Going outside the box: skills development, cultural change and the use of on-line resources.
Computers and Education, 47(3) pp. 316–331.
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Using an academic library has always been a crucial part of studying in higher education, but this has presented problems for independent learners taking distance education courses. In the past, Open University (UKOU) students received almost everything needed to successfully complete any course. Nowadays, growth in Internet use enables learners to go 'outside the box' to locate resources that might be relevant for their studies. Although such resources are increasingly being included as components of UKOU courses, the extent to which students use them varies enormously between courses. Data from a large-scale survey is examined and a number of explanatory factors are considered in an attempt to account for this variability. It is argued that students' use of on-line 'external' resources is closely related to the pedagogic design of courses and to assessment requirements, not merely to the increased availability of information sources on the World Wide Web.
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