Value of online resources for learning by distance education

Siva Sivapalan, Peter Cregan

Abstract


An audit of a large regional University offering courses with an applied focus identified that in terms of learning and teaching activities, it was meeting the needs of its local region while providing support to the professions both within the State and nationally (AUQA 2004). The audit also found that in general terms, students reported very positively on their learning and teaching experiences and were appreciative of supportive teaching staff. The subject-based online discussion fora, which allow for discussion between and among students and staff, are found to be a highly positive supplement to other forms of support (AUQA 2004). Students studying by distance, in particular, find participation in the forum very useful since it lessens the sense of isolation and allows them to communicate with fellow students studying both internally and by distance. Other features of the online environment, such as online submission of assignments, are also valued by students. The University has a priority to promote an institutional climate which values and supports flexible teaching and learning practices to enhance learning (CSU 2003). This has been achieved by, among other things, development of online subject outlines and promotion of the use of the University’s Learning Resources Bank. Palaskas and Muldoon (2003) noted that the current online environment at the University is characterized by the capability to involve students in online forum discussions, deliver learning resources online and to provide online administrative services

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