Reflections on student support in open and distance learning

Tait, Alan (2003). Reflections on student support in open and distance learning. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 4(1)



This is a very interesting moment to reflect on Student Support in Open and Distance Learning (ODL). After some 10 years of the radical intrusion of a range of technologies, principally those grouped around what has been broadly termed ICT, we have the chance to see if and how the world of ODL has qualitatively changed. To begin with a historical perspective on the European context, as is well known correspondence education is said to have begun in England in 1844 with Isaac Pitman's shorthand course delivered by correspondence, using the new postal system, enabled in its turn by the rail system that was beginning to make travel and communication across England quicker than ever before (Shrestha, 1997). The crucial dimension of Pitman's system was that he corrected students' work and sent it back to them. Thus although separated from the teacher, students received feedback, together we can at least imagine with encouragement from their tutor.

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