Research Output
Supporting Entrepreneurship Students’ Sense of Belonging in Online Virtual Spaces
  Universities globally are aspiring to grow through investing in the
delivery of online learning Programmes. However, the attrition rate for online learning is high. Thomas, Herbert and Teras (2014) identified that those students with a sense of belonging to their course experienced increase enjoyment, reduced anxiety and were less likely to withdraw. Yet, too often programme design guidance to support a sense of belonging for student communities focus on localised, full-time and young students unlike the older, global dispersed, time-starved students in our online entrepreneurship programme.
This paper explores how to effectively support a sense of belonging for entrepreneurship students in a virtual learning space throughout their online degree studies. The research presented in this paper adopts an interpretivist perspective - eight students were interviewed who were studying a one year top up degree in a UK HE. Teaching and support staff interviewed were based solely in the UK. The data collected was analysed using thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006). This paper seeks to contribute to the debate of what a sense of belonging means in a virtual space for entrepreneurship students and identify how these students can feel connected and supported to finish their course.

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  • Date:

    10 March 2021

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  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Brodie, J., & Osowska, R. (2021). Supporting Entrepreneurship Students’ Sense of Belonging in Online Virtual Spaces. Industry and Higher Education, 35(4),



Belonging, entrepreneurship education, online learning, student retention

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