ArticlePDF Available

Abstract

In December 2017, the 6th Biennial National Association of Enabling Educators of Australia (NAEEA) Conference was hosted by Southern Cross University at the Gold Coast, Australia. The Biennial NAEEA Conference brings together educators and practitioners to collaborate on issues of relevance to enabling pathway programs leading to undergraduate university education. Roche, T. & Syme, S. (2018). Editorial: Emerging Trends and Future Directions of Enabling Education. Student Success, 9(1), i–iv. doi: 10.5204/ssj.v9i1.427 ISSN: 2205-0795
Student Success
A journal exploring the experiences of students in tertiary education
ISSN: 2205-0795
Volume 9, Issue 1
February 2018
Student Success, 9(1) February 2018| i
Editorial
Emerging Trends and Future Directions of
Enabling Education
In this Special Issue
In December 2017, the 6th Biennial National Association
of Enabling Educators of Australia (NAEEA) Conference
was hosted by Southern Cross University at the Gold
Coast, Australia. The Biennial NAEEA Conference brings
together educators and practitioners to collaborate on
issues of relevance to enabling pathway programs
leading to undergraduate university education.
The education pathways of interest to NAEEA members
vary in name internationally and are referred to as
developmental education in the United States, access
education in the United Kingdom, and in other countries,
such as the New Zealand and elsewhere, as bridging or
foundation education. They hold in common that they
are offered to under-prepared domestic students from a
diverse range of backgrounds. It is of note that
approximately 50 per cent of students enrolled in
Australia’s enabling programs are identified as being
from one or more equity groups, such as: low
socioeconomic status, as well as regional and remote
students; this compares with 30 per cent of students in
Australia’s undergraduate programs (Lomax-Smith,
Watson, & Webster, 2011). The remainder of students in
enabling programs are for a variety of reasons unable to
enrol directly into undergraduate study or are otherwise
unprepared for tertiary study. The aim of these
programs is to enable students to gain admission to and
prepare them for successful transition through
undergraduate education. They do this by developing the
discipline knowledge and academic skills required for
university level learning. In the Australian context, the
value of such programs as expressed in hard outcomes is
slowly becoming better understood, with research
showing that enabling students who transition to
undergraduate study are likely to outperform other
equity group students in their first year of study (Pitman
et al., 2016).
The NAEEA has grown out of two decades of networking
educators from these programs at regular conferences
and events in Australia, often in conjunction with the
closely affiliated New Zealand organisation FABENZ
(Foundation and Bridging Educators of New Zealand).
Both the conference and the Association have an
evolving history, as they have strived to further research
into and the practice of how enabling education is
offered across Australia and more widely. In the ever-
changing higher education landscape, the Association
has also worked to raise the wider community’s and
national political representatives’ awareness of the
essential role that such enabling pathways play closing
the education gap in an equitable democratic society.
The 2017 conference was held at a time when the
Australian Federal Government had tabled the Higher
Education Support Legislation Amendment (A More
Sustainable, Responsive and Transparent Higher
Education System) which proposed replacing the
government funded loading for enabling courses with a
student contribution, albeit one which could be paid
through a student loan. NAEEA responded to the
proposed legislation by pointing out that the proposed
changes to enabling funding would disadvantage
society’s most vulnerable, those students from the equity
groups identified above (Bennett, Harvey, & Fagan,
2017; NAEEA, 2017). The proposed funding change
came at a time when globally, many countries were
investing heavily in higher education as a means of
safeguarding their economies and ultimately
communities against profound economic and social
inequity (Universities Australia, 2017).
Editorial
ii | Student Success, 9(1) February 2018
The 2017 conference turned its attention to core
elements of enabling education, welcoming participants
to submit research and practice papers on themes such
as: success in and of enabling programs, academic
literacy and academic numeracy, teaching practice and
curriculum design for enabling programs, as well as the
role of technology and online learning in these programs.
