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Title: The time-use of distance learners : a study of international postgraduate students engaged in professional career development
Author: McNeill, William Neil
ISNI:       0000 0004 2702 0781
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis investigates how internationally located distance learning students allocate their time, and in particular seeks to establish whether an optimum time for study exists and the factors that influence this. It examines mature students working in the real estate and construction sectors studying for a postgraduate qualification that enables career progression to membership of a professional institution. It confirms that time use is individual and that, while average times exist, there are no average students or cohesive groups that conform to a central tendency. Through following an inductive approach the research argues for the definition of a standard student as one whose time use preferences for integrating study into their working week fit within a range of hours. The conclusion proposes that the range of hours and variation in the opportunity cost of study set boundaries for a temporal zone within which the standard student is found; and which differentiates these from non-standard students whose constraints place them at the extremes of time use. The research used a 24-hour pre-coded diary, integrated into a learning activity, and kept by students for seven days. The diary recorded time during a module at the start of the students' first year, and was supplemented by pre and post questionnaires. Changing patterns in time use were identified through a follow-up longitudinal survey conducted over the succeeding eight months. The initial data analysis used quantitative methods to summarise the data that provided a general portrait of time use, but also demonstrated the limitations of conventional statistics in illuminating and developing satisfactory explanation for human behaviour. In consequence a more qualitative analysis was undertaken using both aggregate and disaggregate techniques developed within time use practice to explore the issues and factors. The thesis identifies the principal factors affecting time use and discusses these with reference to relevant research and other literature, and to associations that are apparent from the time use analysis. The complexities of time use are recognised and discussed in relation to zero sum time accounting, time management and both microeconomic and rational choice theories. The thesis concludes by proposing how the concept of a temporal zone can be used to help standard and non-standard students manage their time by designing study as layers within bands of time.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available