Who Graduates From Irish Distance University Education?

  • 1 Open Education Unit, National Institute for Digital Learning, Dublin City University, Ireland

Abstract

This paper outlines results from an online survey of recent distance graduates. The study, based in Dublin City University (DCU) addresses a gap in the research on this cohort of graduates. Findings indicate that distance graduates are primarily from lower socio economic backgrounds, a group largely under-represented in full-time university education. Significantly, 30% of survey respondents came from a skilled manual background. A large percentage (39% N = 61) of graduates had never accessed any form of higher education before. An equally large percentage (N = 62) had accessed full-time higher education previously, but at a lower level than the honours primary degree they obtained through distance learning. Implications regarding the role of distance education in improving access to university education and social mobility are discussed. Finally, this paper seeks to establish relevance between knowledge of distance graduates and doing things better for first time distance learners.

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