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Understanding the context of distance students : differences in on- and off-campus engagement with an online learning environment

Palmer, Stuart 2012, Understanding the context of distance students : differences in on- and off-campus engagement with an online learning environment, Journal of open, flexible and distance learning, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 70-82.

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Title Understanding the context of distance students : differences in on- and off-campus engagement with an online learning environment
Author(s) Palmer, Stuart
Journal name Journal of open, flexible and distance learning
Volume number 16
Issue number 1
Start page 70
End page 82
Total pages 13
Publisher Distance Education Association of New Zealand
Place of publication Lower Hutt, New Zealand
Publication date 2012-04
ISSN 1179-7665
1179-7673
Keyword(s) online learning
distance education
online learning environment
Summary  While a growing number of higher education institutions are providing online modes of study for both on- and off-campus students, there are very real differences in demography, technology experiences, reasons for study, etc. between on- and off-campus students, and research into engagement with online learning environments (OLEs) indicate differences in the way that on- and off-campus students interact with OLEs. In Australia, Deakin University is a major provider of distance and online education, and provides a case study of a higher education institution with a mature and large-scale OLE implementation providing support to both on- and off-campus students. Deakin Studies Online (DSO) is Deakin University’s OLE. Based on a representative sample of 1322 responses to the 2011 DSO evaluation survey, this paper presents a large-scale, up-to-date and fine-grained investigation of impact of mode of study on the student experience of using an OLE. It was found that the primary place of access to DSO for both groups was home, mobile access to DSO seems likely to be of growing importance to both groups, and there was no statistically significant difference in the mean satisfaction ratings between on- and off-campus students for virtually all DSO functions. Off-campus students gave significantly higher mean ratings of importance (though not satisfaction) to a range of DSO functions that could be viewed as ‘value adders’ by off-campus students, enhancing their overall learning experience. For more than half of the DSO functions surveyed, on-campus students reported statistically significant higher mean frequency of access than off-campus students. The finding that elements of the institutional OLE are not universally perceived and used the same way by all students groups challenges the value of standard, one-size-fits-all institutional policies and templates relating to the use of OLEs.
Language eng
Field of Research 130306 Educational Technology and Computing
Socio Economic Objective 930501 Education and Training Systems Policies and Development
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
HERDC collection year 2011
Copyright notice ©2012, Creative Commons
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30044395

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Created: Fri, 13 Apr 2012, 08:01:41 EST by Stuart Palmer

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.