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.
The aim of this research was to study the differences in social presence and autonomy concerning the two methods of education used in a training program for science teachers in the years 2015-2016. The first method was the traditional face to face and the other was the Distance Education method. In particular, the study focused on whether there are differences in the social presence and autonomy between the two teaching methods, and the teaching experience of the participants. A closed-type questionnaire of Likert type was used to collect the data, while t-test for independent samples was used for statistical analysis. The study indicated differences in the social presence and autonomy between the two methods of teaching.
The development of technology and the widespread application of digital tools, such as teleconference (or videoconference), has led researchers to reflect on traditional theories and models of learning concerning Distance Education, as well as the formulation of new ones. The aim of this study is to propose the introduction of the concept tele-mathesis in Distance Learning, in order to describe the learning process by videoconferencing in Distance Education, which has features of an “embodied” and “integrated” way of learning. This is a theoretical study based on Illeris’ Theory of “Integrated” Learning that has been adopted in Distance Learning, using elements of the Theory of Tele-proximity concerning learning by videoconferencing in Distance Education. According to the developed argumentation the importance of the senses, emotions and “techniques of the body” is revealed in both the educational and learning process by videoconferencing, in order to reduce the transactional distance between the teacher and the learner, as well as, to lead to a positive distance educational experience. Thus, the cognitive, emotional and social factors involved in “tele-mathesis”, turn videoconferencing into an “embodied” and “integrated” way of learning. At the same time, it is showed that the empowerment of “tele-mathesis” requires appropriate planning and specific management methods. It is therefore proposed to introduce the term telemathesis in Distance Education so as to fully attribute this specific learning process of Distance Education.