Insights for future assessment policy: Open access online higher education

August 13, 2017

This research offers recommendations for higher education online assessment policy and procedure design, which should improve learner satisfaction and help to reduce online student attrition. The study involves over 200 qualitative interviews to identify the main driver of student attrition in open access online tertiary education in Australia. The extent to which degree programme assessment policies take into account this main attrition driver is then established by reviewing institutional online assessment policy documents. Our findings show that students are more likely to withdraw from studies due to employment rather than a medical condition, or indeed any other reason. However, assessment policies do not take into consideration employment related factors when considering extenuating circumstances for not completing assessments in a timely manner. In this regard open access online tertiary education is not offering the flexibility and convenience that many institutions promote as being offered to online learners. This finding highlights a broader issue in that most providers have merely adapted their policies and procedures from on-campus equivalent courses and are not effectively accommodating the needs and demands of their online students.

Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning