Abstract: Rural and remote students remain significantly underrepresented in higher education in Australia. At the same time, the workforce is rapidly transforming with the substantial growth and integration of digital and automated processes into everyday work and life. The digital economy requires workers who are digitally literate and competent. Rural students have lower digital lite racy competencies than urban based students. Queensland, which is a largely regionalised state, has a high percentage of rural students. Using Bourdieu’s cultural capital and habitus as a conceptual framework, this research identifies four influences on rural Queensland students’ decisions to pursue higher education and their perceptions of the value of digital media, and develops a model of influence. The influences include family, community, school and digital media. The thesis draws on 25 interviews conducted with rural Queensland high school students. Findings provide valuable new data around student influences towards higher education and digital media and suggest avenues to improve widening participation targeting students in rural areas. At the outset, this research suggests that widening participation efforts could be more effective if rural students’ families and communities were targeted in addition to schools by programs. The interactions discussed in interviews highlight the people and resources rural students draw on to make decisions, and which inputs hold the most value to students. It was found that family plays the most significant role in the decision making process, while the student’s school and community also play a role in the decision making process. The research also found interviewed students’ value of digital media and digital media learning at school depended somewhat on their intended career choice.
Turner, Krystle, 2018, The augmented rural reality: how rural high school students’ decisions to pursue university study in digital media are ‘augmented’ by the role of life history and cultural capital., Volume:Doctor of Philosophy, Thesis, viewed 16 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=14212.