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Equal or equitable? The role of flexibility within online education

Stone, CM, Freeman, E ORCID: 0000-0002-3062-7475, Dyment, J ORCID: 0000-0002-7960-5971, Muir, T and Milthorpe, N ORCID: 0000-0002-3869-252X 2019 , 'Equal or equitable? The role of flexibility within online education' , Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, vol. 29, no. 2 , pp. 26-40 .

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Abstract

Online study is generally associated with the terms flexible and flexibility. Many students choose to study online specifically for the flexibility that is offered, hoping they can combine their studies with multiple other responsibilities in their lives. For students living in regional and rural areas, such flexibility can be even more important, given the additional difficulties they face in accessing campus facilities. While a flexible learning environment has the potential to contribute positively towards equity in higher education, this equity can be compromised when university policies and processes that have been designed for on-campus students are applied equally to online students. This paper examines the experiences of a group of regional and rural Education students who have chosen to study online, to a large extent because of online learning’s promised flexibility. Their experiences demonstrate that equal treatment may in fact undermine flexibility and result in an inequitable student experience.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Stone, CM and Freeman, E and Dyment, J and Muir, T and Milthorpe, N
Keywords: assessment policies; equity in higher education; flexible delivery; online initial teacher education; online education, regional, rural and remote students, mature-age students
Journal or Publication Title: Australian and International Journal of Rural Education
Publisher: Society for the Provision of Education in Rural Australia
ISSN: 1839-7387
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 Australian and International Journal of Rural Education

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