Student Emotions Matter

Understanding and Responding to Taught Postgraduate Student Experience through the lens of Well-Being




taught postgraduate student experience, well-being, emotion, action research


Increasingly, the taught postgraduate student experience is being recognised as a complex journey influenced by a multiplicity of interconnected factors that are institution-related, discipline specific, and socio-culturally informed. This emergent recognition of the complexity of being a TPG student underpinned the research study reported in this paper; well-being was conceptualised as central to the student experience and interconnected with five facets of the student journey. It was explored through the lens of emotion and as an independent variable. Guided by principles of pragmatism, the study followed an action research approach seeking the perceptions of TPG students engaged in academic study and in turn reports the findings relating to their student experience. This paper reports on findings from year 1 (2017-18 academic year) of a 3-year longitudinal study.  Data were collected in 2 phases using an online survey followed by focus group interviews and then underwent thematic analysis.  Our findings reinforce and further inform the understanding that the TPG student experience is uniquely complex. Through our exploration we have come to understand TPG student experience as an emotionally rich process influenced by three dimensions of the student journey, degree of connectedness; effectiveness of supports; and quality of communication, that elicit threat or challenge appraisals based on perceived demands and coping resources, triggering emotion responses that impact well-being, and learner engagement. 

Keywords: taught postgraduate student experience, well-being, emotion, action research


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