We were joined at the conference by four keynote
speakers: Professor Mike Osborne, Director of the
Centre for Research and Chair of Adult and Lifelong
Learning at the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom,
provided an international overview on access, retention
and progression in enabling programs. How engagement
works as an enabling mechanism for diverse cohorts at
regional universities was the focus the keynote address
by Professor Karen Nelson, Pro Vice-Chancellor
(Students) at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC),
Australia. Professor Norm Sheehan, a Wiradjuri man
and Director of Gnibi College at Southern Cross
University, Australia, unpacked and challenged cultural
imperatives imbedded in higher education and discussed
the importance of connectedness. Associate Professor
Nick Zepke from Massey University, New Zealand,
explored a success framework for enabling programs
and how this could be realised in practice through
learning with peers, active citizenship and student
engagement.
In this special issue of the Student Success Journal the 6th
Biennial NAEEA conference’s top ranked research
papers, as selected via a blind peer review process, have
been included for publication. The papers selected are
described in the section below.
Feature
In addition to the research papers collated here, this
edition of the Student Success Journal includes a feature
article on future directions in enabling education based
on the final session of the conference, an interactive
panel facilitated by Karen Seary, recently elected Chair
of the Association and Associate Dean at CQUniversity.
The conference’s four keynote speakers listed above
were joined on the panel by David Bull, outgoing Chair
of the Association and Director of the University of
Southern Queensland’s Open Access College. The
panellists had 45 minutes to discuss the future of
enabling education, locally and globally, following which
the audience were invited to ask questions. Highlights
from this discussion are presented in part in the feature
article.
Articles
Frank Armstrong, Trixie James, Hermina Conradie
and Shane Parker from CQUniversity, Mackay,
Australia, provide a deep understanding of factors that
inhibit and enhance the male student experience in
CQUniversity’s enabling program, STEPS. In their article
Males in Enabling: Painting a portrait through narrative
the authors employ the lens of transformative theory to
analyse personalised study experience accounts
(Josselson, 2006). While they note key differences
between younger and male participants, such as older
students being better at avoiding procrastination and
other negative interferences during study, the authors
conclude that as both younger and older male students
experienced academic success, each of the participants
became more invested in their studies and their identity
as a student while becoming more attached to the
university and program they were studying in.
Researchers from a multi-institutional research group
worked together to produce Emotional labour demands
in enabling education: A qualitative exploration of the
unique challenges and protective factors. Nicole
Crawford and Lesley Osenieksa from University of
Tasmania; Anita Olds, Megan Jaceglav and Joanne
Lisciandro from Murdoch University; and, Marguerite
Westacott from USC explore academic staff experiences
in teaching and supporting students in enabling
programs using a collaborative autoethnographical
approach. In particular, the authors explore the
emotional labour demands (Näring, Vlerick, & Van de
Ven, 2012) of teaching enabling cohorts. Drawing on
themes such as this and others like the impact on
academics of witnessing student transformation, the
authors highlight the rewards and protective factors
which mitigate stress among enabling educators.
In Exploring students’ uses of and dispositions towards
learning technologies in an Australian enabling course
Rhian Morgan from James Cook University (JCU)
investigates the role of digital literacies in enabling
programs. Through a survey adapted from the 2014
EDUCAUSE Centre for Analysis and Research (ECAR)
Students and Technology Survey (Dahlstrom & Bichsel,
2014) administered at JCU, Morgan reports on current
trends in enabling students’ uses of technology, such as
preferences for mobile content and blended learning
environments, before concluding with a discussion of
how these findings can be mobilised in curriculum
development.
Attrition is the focus of Julie Willans and Karen Seary’s
CQUniversity based study “Why did we lose them and
Roche & Syme
Student Success, 9(1) February 2018| iii
what could we have done”? Their findings are based on
interviews conducted with 23 students who withdrew
from STEPS, and 10 program coordinators. The
researchers report findings similar to research into first
year undergraduate studies (Baik, Naylor, Arkoudis, &
Dabrowski, 2017; Nelson, Duncan & Clarke, 2009), that
personal issues, such as mental and physical health,
financial and time constraints were major factors
contributing to attrition. The authors propose a series of
recommendations that could potentially mitigate these
factors, such as academic support provided at evenings
and on weekends; and, follow-up calls at withdrawal.
The special edition of the Journal closes with an article
based on the keynote presented by Nick Zepke. In his
article Learning with peers, active citizenship and student
engagement in Enabling Education, Zepke sets out to
address the question: what support do students in
Enabling Education need to learn the behaviours,
knowledge and attitudes required to succeed in tertiary
education, employment and life? Via a review of the
literature, he introduces an enabling program success
framework, before exploring two constructs applicable
to enabling education taken from research on student
engagement, facilitated peer learning and active
citizenship.
