Digital Education Resource Archive (DERA)

Enhancing the effectiveness of student feedback and support in a distance learning context

Kynch, Chris, ESCalate (Education Subject Centre of the Higher Education Academy), corp creator. (2002) Enhancing the effectiveness of student feedback and support in a distance learning context.

Volume/Part: Final report - Published Version
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Volume/Part: Blended learning (draft report) - Published Version
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This is an ESCalate development project led by Chris Kynch of St Martins College and completed in 2002. Distance learning is seen as a popular flexible solution to learning while maintaining a job and other commitments. Nevertheless the drop out rate is typically high. One view is that only highly self motivated students succeed. Another is that students may acclimatise to distance learning. Support and feedback could be important in this process, and especially salient for school placements. Understanding the nature of feedback and support and its impact on students has been identified as the key issue to be taken forward by this research project. The project was initiated by a team who are responsible for an innovative modular flexible distance learning course leading initially to the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). The course has proved increasingly popular with students and, perhaps because it was innovative, generated interest from the media and the TTA as well as other educational institutions. Although successful courses leading to qualified teacher status for Secondary school teachers have long been offered by the Open University, primary courses have proved more challenging, and notably an Ofsted report led to programme closure. Because of the success of the Secondary courses, it is clearly possible to assure the quality of school placements. However there are distinctive challenges for smaller schools, schools which are geographically distant from the higher education provider, and schools which are thinly spread over remote rural areas. One or more of these characteristics tend to be typical of primary schools. One of the reasons for the successful launch, from Ambleside, of the distance learning course which was studied by the research project, was the innovative approaches of the college to ensure consistent, high quality primary school placements for student teachers in small, geographically dispersed schools which are typical of North Lancashire and Cumbria. The research project worked with the earliest cohorts, so that students experienced rapid developments in the shape, design and delivery of the programme and constituent parts, and also the very fast learning curve of tutors and programme leaders as they engaged with the emerging challenges of 'blended learning' at a distance. The interviews, especially of students from the first cohort, reflect this formation stage, and how at the start the programme was engaging with both distance and technology mediated learning. The experience of developing the course and the early challenges is likely to be of interest to others who are embarking 'from scratch' in this field. However, distance learning and technology mediated learning may take many forms, making it difficult to draw comparisons between different courses and contexts. It includes an interim and final project report.

Item Type: Document from Web
Publisher: ESCalate
Uncontrolled Keywords: Distance learning,Distance students ,Student retention
Depositing User: escalate
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2011 10:16
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2012 08:21
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