Publication details

Integrating into University System at Home and Online



Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The academic year 2020/2021 was different from others in Czech tertiary educational history. That year and the year after were influenced by pandemic Covid-19. Some Czech universities were lucky and started their semester in person, but some did not have this possibility. That means that newcomers to some universities could not visit the concrete university buildings during their first semester. And their whole semester was held online, but the first semester is crucial for students' academic and social integration. According to Vlk et al. (2017), successful academic and social integration is necessary for future students' achievement at university. The online semester influenced the entire integration process as students did not meet in person, did not see their peers and did not visit university environment-buildings. During that time, many students' dormitories were closed. Therefore many newcomers stayed home and lived with their family members. Tinto (1993) says that family background influenced the process of integration. It is even more noticeable when a student lives at home during her/his studies. According to Tierney (1999), a student should "cut" the old and accept the new to fully integrate into the new system. That means students should live separately to have the possibility to integrate fully and to accept their new social role (university student) with all duties and opportunities, which is also very important during the integration process (Tinto, 1975). This situation was even more challenging for first-generation students. These are students whose family members have no experience with tertiary education (Vengřinová, 2021). First-generation students are more likely to drop out of tertiary education than peers (Ives & Castillo-Montoya, 2020). They could not ask their family members for advice about the university system, enrolling in courses, what credit points mean, and how to calculate them. This unique situation created significant research possibilities to investigate a process of academic and social integration of first-generation university students into the system, which should not be online but was. Because there is research about first-generation university students (e.g. Holland, 2020; Lytle & Shin, 2020; Mehta et al., 2011), we also can read articles about integration into study period research (such as Dika & D'Amico, 2016; Woosley & Shepler, 2011 etc.). But there is no research according to the current situation (pandemic of Covid-19 and online/distance learning) and students' integration into a university system, which creates a research gap. This concrete research gap wants partly cover this paper. It leads us to the main research question: How did first-generation students perceive their first semester as university students but at home? This main question was split into specific questions: (1) How do first-generation students perceive their role in their family? (2) How did first-generation students communicate their experience of studying to their family members? (3) Which obstacles connected to their environment did first-generation students face? (4) How did they overcome these obstacles?
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