Teaching students using technology: Facilitating success for students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds in Australian universities

Marcia Devlin, Jade McKay


Australian higher education has adopted a widening participation agenda with a focus on the participation of disadvantaged students, particularly those from low socioeconomic status (LSES) backgrounds. As these students begin to enter university in greater number and proportion than ever before, there is increasing interest in how best to facilitate their success. A recent national study employed semi-structured interviews to ask 89 successful LSES students what had helped them succeed. Twenty-six staff experienced in effectively teaching and supporting LSES students were also interviewed about what approaches they used in their work. Analysis of the study’s findings indicates a strong theme related to the use of technology in effectively teaching and supporting LSES students. In particular, the use of a range of resources and media, facilitating interactive and connected learning, enabling personalised learning and assuring high academic standards were found to contribute to student success. The implications of these findings are discussed with a specific focus on promoting effective teaching practice and informing related policy. At a time when the diversity of the student cohort in Australian higher education institutions is increasing, the findings reported in this paper are both timely and critical for educators and institutions.


students from low socioeconomic backgrounds; student success; disadvantaged students; widening participation

Full Text:


DOI: https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.2053

Copyright (c) 2016