open education; distance learning; technology in the classroom
The authors studied a course in which an instructor allowed individuals at a distance to participate. These students, though not formally enrolled in the university where the class took place, were given full access to all course materials and were encouraged to complete course assignments. The authors examined the time and technical proficiency required to involve learners at a distance. These learners were surveyed to determine how they perceived the course. Their work in the course was also examined. Learners at a distance reported receiving some benefit from the course, particularly in terms of learner-content interaction. Students in the face-to-face classroom were surveyed as to whether students participating at a distance affected their perception of the course and said there was no impact. The implications and limitations of these results are discussed.