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Flexibility and access: implications of blended learning for higher education

By Joseph Mintz

Abstract

Many institutions are developing policies aimed at widening participation and encouraging students from non-traditional backgrounds to engage in Higher Education. A number of studies have noted the potential benefits possible in this context through the use of online learning as part of overall blended approaches, to offer students flexibility in when and where they engage with study materials. Little research, however, has been undertaken in to whether students with significant levels of home commitment find such flexibility of particular use. This paper reports on a small scale exploratory study involving a group of postgraduate students which investigated how the student’s perception of the benefits of flexibility offered by online learning related to their level of home commitment. Analysis of the data gives some initial support to the idea that students with a greater level of home commitments are more likely to view flexibility of access as being of benefit. Consideration is given to the implications of the results for balancing face to face and online component in blended approaches and proposals are made for possible more in depth studies that could provide useful information for those involved in course design in the Higher Education context

Topics: T Technology (General), L Education (General)
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:generic.eprints.org:430/core5

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