Distance learning is becoming an increasingly popular way of studying, and most universities now provide courses using these methods. Today's students, though, are demanding high quality, consumer-focused and flexible courses, as well as learning resources and active learner support. This means that providers of distance education need to reconsider key issues about their learner support systems, ensuring that this is delivered appropriately and effectively.
Considering the changing needs and demands of distance education students, this book draws together contributions from the UK, USA, Hong Kong, Australia, Japan, South Africa and Botswana, to offer an international perspective on:
* the challenges and opportunities of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
* quality assurance, commercialisation and the learner as consumer
* the impact on learners of cultural differences on internationalised curricula
* the implications for learner support of a wider range of learners
This book should be read by all those involved in developing and delivering distance education courses.
Alan Tait is a Senior Lecturer and Sub Dean in the Faculty of Education and Language Studies at the Open University UK. Roger Mills is the Regional Director of the Open University in the East of England.
1. Constructivism or Confucianism? We have the technology, now what shall we do with it? 2. Exploring informal student study groups in a South African teacher education programme 3. Supporting the masses? Learner perceptions of a South African ODL programme 4. Addressing the learning skills of students at a distance: a dual medium approach 5. Supporting the student in new teaching and learning environments 6. The importance of the tutor in open and distance Learning 7. Remembering our common work: institutional support for open learning 8. On-line learning and supporting students: new possibilities 9. The centrality of learner support in open and distance learning: a paradigm shift in thinking 10. Distance higher education and library services in Japan 11. Changing entrenched learner support systems: vision and reality 12. Lost and found: open learning outside the doors of the academe 13. Challenges in adjusting to new technology in supporting learners in developing countries 14. Delivering learner support on-line: Does the medium affect the message? 15. Rethinking learner support in the Open University UK: a case study 16. Collaborative on-line learning: transforming learner support and course design