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Beyond Allowing the Disadvantaged in: Biographical Perspectives of Online Higher Education Alumni with Migratory Backgrounds

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Publication date14/09/2022
Host publicationPan-Commonwealth Forum 10 (PCF10), 2022
PublisherCommonwealth of Learning (COL)
<mark>Original language</mark>English


PCF10 Sub-theme: Promoting Equity and Inclusion // Since the United Nations made a call in 2016 to facilitate online education for migrants worldwide, the number of online initiatives targeting this profile of students has been growing. The rapid growth in course offerings and students' enrolment has mistakenly been considered evidence for the increased accessibility of university education. However, improving access to higher education is a complex and multidimensional social issue beyond allowing the disadvantaged in universities. Thus, our research aims to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the accessibility of online higher education rooted in an actual online HE practice, going beyond the point of entrance. This article focuses on the biographical narratives of three alumni from the Open University of Catalonia, each with migratory backgrounds from a different continent of origin and previous university experience, illustrating the journey of obtaining an online bachelor's degree. A set of influencing factors has been identified, based on which the accessibility of online education has been reconceptualised. Additionally, we suggest strategies to better support this profile of students in the context of online universities.