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Learning at a Distance: Engaged or Not?
Posted on 11 May 2012 by Shahril Effendi Bin Ibrahim (Senior Librarian)
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Pu-Shih Daniel Chen
George Kuh
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Distance learning is the fastest growing segment of postsecondary education. Almost 3 million students took at least one online course in fall 2005, an increase of more than 800,000 over the previous year (Allen and Seaman 2006). At the same time, questions persist about the quality of online learning. In one recent study, about two-fifths of senior academic officers at U.S. degree-granting higher education institutions expressed a belief that distance learning is inferior to face-to-face learning (Allen and Seaman 2006). Although some studies show that distance education learners benefit from their experiences to the same degree as campus-based learners (Dutton, Dutton, and Perry 2002; Neuhauser 2002), most of the work demonstrating positive outcomes in distance learning has focused on older students, who are often more motivated and have the self-discipline to manage effectively the unstructured nature of the distance learning environment (Dibiase 2000; Hardy and Boaz 1997). (Introduction by author)

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