Research Output

Rethinking graduate attributes: understanding the learning journeys of part-time students in the Open University in Scotland.

  Four in ten of Scotland’s university students study part time. But their voices and experience are often sidelined in debates about employability and graduate attributes. What do part-time students value in their course of study, and how does this differ from the experience of students in campus based universities? What is the relevance of current and future employment to their experience of study? What relevance might graduate attributes have to part time students? This paper draws on evidence gathered in two large scale surveys of Open University (OU) students in Scotland to explore these issues. The first of these studies explored study motivations and the relationship between study and employment. It highlights the fact that people often choose to study at points of change, or desired change in their life. Study either facilitates that change, or is in itself a part of the change. The aspirations of students does not neatly fit the traditional linear ‘graduate attributes’ model of progression from study to graduate career. Rather our findings suggest more complex journeys which pose challenges to that model and suggest alternative ways of viewing the relationship between study and ‘graduateness’. The second study explores the experience of OU students who studied previously at higher education level in a Scottish college. For these students employment and study is often intertwined and learning journeys are complex and non-linear. In the final section of the paper we look critically at the relevance of the idea of ‘graduateness’ for part-time / in work students and draw on the literature to suggest alternative ways in which the relationship between Higher Education (HE) and employment might be conceived in the context of the (changing) relationship between study and employment.

  • Date:

    01 April 2011

  • Publication Status:

    Published

  • Funders:

    The Open University

Citation

Caddell, M. & Cannell, P. (2011). Rethinking graduate attributes: understanding the learning journeys of part-time students in the Open University in Scotland. In Oosthuizen, S. & Jones, B. (Eds.). Part-Time study: the new paradigm for Higher Education?ISBN 9780957203303

Authors

Keywords

Students, part-time, higher education, learning journeys,

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