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ERIC Number: EJ1079904
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1179-7665
Understanding the Context of Distance Students: Differences in On- and Off-Campus Engagement with an Online Learning Environment
Palmer, Stuart
Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning, v16 n1 p70-82 2012
While a growing number of higher education institutions are providing online modes of study for both on- and off-campus students, do the differences in demography, technology experiences and reasons for study between on- and off-campus students mean that they interact differently with online learning environments (OLEs)? Australia's Deakin University is a major provider of distance and online education that 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 the 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", 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 student groups challenges the value of standard, "one-size-fits-all" institutional policies and templates relating to the use of OLEs.
DEANZ: New Zealand Association for Open, Flexible and Distance Learning. Open Polytechnic, 3 Cleary Street Private Bag 31914, Lower Hutt 5040, New Zealand. Tel: +64-3-345-8246; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A