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Title: Looking From The Outside In: The Issue of Equal Access to Computer-Mediated Learning by Distance Learners in Higher Education
Contributor(s): Willems, Julie Anne (author); Harman, Kay  (supervisor); Meek, Lynn (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2004
Copyright Date: 2004
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: This study examines the experience of distance learners, particularly those who fit into different equity groups, with online learning in higher education. Cyber education is no longer the realm of science fiction. Instead, the use of computer technology has now become an integral part of learning in the modern university. Computer-mediated communication (CMC) - it is hoped - will extend opportunities for learning outside the preexisting parameters of distance education and enhance the learning opportunities and outcomes for all students within these courses. Whilst there are many potentials for the new technology, the implementation of CMC in distance education, however, may assume that students will possess a pre-existing practical knowledge of computer technology. It also may assume equality of students in terms of access, competency, and opportunity. However, not all students have had the opportunity, the desire, or even the confidence to gain access to this medium. Often factors such as little or no income, geographical isolation, gender, time constraints, age, cultural background and disabilities compound to separate distance learners from the very technology that has the capabilities to provide them with greater opportunities in tertiary education. This study, conducted over a five-year period from 1998 to 2003, spans a time of rapid change in tertiary institutions in Australia, from the initial incorporation to the now widespread utilisation of computer-mediated technology in distance learning, the so-called 'third-generation' of distance learning. The aim of the study has been to explore the lived reality of a select group of 35 distance education students through their experiences with CMC.
Publication Type: Thesis Masters Research
Rights Statement: Copyright 2004 - Julie Anne Willems
HERDC Category Description: T1 Thesis - Masters Degree by Research
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