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The diffusion of students…

26 January 2011

Derek Thomson

I finally managed to get the time to produce this network:

It represents the social network of undergraduate students in the “third year” of their studies.  However, those highlighted in red are students who have joined the programme directly in that year having either prior education or appropriate industry experience. 

They’re obviously quite isolated, but this is to be expected as the data was – after passing ethics committee – collected in their first few weeks at the University.  The plan is to update the data set now, some four months later, to see if they have integrated into the cohort.

At the same time, I surveyed their attitudes toward academic study and a marked difference between their perceptions between new and “time-served” students was observed.  This survey will also be repeated to see if a process of acculturation or assimilation has occured. 

These issues are important as the injection of notable numbers of direct entry studies into the later years of an established cohort has consequences on social cohesion and, it is hypothesised, attitudes to academic endeavour.  It will hopefully be possible to infer some understanding of this influence from this data.

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