Planning Student Support in Open and Distance Learning in the U.K.
PCF1 // This paper aims to identify the principles of planning for the development and management of student support services in Open and Distance Learning (ODL). It is intended that a robust but flexible framework of ideas will be developed, which will provide a basis for work in an international context in a range of different societies and educational systems. // First of all it is necessary to identify what is meant by student support services in ODL. By these are meant the range of services for individuals and students in groups which complement the course materials that are uniform for all learners, and which are often perceived as the major offering of ODL institutions. The function of student support services is to mediate the standard and uniform elements of course materials and other administrative services, primarily through recognising differentiated learner needs. Support services for students may typically include enquiry, advice and admission services, tutorial and counselling services, study and examination centres, and elements of continuous assessment and individualised correspondence teaching.. The division of labour between standard elements and student support services remains true irrespective of medium, e.g. whether core media are print and face to face, or the new generation of ODL of computer mediated conferencing (CMC). It is true however that CMC presents enormous opportunities to rethink student support in ways that are not yet well understood, in particular with regard to time and place. //