Distance Education Essay

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Online education has annihilated the spatial barriers which previously constrained the ability of many to access quality higher education. Online degree programmes, currently offered at all of the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels, have, to an extent, functioned as an educational opportunities' equaliser.


Online education has the potential to be an education opportunities' equaliser but, in practical terms, it has not realised that potential yet. This statement is borne out by Gilbert's (2001) contention that available statistics indicate that the non-completion, drop-out and inactivity rates for online graduate learners is almost double that of traditional learners. In specific reference to Athabasca University (AU) , Crawford (2000) cites high non-completion and inactivity rates , noting that from 1994 to 2000, 85 of the 423 enrolled students have withdrawn from online programmes for various reasons. The implication here is clear, online learning has not reached its full potential.
Following from the premise that online learning has not attained its potential, as evidenced in high withdrawal and non-completion rates, this research shall present a proposal for the establishment of a student support system as would positively contribute to higher student retention rates. ...
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