This study examines the presence of transactional distance among students, the factors affecting it, as well as the way it influences the learning process of students in a blended distance learning setting in Greece. The present study involved 12 postgraduate students of the Hellenic Open University (HOU). A qualitative research was conducted, using information collected via individual semi-structured interviews. Content analysis of the gathered information provided evidence regarding the existence of student-student transactional distance for several reasons, such as geographical and relatively limited face to face interaction. The role of the tutor as well as of the course provider were also examined in this respect. Finally the study indicated that the existence of perceived transactional distance among the students has a negative effect on their learning process.
The present study aims to empirically examine the relation between learner autonomy and specific aspects of the learning process, such as student-student interaction and tutor-student interaction, in a distance learning environment in Greece. An empirical study was conducted at the Hellenic Open University (HOU) using data gathered via a four-section questionnaire, completed by 100 postgraduate students. The correlation analysis yielded a positive correlation between learner autonomy and both student-student and tutor-student interaction. In particular, the results revealed the existence of a positive correlation between all three subscales of autonomy, namely sensibility to others, ability to manage new situations and self-awareness, and student-student interaction. A significant positive correlation was also observed between selfawareness and tutor-student interaction. Moreover, the results suggested that there are no statistically significant differences of the above parameters in relation to demographic features, such as gender, age and the number of Counselling Group Sessions (CGS) in which students had participated. Yet, results suggested that there is an effect of the number of course modules attended by students on the levels of student-student interaction.
This study aims at empirically examining the relation of self-esteem and loneliness with social presence, academic performance, satisfaction with the course and intention for academic drop out, in a blended distance learning environment in Greece. The study involved both undergraduate and postgraduate students of the Hellenic Open University (HOU). Data were collected via a four-section questionnaire. The correlational data analysis yielded a negative correlation between self-esteem and intention for academic drop out, while there is a positive correlation between self-esteem and satisfaction derived from the course. Results also suggested that there is no correlation between self-esteem and academic performance. Findings also revealed that there is no statistically significant correlation between loneliness and the other variables under examination. Furthermore, the results showed that there were no statistically significant differences between the examined variables in relation to the demographic features (gender, age, etc.). The findings of the present study are discussed in relation to the relevant literature, taking into consideration the blended learning educational format offered by the HOU which is based on methodologies used in other European institutions that offer distance learning courses. Finally, recommendations for further research are presented.
The purpose of this study was to develop a valid and reliable psychometric scale to measure the perceived autonomy of postgraduate students in the Hellenic Open University and similar distance education environments. Two dimensions of autonomy, namely personal and educational, were revealed from the literature review and the preliminary study. For the evaluation of each dimension, two subscales were developed. Following two pilot studies, the initial item pool led to the development of a 25-items questionnaire, which was then administered to a sample of 239 postgraduate students. The exploratory factor analysis revealed two factors for the personal autonomy subscale, with 7 items in total, and two factors for the educational autonomy subscale, with 9 items in total. The Cronbach’s alpha coefficient ranged between. 623 and .717. A statistically significant gender difference was found only for the personal autonomy subscale and, more specifically, for the factor ‘managing difficulties’, where female respondents received a lower score than males.