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ERIC Number: EJ1160144
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1837-6290
Student Support Gaps in an Open Distance Learning Context
Arko-Achemfuor, Akwasi
Issues in Educational Research, v27 n4 p658-676 2017
Studying through distance education can be problematic for any student, but it can be worse for rural students for diverse reasons. To ensure that students studying through the open distance learning (ODL) system have an enduring learning experience, ODL builds student support as one of its components. The University of South Africa (Unisa) provides a number of student support services to its students but it appears most of the students are not able to access the services adequately. This article investigates the access challenges that students face in their ODL mode of study. A mixed-methods approach using a focus group and a set of questionnaires were applied to solicit the views and experiences of students on the challenges they face in accessing the support services the university offers. The results indicate that although most of the support services are in place, students in the rural areas are not able to access them adequately, thereby impacting adversely on their studies. This study recommends that Unisa increase its support services and train academic and support staff as well as students on using the support services available to them.
Western Australian Institute for Educational Research Inc. 5/202 Coode Street, Como, Western Australia 6152, Australia. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A