Supporting Students by Telephone: A Technology for the Future of Student Support?

Anne Gaskell ( and Roger Mills (
The Open University in the East of England, Cintra House,12 Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 1PF, UK
This paper was shortlisted for the 'Best paper award' at the
Third EDEN Research Workshop, Oldenburg, Germany, 2004


Student support by telephone has a long tradition in open and distance learning, but most recent research and discussion has concentrated on support by electronic means. Some recent findings however provide evidence that the telephone is still a particularly effective medium for student support. Four types of telephone contact are discussed which indicate that the appropriate and timely use of telephones can aid student retention, provide excellent opportunities for dialogue and is perceived as particularly encouraging by students. The use of the increasingly common mobile phone for student contact, particularly in countries without reliable landlines, also has huge potential; and textmessaging can be used by both institutions and tutors to support students.

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e-learning, distance learning, distance education, online learning, higher education, DE, blended learning, MOOCs, ICT, information and communication technology, collaborative learning, internet, interaction, learning management system, LMS,

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