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Friday, June 20 • 10:30am - 11:00am
CON11.01 – Student Engagement and Learning Networks: Collaborating on a New Frontier (Room A232)

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A strong integration of linguistically and culturally diverse students into the university enables both a better learning experience at the undergraduate and graduate levels for students, and enriches the broader academic community. The significant increase in the student population over the past decade has brought both the opportunity for enrichment and the challenge of creating relevant co-curricular and academic programming that resonates with the needs and interests of these diverse groups of students.

The University of Toronto Scarborough has a vibrant and diverse student body, with a significant number of students who identify as ‘ESL’ (English as a second language) or ‘multilingual’. In growing numbers, these students have demonstrated their capacity to become actively involved in the unique process of their own learning, through the sustained creation of academic-focused peer networks. This presentation reports on research conducted by the English Language Development Centre (ELDC) and the Student Life Department, which systematically explored students’ perceptions of the academic and engagement benefits of participating in Knowledge Learning Networks on campus. In this session, we will both share our early data and analysis and invite participants to explore the following questions with us:

How did students represent their participation in co-curricular and academic support programming as forming a Knowledge Learning Network (KLN)?
What factors did students suggest influenced their engagement and sustained their motivation to participate in co-curricular programs and KLNs?
How did students represent their self-efficacy and academic identity as changing throughout their course of engagement with particular programming and KLNs?
How did students represent their involvement in their KLNs as helping them with their academic skills and commitments (e.g. specific academic success in courses, exams, study habits, oral communication etc.)?
How did students represent their involvement in KLNs as helping them to navigate their university environment and/ or participate more fully in academic life?

The research included an online survey which was widely disseminated on campus and available to any UTSC student who identified as being linguistically or culturally diverse and identified English as an additional language to their mother tongue. Extended semi-structured individual interviews were also conducted and a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods was used to analyze the data. The findings of this research seek to contribute to the understanding/development/improvement of Knowledge Learning Networks as opportunities for both formal and informal integrated support.

Friday June 20, 2014 10:30am - 11:00am EDT
A232 McArthur Hall

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