The Changing Nature of Students' Social Experience within University

Karen Fitzgibbon, Deborah Prior

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper outlines the development of an online learner support tool “Early Days” and the information it subsequently provided into one aspect of the early experiences of students in the case study university. Analysis is based on two years of data that considered the extent of students’ social integration and emerging changes in the nature of their social experiences. Findings indicate that the majority of students enjoy the social side of higher education and feel they have settled into the university, but conversely they are not gaining this social experience through traditional social activities such as clubs and societies. Whilst the data offers a picture of one university, other higher education institutions may be interested in considering whether the changes are replicated in their own institutions. The current trend by the National Union of Students to move away from alcohol‐based events suggests that this may be the case. The paper raises the need for further research into the the changing nature of students’ social experience within university and suggests one challenge may be to consider the role of universities in providing students with a blended and positive social experience in the future.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)26 - 32
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Applied Research in Higher Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


    • experience within university
    • Social experience
    • Online learner support


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