Conclusion
The Guest Editors of this special edition would like to
thank the conference organising committee members Dr
Michael Brickhill, Giulie Fowler, Dr Johanna Nieuwoudt,
Dr Sue Muloin, Associate Professor Thomas Roche and
Dr Suzi Syme led by the Director of SCU College,
Professor Janet Taylor.
They would also like to thank all the contributors to this
special edition listed above, the Journal’s Editor-in-Chief
Professor Karen Nelson and Journal Manager Tracy
Creagh for their support and guidance in finalising this
issue. We hope the articles presented here not only
capture the issues and trends currently emerging in the
field but also provide insight into the future directions of
research and practice of enabling education in Australia
and more widely.
Thomas Roche & Suzie Syme
Guest Editors, Special Issue
References
Baik, C., Naylor, R., Arkoudis, S., & Dabrowski, A. (2017).
Examining the experiences of first-year
students with low tertiary admission scores in
Australian universities. Studies in Higher
Education, Advance online publication. doi:
10.1080/03075079.2017.138337
Bennett, A., Harvey, A., & Fagan, S. (2017, May 17).
Programs that prepare students for university
study may no longer be free. The Conversation.
Retrieved
http://theconversation.com/programs-that-
prepare-students-for-university-study-may-
no-longer-be-free-77851
Dahlstrom, E., & Bichsel, J. (2014). ECAR Study of
Undergraduate Students and Information
Technology, 2014: Research report. Retrieved
from
https://library.educause.edu/~/media/files/li
brary/2014/10/ers1406-pdf.pdf?la=en
Josselson, R. (2006). Narrative research and the
challenge of accumulating knowledge.
Narrative Inquiry, 16(1), 3-10. doi:
10.1075/ni.16.1.03jos
Lomax-Smith, J., Watson, L., & Webster, B. (2011). Higher
Education Base Funding Review: final report.
Retrieved from
http://www.voced.edu.au/content/ngv%3A49
506
National Association of Enabling Educators. (2017).
Reform Package Spells Fee-Free Death of
Enabling [Press Release]. Retrieved
http://www.enablingeducators.org/Reform%
20Package%20Spells%20Fee-
Free%20Death%20of%20Enabling.pdf
Näring, G., Vlerick, P., & Van de Ven, B. (2012). Emotion
work and emotional exhaustion in teachers:
The job and individual perspective.
Educational Studies, 38(1), 63-72.
https://doi.org/10.1080/03055698.2011.567
026
Nelson, K., Duncan, M., & Clarke, J. (2009). Student
success: the identification and support of first
year university students at risk of attrition.
Studies n Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and
Development, 6(1), 1-15. Retrieved from
http://shiftwork.cqu.edu.au/
Pitman, T., Trinidad, S., Devlin, M., Harvey, A., Brett, M., &
Mckay, J. (2016). Pathways to higher education:
Editorial
iv | Student Success, 9(1) February 2018
the efficacy of enabling and sub-Bachelor
pathways for disadvantaged students: Report
for the Australian Government Department of
Education and Training. Retrieved from
https://www.ncsehe.edu.au/
Universities Australia (2017). Universities Australia
Submission: Higher Education Support
Legislation Amendment 2017. Retrieved from
https://www.universitiesaustralia.edu.au
Please cite this Editorial as:
Roche, T. & Syme, S. (2018). Editorial: Emerging Trends and Future Directions of Enabling Education. Student Success, 9(1),
i–iv. doi: 10.5204/ssj.v9i1.427
Please see the Editorial Policies under the ‘About’ section of the Journal website for further information.
Student Success: A journal exploring the experiences of students in tertiary education
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence. As an open access journal,
articles are free to use, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings. ISSN: 2205-0795
... Many students enter university via an enabling program (James & Walters, 2020). University enabling programs are pre-award programs that enable students to gain admission to undergraduate programs while preparing students for the rigours of higher education (Roche & Syme, 2018). Enabling programs in Australia are similar to access programs in the United Kingdom, developmental education in the United States, and bridging or foundation programs in other countries such as New Zealand (Roche & Syme, 2018). ...
