Skip to main content
Contribution to Book
Widening student access through online discussion
Access and equity: Challenges for open and distance learning (2002)
  • Leah A. Nillas
In the University of Philippines Open University (UPOU), the student is at the centre of the teaching and learning process. Importance is given to providing and improving services for students to further widen student access to quality education. Thus, quality student support system is ensured. For UPOU, student support means assistance on registration, holding of course orientation and monthly tutorial, counselling, and consultation. Students attend monthly tutorial which can either be face-ta-face or teletutorial. However, during the course of study, there are questions and concerns that require immediate response. Students clamour for a regular and more frequent contact with the tutor. Also, as an alternative, students   who cannot meet face to face are more likely to participate in an online discussion through e-mail or the Internet.  As any as 52 percent of UPOU students admitted in 2001 live in places where there is either no learning centre or a learning  entre exists but their programmes are not offered. Thus, the use of the online discussion was seen appropriate for this demand. With this technology, distance education students are given wider access to their education by bridging the gap or time, space, and distance. Wider access includes flexibility in location, scheduling, and delivery of courses (Paist, 1995). This implies that distance education institutions, like UPOU, must stay abreast with development of technology to improve student support services.
  • distance education,
  • online discussion,
  • student support
Publication Date
Summer July, 2002
H. P. Dikshit, S. Garg, S. Panda, & Vijayshri
Kogan Page
Publisher Statement
Access & equity: Challenges for Open and Distance Learning is published by Kogan Page India. For publisher information please visit Kogan Page.

For purchase information, please see
Citation Information
Leah A. Nillas. "Widening student access through online discussion" New DelhiAccess and equity: Challenges for open and distance learning (2002) p. 310 - 324
Available at: