My PhD research... a quick teaser

The below is a quick teaser, overview or let us say ABSTRACT of the work in progress.... still a looooooooooooooong way to go, but I really do hope to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“Refugee access to higher education is less than 1%” (UNHCR, 2014 ).  “Language and Academic Skills and E-Learning Resources programme (LASER)” is one of those emerging solutions. This EU-funded and British Council implemented programme supports over 3000 displaced Syrian students and disadvantaged youth in Jordan to re-integrate them into the higher education system. This project provides language training, academic readiness skills, coaching and distance education programmes. LASER consists of two key components: 1) face-to-face English and academic skills courses, delivered by experienced British Council trainers over 100 hours; and 2) short online courses (MOOCS AND SPOCS) as well as internationally-accredited online degree courses in partnership with Amity University and the Open University (British Council, n.d.)
This research aims to discover the impact of enrolling in LASER on refugees’ empowerment by measuring the impact of the two main factors influencing empowerment: 1) agency and 2) opportunity structure. The ultimate purpose is to discover the degree of empowerment reached by using the ‘Measuring Empowerment Framework (ME Framework) designed by Alsop and Heinsohn (2005). To construct a detailed version of the refugees’ experiences, two qualitative data collection techniques will be applied: observations and interviews.  Both techniques will be handled through a ‘participatory action research’ approach. This research will contribute to our understanding of the interrelationship between empowerment and the enrolment in a blended, primarily ICT-based educational setting, by making visible how various factors accelerate/ impede the empowerment process. Furthermore, it will open the door to ‘visualize’ points of strength and weakness of such an innovative educational solution, through learners’ lens.