Supporting Distance Learners: Making Practice More Effective


  • Keryn Pratt University of Otago College of Education



distance learning, support, motivation, PaMS, expectations


This paper reports on a qualitative evaluation of the postgraduate courses offered by distance in one university department. The types and amount of support provided to students was evaluated and compared with Simpson’s (2008a) Proactive Motivational Support model (PaMS). While students were largely satisfied with the support they received during their studies, their perceptions of the levels and effectiveness of that support varied. They also perceived a variation in the levels of support between individual courses. A number of areas where support could be improved were identified, including those that met the characteristics of the PaMS model.

Author Biography

Keryn Pratt, University of Otago College of Education

Keryn is a senior lecturer and the postgraduate and distance coordinator (Education Studies) at the University of Otago College of Education, New Zealand. She teaches mostly online, in the areas of ICT in education and quantitative research methods. Her research interests include all aspects of ICT in education, but she has a particular interest in distance learning at both tertiary and compulsory schooling levels.