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Developing Student Support for Open and Distance Learning: The EMPOWER Project


Journal of Interactive Media in Education Volume 2018, Number 1,


European universities face great challenges dealing with twenty-first century world changes. Deep transformations are required to a wide range of life-long learning scenarios, which are replacing traditional modes of university study and giving access to students in more flexible ways. To address the transformation in learning, the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU) launched the EMPOWER project in 2015 so that the EADTU could share expertise of distance education universities in the field. The EMPOWER project is organised in 12 areas. One is student support, as the central area for students' success. The project's goal is to empower students to become life-long, self-directed learners in open, online and blended-learning environments. The plan was to increase student retention and enhance academic performance, integration and satisfaction. This article summarises the work that has been done during the past two years to offer different tools and resources, such as webinars and reports. These can help institutions and academics in their understanding of what underlies student engagement and motivation versus student drop-out. We aim to share expertise about how effective, or not, technology has been for developing innovative, advanced and quality student support services to large and small groups of students. It is too early to judge the success of the student support group of the EMPOWER project. This paper looks at what has been achieved so far. In particular it outlines the reasons for focusing on the problem of student drop-out and how student support may help to ameliorate the problem.


Sánchez-Elvira Paniagua, A. & Simpson, O. (2018). Developing Student Support for Open and Distance Learning: The EMPOWER Project. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2018(1),. Retrieved September 22, 2019 from .

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