ERIC Number: ED197684
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980
Reference Count: 0
The Orientation of Students Studying the Social Science Foundation Course.
Taylor, Elizabeth; And Others
The reason that Great Britain's Open University (OU) students elected to study D101, the Social Science Foundation Course, was studied to discover their aims, expectations, and attitudes to the Open University and the course. Attention is directed to the first interview conducted before the course started to assess student orientations to study, conceptions of learning, and understanding of key concepts taught in the course. Three main types of orientation were identified: vocational, academic, and personal. Personal orientation, which was the most obvious and prevalent orientation, was composed of (1) "compensation," whereby the student felt cheated of educational opportunities in the past and was using OU to prove he or she is capable of getting a degree, and (2) "broadening," whereby the student wished to widen horizons and develop interpersonal skills. In relation to vocational orientation, most of the students had no particular job in mind but were hoping that in some undefined way the degree would help them to get a job sometime in the future. Study at OU was seen as a means to an end and the interest in the course was therefore extrinsic. In regard to academic orientation, some students were intrinsically interested in the course because of the subject matter while others were fulfilling requirements. In comparing the orientations of OU students and students at Surrey University, the difference was the emphasis on personal orientation in OU students; academic orientation was the main feature of students' orientation at Surrey. Two examples are cited to illustrate how orientation is related to the way students approach studying. A list of interview questions is appended. (SW)
Descriptors: Academic Aspiration, Career Awareness, College Students, Comparative Analysis, Core Curriculum, Expectation, Higher Education, Introductory Courses, Occupational Aspiration, Open Universities, Social Sciences, Student Attitudes, Student Educational Objectives, Student Motivation
Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, England.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Open Univ., Walton, Bletchley, Bucks (England). Inst. of Educational Technology.
Identifiers: Open University (Great Britain); University of Surrey (England)