Volunteering and learning in HE: exploring and acknowledging student experience

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Weston, Carrie ; Guardini, Elena ; Minnion, Andy ; Kwiatkowska, Gosia (2013)
  • Publisher: University of East London, Cass School of Education and Communities
  • Subject:
    mesheuropmc: education
    acm: ComputingMilieux_COMPUTERSANDEDUCATION

This small-scale study seeks to gain understanding of the experiences and learning opportunities presented by students’ participation in a volunteering project at a post-1992 city university. The participating students were all drawn from an undergraduate programme in the field of special educational needs (SEN). This research focuses on the development of students’ professional confidence, personal skills and subject-related understanding in the context of considering the values and benefits of student volunteering. Pre-volunteering (n = 32), mid-point (n = 23) and post-volunteering (n = 26) questionnaires were completed by participating students. In-depth interviews were also conducted following the 12-week volunteering period (n = 6). Statistical analysis of questionnaires was carried out using SPSS analytics software, facilitating the production of tables and charts, while open-ended responses and in-depth interviews were analysed by hand and coded using themes. The findings of the study support the linking of volunteering activity to higher education (HE) programme outcomes to facilitate accreditation and recognition for students.
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