Greener Journal of Educational Research

Excellence and Timeliness


Choose Language


Greener Journal of  Educational Research Vol. 5(1), pp. 009-016January 2015

 ISSN: 2276-7789 

Review Paper

Manuscript Number: 012315019



Making it happen with distance education: Critical concerns for student support services in Open and Distance Learning


Miriam Chitura


Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, The Zimbabwe Open University, (ZOU), Box MP 1119 Mount Pleasant, Harare.

E-mail: miriamchitura @yahoo. com


All correspondence to:  Miriam Chitura

22 Houghton Park Road, Waterfalls Harare. Cell: 0772 383 402


The journey through ODL is not an easy task. Dropout rate continues to escalate in most ODL programmes, with only the determined students making it to the end. It is imperative that ODL institutions put in place effective support systems for students to fall back on. ODL students are faced with a lot of emotional and psychological obstacles as they navigate through their educational journey.

For e-learning, transactional distance is ‘the distance between teachers and learners’.  Both tutors and students experience a sense of separation that is caused by more than simple physical distance. This distance is psychological. There is also a communication gap, a space of potential misunderstanding between the inputs of instructor and those of the learner.  This is created, in part, by the physical distance. Students may feel isolated or disconnected. This results in reduced motivation, reduced engagement that may result in high attrition. When offering Mathematics and Statistics programme by distance, one needs to consider factors that affect the transactional distance. i.e. structure and dialogue.

In this regard, students need the right tools, guidance and support. The authors here make an analysis of the registration process onto the Mathematics and Statistics program by DE, look at the professional and technical support the students receive as they navigate through their journey. Other variables such as the factors contributing to high dropout rates, various delivery modes and impact on the pass rates are also presented. The paper aims to develop a student support package for those undertaking BSc Mathematics and Statistics programs.

It is hoped that the study will be extended to other programmes in the faculty and maybe to all universities that conduct Mathematics and Statistics programmes by ODL.


Keywords: dropout rate, support systems for students, psychological obstacles, reduced motivation.


Modesto, S. T. Tichapondwa and Tau, D. R. (2009): Introducing Distance Education.VUSSC & BOCODOL.


Nachmias, D. Nachmias, C. (1976) Research Methods in the Social Sciences; New York, N.Y. 10010.


Pym F.R (1992) Women and distance education: a nursing perspective Journal of Advanced Nursing 17 383 – 389.


Thorpe, M. (1993) Evaluating Open and Distance Learning.


Longman Group.  Redwood Books, Trowbridge, Wiltshire.Willis, B. (1986) Distance Education: A practice guide, New Jersey, Englewood cliffs.

Call for Papers/Books

Call for Scholarly Articles

Authors from around the world are invited to send scholary articles that suits the scope of this journal. The journal is currently open to submissions and will process and publish articles in a timely fashion.

The journal is centered on quality and goes about its processes in a very timely fashion. Seasoned editors/reviewers will be consulted to review each article(s), profer quality evaluations and polish the articles with expertise before publication.

Simply send your article(s) as an e-mail attachment to or

Call for Books

You are also invited to submit your books for online or print publication. We publish books related to all academic subject areas. Submit as an e-mail attachment to


Login Form

Other Journals