Understanding the 'Electronic' Student: Analysis of Functional Requirements for Distributed Education

Linda Carswell, Pete Thomas, Marian Petre, Blaine Price, Mike Richards


This paper describes how the Open University, as a large distance education institution, has used the Internet to transform the learning environment for distance students. We review the process involved in understanding the requirements of distance education students and how they can be supported via the Internet. We describe the tools developed in our Internet-based implementation and how they address the needs of geographically remote learners: electronic student registration, electronic assignment handling, electronic tutorial sessions, and electronic examinations. The paper reflects on the impact of this implementation and the gains in using the Internet for global distance learners, realised in flexible study practices and efficient communiqués.


Internet Distance Education,Virtual Campus,Distance Learning,Distance Teaching,Electronic Student

Full Text:



Adamson-Macedo, C., PCs, the Bandwidth Revolution and Engineering Curricula. IEE Computing and Control Engineering Journal, Vol. 7, No 3, pp. 129-135, 1996.

Steeples, C., Unsworth, C.,Bryson, M., Goodyear, P., Riding, P., Fowell, S., Levy, P., Duffy, C., Technological Support for Teaching and Learning: Computer-Mediated Communications in Higher Education (CMC in HE), Computer & Education 26(1-3): 71-80, 1996.

Reinhardt, A., New Ways to Learn. Byte, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 55-71, 1995.

Skillicorn, D.B., Using Distributed Hypermedia for Collaborative Learning in Universities. Computer Journal, Vol. 36, No 6, pp. 471-482, 1996.

Thomas, P., Carswell, L., Emms, J., Petre, M., Poniatowska, B., Price, B., Distance Education Over the Internet. ACM SIGCSE/SIGCUE Proceedings, SIGCSE/SIGCUE Conference on Introducing Technology into Computer Science Education, Barcelona, ITiCSE ‘96, 1996.

Carswell, L., The "Virtual University": Toward an Internet Paradigm? Changing the Delivery of Computer Science Education, ACM SIGCSE/SIGCUE Proceedings, Dublin, Ireland, ITiCSE '98, 1998.

Jones, D., Computing by Distance Education, ACM SIGCSE Bulletin

Special Issue), 28, pp. 139-146, 1996.

Owen, G.S., Integrating World Wide Web Technology into Undergraduate Education ACM SIGCSE Bulletin (Special Issue), 28, pp. 101-103 , 1996.

Pitt, M., The Use of Electronic Mail in Undergraduate Teaching. British Journal of Educational Technology, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 45-50,1996.

Rounder, D., Educational Technology in Curriculum Development. 2nd ed., Harper & Row, 1982.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v3i1.1922

Copyright (c) 2019 Linda Carswell, Pete Thomas, Marian Petre, Blaine Price, Mike Richards