How does Term-time Paid Work Affect Higher Education Students’ Studies, and What can be Done to Minimise any Negative Effects?

McGregor, I. (2015). How does Term-time Paid Work Affect Higher Education Students’ Studies, and What can be Done to Minimise any Negative Effects?. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 3, (2), 3-14.


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Abstract

This study aims to investigate the effects of term-time paid work on undergraduate students’ studies and what can be done to minimise any negative effects. Two studies were conducted; the first to establish the extent of students taking on paid work during term time, the impact it had on their studies and how they would like to be academically supported. The second study addressed students’ preferred methods of support, specifically seeking to establish guidelines about optimal methods. Almost two thirds of students within the study work during term time, with an average work commitment of 16 hours. Over two thirds of working students felt that their studies had been negatively affected by their paid work, whilst just over half of the students reported that their physical health had been affected, with just under a half describing mental health issues associated with working whilst studying. Over half the students thought that pre-recorded lectures would be the most suitable method of academic support and that the optimum length should be 60 minutes. In addition, a number of other asynchronous methods were identified. The results suggest that it is possible to support students more during their studies, and that the solutions are relatively simple. There is no suggestion that the methods of support will lessen the negative effects of working while studying, but they can be used to provide what students think might assist them to balance paid work and studying during term time. This study might be of interest to those supporting other groups of students who may require support with their studies, such as those with health issues, disabilities or care responsibilities.
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Authors

Iain McGregor
Lecturer
I.mcgregor@napier.ac.uk
+44 131 455 2788

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