Mattering vs belonging and the impact of academic advisors: online professional part-time students – a case study

Thijm, Jacqui (2023) Mattering vs belonging and the impact of academic advisors: online professional part-time students – a case study. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, n/a (29). pp. 1-5. ISSN ISSN: 1759-667X

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Belonging is not a new concept: it has been around for some time in higher education. The ‘What works? Student retention and success’ report concluded that ‘belonging is critical to student retention and success’ (Thomas, 2012). However, this can be difficult to achieve for some students such as those who study online. The research around a sense of belonging amongst online students, who have limited time and opportunities to participate in activities used to promote belonging at universities, is limited (Peacock et al., 2020). With an increase in online and blended courses within higher education (Dumford and Miller, 2018), mattering may be a more important factor for such students. Mattering as defined by Dixon and Tucker (2008), is an individual’s perception that they are important and are valued in their interpersonal relationships. Academic advisors have a key role in mattering: by building individual relations with students they can have a positive impact on feelings of mattering. McIntosh et al. (2020) found that students who feel supported by their academic advisors go on to have successful tutoring relationships. In a case study conducted within a Higher Education Institute that provides fully online courses for part-time professional students, the author examined feelings of mattering and belonging amongst level 5 and 6 undergraduate students. The case study found that the individual mattering relationships were more important than belonging to students who participated in the study. Students valued members of staff who went ‘above and beyond’ and showed care and mattering. Academic Advisors were key members of staff for these mattering relationships. If students feel that they matter, this may well lead to an increased feeling of belonging and this is something that should be explored further. Thijm Mattering vs belonging and

Item Type: Article
Sustainable Development Goals:
Keywords: belonging, mattering, online.
Divisions: Digital Learning and Engagement > Online Learning
Depositing User: Jacqui Thijm
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2023 12:07
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2023 14:33

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