. Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide. An abstract is required. As may be inferred from Phipps and Merisotis’ (1999) argument, online education is an opportunities’ equaliser to the extent that it offers prospective learners from the four corners of the globe the chance to study in and graduate from reputable universities of their choice, eliminating time and space constraints and challenges because it takes the educational environment to the learner and allows the former to design his/her educational programme around his/her time. .
Online education has the potential to be an education opportunities’ equaliser but, in practical terms, it has not realised that potential yet. This statement is borne out by Gilbert’s (2001) contention that available statistics indicate that the non-completion, drop-out and inactivity rates for online graduate learners is almost double that of traditional learners. In specific reference to Athabasca University (AU), Crawford (2000) cites high non-completion and inactivity rates, noting that from 1994 to 2000, 85 of the 423 enrolled students have withdrawn from online programmes for various reasons. The implication here is clear, online learning has not reached its full potential.
Following from the premise that online learning has not attained its potential, as evidenced in high withdrawal and non-completion rates, this research shall present a proposal for the establishment of a student support system as would positively contribute to higher student retention rates. Pending the contextualisation of the online learning environment to which this proposal is directed and clarification of online delivery modes and models, the research will propose a tutoring and student support strategy whose primary objective is the reduction of inactivity and non-completion rates, thereby contributing to e-learning’s eventual realisation of its potential to function as an educational opportunities’ equaliser.
The research will focus on the international e-learners, as in students who have enrolled in a university which is located in a country other than that of their residence or nationality. .