An investigation into the potential for blended learning approaches in enhancing students’ assessment experience on an Introduction to Economics and Statistics Module

An Economics Network funded project, 2010-11

Institution: Canterbury Christ Church University
Project leader: Shaista Naheed Minhas

The overall aim of the project is to assess the potential of blended learning to aid the improvement of the learning process experienced by widening participation students who have been motivated to enrol on a BSc in Business Management Degree Programme at Canterbury Christ Church University, Broadstairs Campus, and are required to take the Introduction to Economics and Statistics module as part of their first year undergraduate programme. “Widening Participation is central to the Mission of the University which is ‘to pursue excellence in academic and professional higher education thereby enriching both individuals and society’. This focus includes a commitment to enabling suitably qualified individuals to access the potential benefits and rewards of higher education and to fulfil their potential whatever their background.” (Canterbury Christ Church University online, 2010, p.4) Part of the widening participation strategy of Canterbury Christ Church University is the development of Broadstairs Campus. This is a satellite campus based in the regionally, economically deprived area of the Isle of Thanet. Introduction to Economics and Statistics is a compulsory 20 credit module taken by all first year undergraduate students studying for a BSc in Business Management. The module aims to introduce students to basic statistical techniques which are relevant to the modern day economist. It will also enable students to acquire a knowledge and understanding of the fundamental economic concepts of microeconomics and macroeconomics.

For the purpose of this project widening participation will be defined as a desire “to increase the representation of those groups that are currently under-represented in higher education or in particular aspects of higher education (e.g. males in primary education or nursing). It includes a focus on students and their families from lower-socio-economic groups (NS SEC 4, 5, 6 and 7), from low income groups, those from areas of low participating neighbourhoods, disabled students, students leaving care, part-time and mature students; and some students from minority ethnic communities.” (Canterbury Christ Church University online, 2010, p.1) This is particularly relevant to the regional location of Broadstairs Campus, which is the Isle of Thanet because it would be considered to be a low participating neighbourhood. 12.4% of people living the Margate District have qualifications at degree level or higher, while in the Broadstairs District 16.4% have qualifications at degree level or higher, while in Canterbury, which is only 22 miles from the Isle of Thanet, 28.8% of people have qualifications at degree level or higher. (Office for National Statistics online)

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