An investigatory inquiry into the online nutritional therapy experience and the potential for enrichment using action research

Werrett, Paula, Denis (2019) An investigatory inquiry into the online nutritional therapy experience and the potential for enrichment using action research. Masters thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

This Project aimed to explore the experience of first year nutritional therapy students at ION and to work with them to identify initiatives to improve their experience. Students in both the first and second semester of year one were recruited via the ION VLE using a purposive sampling approach to ensure a mix of pre-defined socio-demographic characteristics.

A two phase methodology was employed. In phase one a phenomenological approach using semi-structured interviews was adopted to benchmark student experience. In phase two an action research (AR) orientation with three cycles enabled myself to work with students in action sets to explore ways in which ION and ION students were able to take action to improve online student experience.

In total 10 participants were recruited (7 from the February 2018 cohort and 3 from the September 2018 cohort). Data was analysed using thematic analysis for phase one and first and second person reflection for phase two. Analysis of transcribed phase one data identified three key themes relating to student experience, namely; Peer Interaction, Support and Guidance and Format and Resources. These themes were then taken forward as topic areas for each group to stimulate the generation of initiatives to improve experience in phase two.

Findings from phase one revealed that all three of the identified themes were important to the online nutritional therapy student experience at ION. Of the three themes, nearly all students considered that more peer interaction would be beneficial, whereas students were divided regarding their views on the extent to which improvements in other areas were needed. Student satisfaction levels varied amongst participants. Higher satisfaction levels were correlated with younger students and with other factors such as completion of the Nutritional Therapy Science Access Course and / or higher self-regulatory or technological skills

In phase two a Nominal Group Technique (NGT) was used to generate and vote on initiatives to improve experience. A total of 48 ideas were identified and students voted on their top 3 ‘quick – win’ ideas at the end of each session. A number of initiates were implemented during the project including a student attendance day, updates to module areas, a questionnaire to understand student and meet up preferences and tutor use of webcams. Although student participation in action did not reach desired levels, students reacted favourably to implemented changes, reported increased motivation and demonstrated some learning from their involvement

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology
B. > Theses
Item ID: 26869
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2019 07:49
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2019 08:54
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/26869

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