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On-line distance education courses as a system : evaluating how they support student learning
The growing emphasis in higher education on distance, on-line course delivery was a starting point for this investigation. Most recently the focus in this area has been on interactions as central to student learning in this environment. This research study is focused on the on-line delivery course as a system including: how students make choices about interactions with feedback, formative assessment tools, summative assessment tasks, and course materials; the roles of tutors and students in feedback creation and use; and perceptions of students of their role in their own learning in distance education. The purpose of the investigation was to develop, trial and evaluate a framework to be used to evaluate distance education course delivery. The framework draws on assessment theory, socio-cultural theory and on-line learning research literature. A mixed methods approach was employed with two clear parts to the research design: 1. A review of the existing literature to construct a framework; 2. Pilot data gathered through the application of the framework to a new, on-line distance Bachelor of Education course at a regional Queensland university. Amongst other findings, the study shows that students’ perceptions of themselves as learners will determine how they interact with the course.