., Foreman, M. & Feeley, M. (2016). Transition from Direct Provision to Life in the Community. Irish Research Council.

O’Boyle, N. (2015). The risks of ‘university speak’: relationship management and identity negotiation by mature students off campus. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 25(2), 93–111. https://doi.org/10.1080/09620214.2015.1018921

Onsando, G. & Billett, S. (2009). African students from refugee backgrounds in Australian TAFE institutes: A case for transformative learning goals and processes. International Journal of Training Research, 7, 80–94. https://doi.org/10.5172/ijtr7.2.80

O’Reilly, Z. (2018). ‘Living Liminality’: everyday experiences of asylum seekers in the ‘Direct Provision’ system in Ireland. Gender, Place & Culture, 25(6), 821–842. https://doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2018.1473345

Reception and Integration Agency (RIA), Ireland (2010). Direct provision. Retrieved from www.ria.gov.ie

Reception and Integration Agency (RIA), Ireland (2018). Monthly report October 2018. Retrieved from http://www.ria.gov.ie/en/RIA/October%202018%20monthly%20report%20updated%20.pdf/Files/October%202018%20monthly%20report%20updated%20.pdf

Stapleton, K., & Wilson, J. (2003). Grounding the discursive self: A case study in ISA and discursive psychology. In P. Weinreich and W. Saunderson (Eds.) Analysing Identity: Cross-cultural, societal and clinical contexts (pp. 195–212). London, New York: Routledge.

Sveningsson, S., & Alvesson, M. (2003). Managing Managerial Identities: Organizational Fragmentation, Discourse and Identity Struggle. Human Relations, 56(10), 1163–1193. https://doi.org/10.1177/00187267035610001

Taylor, S. (2001). Locating and conducting discourse analytic research. In M. Wetherell, S. Taylor, & S.J. Yates (Eds.) Discourse as data: A guide for analysis (pp. 5–48). London: Sage.

Thomas, L., Hill, M., O’Mahony, J. & Yorke, M. (2017). Supporting student success: strategies for institutional change: What Works? Student Retention & Success program. Retrieved from https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/supporting-student-success-strategies-institutional-change

Traxler, J. (2018). Digital literacy: A palestinian refugee perspective. Research in Learning Technology, 26, 1–21. https://doi.org/10.25304/rlt.v26.1983

Universities of Sanctuary (2019). Universities of Sanctuary. Retrieved from https://universities.cityofsanctuary.org/

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (2015a). Education. Accessed online April 2019 at: www.unhcr.org/pages/49c3646cda.html

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (2015b). Sustainable Development Goal 4 and Refugee Education, July 2015. Retrieved from https://www.refworld.org/docid/59c368ed4.html

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (2019). Figures at a Glance. Retrieved from https://www.unhcr.org/en-ie/figures-at-a-glance.html

Wiggins, S., & Potter, J. (2008). Discursive psychology. In C. Willig & W. Stainton Rogers (Eds.) Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research in Psychology (pp. 73–90). Sage.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.11.4.1018

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.