oa Alternation - The challenge of diversity: participation rates in a flexible learner support programme

Volume 12, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



The present study reports the results of an investigation into the rates of participation among English first and second-language students in the different components of learner support system in the first-year Psychology programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, which has been designed to provide a hybrid mixed-mode offering, in which tutors play a crucial mediational role interacting with students to combine the flexibility of open learning and the essential learner support structures more typical of face-to-face delivery systems. The research results show that the differentiation of learner support offerings in an open system has been substantially effective in response to the challenge of diversity, that students who would ordinarily perhaps have remained anonymous in a large class or even in workshop sessions, developed strong relationships with tutors, and that it is imperative that the focus remains on developing students' autonomous academic engagement as opposed to setting up relationships of dependency between tutors and students.

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