... University enabling programs are pre-award programs that enable students to gain admission to undergraduate programs while preparing students for the rigours of higher education (Roche & Syme, 2018). Enabling programs in Australia are similar to access programs in the United Kingdom, developmental education in the United States, and bridging or foundation programs in other countries such as New Zealand (Roche & Syme, 2018). Enabling programs have become an increasingly popular pathway to higher education in Australia. ...
Article
Studying at university can be a transformative experience; however, it can also be a stressful experience for many students. Research has shown that university students experience rates of psychological distress at higher rates than the general population. However, studies investigating the mental health of students enrolled in enabling programs are largely lacking. This study investigated the prevalence and severity of psychological distress among students enrolled in an enabling program at a regional university in Australia. The data provides evidence of high levels of psychological distress in enabling students, with the majority of students (95%) experiencing above normal levels of psychological distress. Significant inverse relationships were found between age and depression, and age and anxiety. No significant relationship was found between age and stress, gender, and psychological distress, nor between study mode and psychological distress. These findings suggest that enabling students are a high-risk population for mental health problems. The results highlight the need for further research on the psychological well-being of enabling students, to improve students' mental wellbeing and prevent the development of mental illness. High psychological distress is associated with reduced academic performance, but it can also lead to a lower quality of life and increased morbidity and mortality.
... This study explores the experiences of the first cohort to study in a TEALS model within an enabling program at a regional Australian university. Similar to access programs in the UK and developmental education in the US (Roche & Syme, 2018), Australian enabling programs provide a pathway into higher education for non-traditional students who are typically from multiple equity groups, including FiF, LSES, Indigenous, and from regional and remote Australia (Lomax-Smith et al., 2011;Syme et al., 2021). The programs are specifically designed to prepare students for the rigour of academic study with tools and strategies to manage their often complex, competing demands on their time and focus (Hellmundt & Baker, 2017;Lisciandro et al., 2018), taught by expert staff within a culture of care (Relf et al., 2017). ...
Full-text available
Article
Contemporary higher education pedagogies suggest there is a pressing need to innovate beyond didactic content delivery in standard 12-15 week teaching periods. This need has been intensified by the growing numbers of students from 'non-traditional' backgrounds in higher education, many of whom lead complex lives with competing responsibilities. Shorter delivery models are a promising alternative for heightening the success of diverse student cohorts; however, concerns about whether such models enable an equivalent quality of learning persist. The current study investigates the impact of the Southern Cross Model (SCM), a distinctive application of Technology-Enhanced Active Learning in a Shorter delivery model (TEALS), on students in an Australian university pathway program. Focus groups and institutional data provide rich insight into how the SCM can positively impact non-traditional students' learning and enable enhanced success and academic achievement. The study identified three key elements underpinning these outcomes: constructive alignment in a six-week term; the learning-centred design of interactive, responsive online modules; and respectful, dialogic teaching approaches. For the novice, non-traditional students in this study these elements led to increased focus and confidence and facilitated their transformations into critical, independent learners. This further resulted in increased pass rates and grade point averages (GPAs). The research indicates that the SCM, as a specific example of TEALS, can strengthen learning outcomes and empower non-traditional students for successful university study.
Article
This study examines the impact of an Australian enabling program, underpinned by critical pedagogy, on students’ academic and professional success. Qualitative focus group data were collected from individuals who had completed an enabling program at a regional Australian university and progressed to undergraduate study. Quantitative data comparing the academic achievement of enabling and non-enabling students across a six-year period were also analysed. Together, the data present a compelling picture of the transformative power of enabling education underpinned by critical pedagogy. Students who completed the enabling program had higher success rates, grade point averages (GPAs) and retention rates than their non-enabling peers. They were also empowered to overcome limiting beliefs about their academic and professional potential, which in turn led to success in their studies and careers that they had not previously imagined possible.
