The Universities Australia audit of Work Integrated Learning (WIL) revealed alarming discrepancies in access to WIL for students from regional and remote areas, from low and middle socioeconomic status (SES), and Indigenous backgrounds: all are more than five percentage points below the average participation rate (Universities Australia, 2019). Students from these equity backgrounds reported that time pressures, financial responsibilities, caring commitments, and geographic location are barriers to their uptake of WIL (ibid). In this project, the authors investigated whether online WIL might be one way of overcoming these barriers.
The key four research questions were:
- What are the benefits and challenges of online WIL as reported by students from equity groups?
- What are the benefits and challenges of online WIL as reported by educators?
- What are the commonalities and differences between online WIL in the US versus Australia?
- How might online WIL in Australia be enhanced and systematically supported to better meet the needs of equity students and educators?