The OU centre for STEM pedagogy
This project seeks to understand our current performance against EDI, widening participation and success (WPS) targets on postgraduate qualifications run by the schools of C&C and E&I, collectively Postgraduate Technology and Computing (PTC). There is little scholarship focussing on these areas at postgraduate (Marvell, 2022). The project seeks to identify common themes or significant differences when considering PG cohorts as opposed to UG. This will identify aspects of participation and success that require further investigation and interventions.
A review of historic student and KPI data for PG students will be undertaken looking at student success, progression and completion rates. The project aims to investigate progression and retention across PG C&C and E&I to identify any EDI & WPS patterns, particular to PG study, to help inform the longer-term research question for the overall project. The study must be cognisant of other factors particular to PG, such as students undertaking study as CPD, no requirement to register on PG qualifications at start of study and open entry nature of C&C and E&I PG study. In addition, this analysis will give a clearer understanding of how the PG qualifications are performing against university targets as well as potentially being able to inform dashboards that report on these key metrics.
The project will provide an improved understanding of how we perform at postgraduate level in our goal of widening participation and indicate areas for improvement in this regard. The study will also develop recommendations to help inform postgraduate module teams in designing more inclusive content and assessment to improve student success regardless of background.
It is intended that the first phase of the project will inform a subsequent longitudinal study of all new students on core modules from any of the PTC programmes starting in 2024. The overall length of this project is designed to incorporate the permissible maximum time to gain for any of the PTC Masters qualifications. The intension would be to conduct the project in phases which relate to the typical time to complete the intermediate qualifications of PG Certificate and PG Diploma, as well as the full MSc qualification. This will include the full student journey, starting with registration, the students first PG module, completion of modules sufficient for the PG certificate (2 modules), completion of modules sufficient for the PG diploma (4 modules), progression to the masters’ project and successful completion of the MSc qualification. Surveys will be conducted to better understand the student motivations that lie behind continuation and non-continuation. Structured interviews will also be used to explore any commonly identified areas in more detail.