This is the author's final draft. The publisher is Taylor and Francis and their website is http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/0309877X.aspThe apparent absence of learners from the spaces and times of the institution is usually seen as a negative element of distance learning, positioning distance learners as other to the "norm" of the present, on-campus, traditional student. This paper explores the narratives of a group of distance learners, highlighting that these learners primarily see being outside the spaces and times of the university as an opportunity. Rather than creating a sense of otherness, it is regarded as giving a sense of control, allowing space and time in which to take up their studies alongside demanding jobs and caring roles
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