Materials and Places for Learning: Experiences of Doctoral Students in and around University Spaces

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Springer Nature
People are more likely to thrive when they feel connected, when they feel they belong to a group, to a place, or when they feel part of a community. Places can play a powerful role in shaping one’s attachment to others and to institutions as part of the development of one’s identity. People’s experiences of places are linked to their sensorial impressions of material and digital elements, and to their perceptions of how multiple elements interconnect and impact lived experiences or imagined futures. This research investigates doctoral students’ experiences of places for learning in and around a university in New Zealand. The analysis combines individual interviews and digital multimodal artefacts created by participants who were studying on campus or studying at distance and remotely located. By acknowledging the diversity of university spaces where learning activity may unfold — in classrooms, at libraries, in the canteen, in the corridors, via online learning management systems, social media and messaging, or in the many in-between spaces such as buses, cafes, or working from home — this paper discusses the connections between people, places, material, and digital artefacts, with a focus on the materiality of learning in and around university spaces. Using socio-material conceptual lenses, the article reveals how students navigate the postdigital university through the spaces they inhabit and the places they value, and how their attachment to materials, feelings of inclusion, and learning purpose interconnect to support their (emerging) professional identity.
CAUL read and publish agreement 2022
Postdigital Science and Education, 2022