Full-text available
Technical Report
For the 2014 student techology use study, ECAR collaborated with 213 institutions to collect responses from 75,306 undergraduate students about their technology experiences. Key Findings Selected findings are below. See the report for a comprehensive list. Technology is embedded into students’ lives, and students are generally inclined to use and to have favorable attitudes toward technology. However, technology has only a moderate influence on students’ active involvement in particular courses or as a connector with other students and faculty. Students’ academic use of technology is widespread but not deep. They are particularly interested in expanding the use of a few specific technologies. Many students use mobile devices for academic purposes. Their in-class use is more likely when instructors encourage such use; however, both faculty and students are concerned about their potential for distraction. More students than ever have experienced a digital learning environment. The majority say they learn best with a blend of online and face-to-face work. Most students support institutional use of their data to advise them on academic progress in courses and programs. Many of the analytic functions students seek already exist in contemporary LMSs.
Full-text available
Article
Narrative research has produced an array of richly-detailed expositions of life as lived, well-interpreted studies full of nuance and insight that befit the complexity of human lives. This paper inquires into the necessity and possibilities of amalgamation of knowledge obtained through narrative research. As narrative studies, with their accompanying interpretations, accumulate, how do we “add them up?“ What would a meta-analysis of narrative studies look like? The challenge that confronts us is how assimilate narrative understanding at a conceptual level in a way that does not return to a modernist frame, treating the various research reports as “facts“ — but rather to treat them as situated interpretations. Conversation is offered as a metaphor and context within which knowledge is to be understood.
Full-text available
Article
Teaching requires much emotion work which takes its toll on teachers. Emotion work is usually studied from one of two perspectives, a job or an individual perspective. In this study, we assessed the relative importance of these two perspectives in predicting emotional exhaustion. More than 200 teachers completed a questionnaire comprising the DISQ (Demand‐Induced Strain Compensation Questionnaire), the Dutch Questionnaire on Emotional Labour (D‐QEL), and the UBOS (Utrechtse Burnout Schaal [Utrecht Burnout Scale]). In line with previous studies, our findings indicated that emotional exhaustion is positively associated with emotional job demands and surface acting. The relative importance of the two operationalisations of emotion work was assessed by comparing the results of two regression analyses. Whereas the model with job demands explained 18% of the variance, the model with emotional labour explained only 5%. In understanding what might contribute to emotional exhaustion in teachers, the emotional job demands might be much more important than the self‐regulation perspective that is measured with emotional labour.
Article
Thank you for giving the The Australian Council of Deans of Education the opportunity to respond to the Higher Education Base Funding Review. Given the time frames and resources available the Council has concentrated its responses on Q3.1, Q3.2, Q3.4, Q4.1, and Q4.2 as we believe they are critical to the future of the discipline of Education. We also believe that the issues of scholarly activity warrant further consideration but, in the interests of brevity, we have decided not to respond to Q3.5 at this time. We are happy to provide any additional information or comment that you might require in support of our proposition that the Discipline of Education should be considered for funding at the level of Cluster Funding 5.
Article
The engagement behaviour of 1,524 student-enrolments (“students”) in five first year units was monitored and 608 (39.9%) were classified as “at risk” using the criterion of not submitting or failing their first assignment. Of these, 327 (53.8%) were successfully contacted (i.e., spoken to by phone) and provided with advice and/or referral to learning and personal support services while the remaining 281 (46.2%) could not be contacted. Nine hundred and sixteen students (60.1%) were classified as “not at risk.” Overall, the at risk group who were contacted achieved significantly higher end-of-semester final grades than, and persisted (completed the unit) at more than twice the rate of, the at risk group who were not contacted. There were variations among the units which were explained by the timing of the first assignment, specific teaching-learning processes and the structure of the curriculum. Implications for curriculum design and supporting first year students within a personal, social and academic framework are discussed.
Examining the experiences of first-year students with low tertiary admission scores in Australian universities. Studies in Higher Education
  • C Baik
  • R Naylor
  • S Arkoudis
  • A Dabrowski
Baik, C., Naylor, R., Arkoudis, S., & Dabrowski, A. (2017). Examining the experiences of first-year students with low tertiary admission scores in Australian universities. Studies in Higher Education, Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/03075079.2017.138337
Programs that prepare students for university study may no longer be free. The Conversation
  • A Bennett
  • A Harvey
  • S Fagan
Bennett, A., Harvey, A., & Fagan, S. (2017, May 17). Programs that prepare students for university study may no longer be free. The Conversation. Retrieved http://theconversation.com/programs-thatprepare-students-for-university-study-mayno-longer-be-free-77851