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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Distance not Distant: Experience of Support Mechanisms for Independent Distance Learning Students

Bell, Deborah and Ross, Dionne (2022) Distance not Distant: Experience of Support Mechanisms for Independent Distance Learning Students. In: Edulearn 2022, July 2022, Palma. (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


Distance not Distant – An Exploration of Experiences of Personal Academic Tutors for Independent Distance Learning Trainee Teachers

This paper follows the case study completed by the authors in 2021 examining the range of support mechanisms behind a successful distance learning programme at a Post 92 university in the North East of England. This subsequent research uses focus groups to explore the perceptions of students on the role of personal academic tutors from their experiences. The term 'distance education' is used to describe education delivered to distant or remote locations “via print, audio, video (live or pre-recorded) and/or computer technologies, including both synchronous and asynchronous instruction” (Cain et al. 2003, p. 42). The phrase distance not distant depicts the level of support which the university team strive to provide to trainees entering the teaching profession. Working in over 65 countries two PGCE courses welcome students from diverse cultural backgrounds who benefit from the support services dedicated to their success.
The previous study explored the experiences of the students and their views of the support that they received whilst being a student on an independent distance learning programme in preparation for entering the teaching profession. The results reinforced the earlier findings from a study by the authors in 2016. Within the 2016 study interviews were conducted with students and the level of support from fellow students was the main reason for students opting to study at the university which was the focus for the research. The research in 2021 highlighted that the students found the role of their personal academic tutors as instrumental in the support whilst studying the programme. The participants recognised the role programme leaders and module leaders had, however it was the role of their personal tutors that was invaluable.
This paper will discuss the findings from the focus groups and explores in greater depth the views of students specifically on the role of their personal academic tutors.

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More Information

Depositing User: Deborah Bell


Item ID: 15830

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Deborah Bell: ORCID iD
ORCID for Dionne Ross: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2023 12:05
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2023 12:05


Author: Deborah Bell ORCID iD
Author: Dionne Ross ORCID iD

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society > School of Education


Education > Higher Education

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