Resilience and the Distance Higher Degree by Research Candidate

Resilience and the Distance Higher Degree by Research Candidate

Julie Willems (Monash University, Australia) and Andrea Reupert (Monash University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4205-8.ch024
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Abstract

In the context of higher education, resilience is often defined as being a reaction to adversity or hardship rather than a pre-emptive strategy to prevent or minimise attrition. Moreover, resilience is at times framed in relation to a student deficit, as opposed to an ecological construct for which many are responsible. While resilience is a necessary attribute of the successful Higher Degree Research (HDR) candidate, resilience is an issue and shared responsibility for students, educators, institutions and communities alike. This chapter proposes a model to assess and promote resilience strategies in higher education for the purposes of the retention and development of distance higher degree candidates.
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The Distance Education Higher Degree By Research (De Hdr) Candidate

While there is considerable research around the supervision of higher degree students generally, there is comparatively less literature describing the experience of being a higher degree research student off campus or in distance mode. The number of higher degree by research (DE HDR) candidates studying in distance mode is not insignificant, with Malone arguing in 1998 that it was the fastest growing mode of study in Australia. In 2004, approximately 10 per cent of all Australian university students studied in distance mode (Subic & Maconachie, 2004) while in the United States at least two million higher education students were enrolled in distance education (Allen & Seaman, 2004). Previously known as correspondence study, distance education is defined as an educational process in which a significant proportion of teaching is conducted by someone removed in space and/or time from the learner (Perraton, 1988). It can be offered on its own or in conjunction with other forms of education and typically utilises mediums such as printed material, telephone and/or audio recordings, television and video recordings, online learning, the web and multimedia materials (Hiltz & Turoff, 2005). The delivery mode for distance teaching and learning is an integral component of the model presented here.

For those living in rural and remote areas of Australia, postgraduate distance education is often the only means they have for improving their qualifications. The research questions and issues framed by those living in rural and remote areas of Australia are also likely to be distinctly different from those living in more populated areas of Australia, given the very different contexts in which these populations live and work. Thus, enhancing the research capacity of those living away from major metropolitan areas is not only important for rural and remote practitioners’ own career prospects but also provides a means of research and evaluation in fields that might otherwise go unnoticed. International students studying in distance mode from their own country represent another significant group of higher degree students that need to be acknowledged, as too are students who might live close to tertiary institutions but because of work and/or family commitments elect to study in distance mode.

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