1960s) a correspondence tutor for students taking undergraduate psychology

Studies show that increased spending on education leads to improved student achievement, particularly among low-income students. Yet even as public school enrollment has risen by almost 3 percent and state budgets have tightened, federal funding for elementary and secondary education has just returned to 2008 levels and accounts for only 2 percent of all federal expenditures. In 2007, the Great Recession began, the largest US economic downturn since the Great Depression. A study done by the Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis found that during this 18-month-long recession, student math and English language arts achievement was dramatically reduced. Both state and local revenues saw a 5 percent decrease in revenue, leading to school funding cuts and a decrease in student outcomes specifically in these areas.

I was once (mid-1960s) a correspondence tutor for students taking undergraduate psychology courses in the External Programme. In those days, the university would publish a curriculum and provide a reading list. Students paid tutors such as myself to help them with their studies. I would find old exam papers for the course, and set questions for individual students, and they would send me their answers and I would mark them. Many students were in British Commonwealth countries and it could take weeks after students sent in their essays before my feedback eventually got back to them. Not surprisingly, in those days completion rates in the programme were very low.

It is within the theoretical framework of knowledge construction and expert systems that some of the most promising research on mediated learning appears (Barrett, 1992; Harasim, 1993; Salomon, 1993). Open schedule and blended learning courses were the two preferred formats stated by the participants. The reason that Open schedule is the most popular may be that it provides more freedom than other types of courses. Blended learning offers the familiar face-to-face instruction and some of the conveniences of DE which may be why participants are interested in this model.


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