Coping in a distance environment: Sitcoms, chocolate cake and dinner with a friend

Michelle M. Kazmer


Students entering distance education programs often find themselves adapting to new learning environments and new technologies. Part of this adaptation involves coping with unfamiliar technology and learning to manage its use within the group, helping them create the environment in which they will learn. Part of it involves developing personal relationships that will ease their work and learning, helping them cope with unfamiliarity and change. Examining suggestions from distance learning students on how to cope with this process yields three-fold results. First, it demonstrates how students, instructors and administrators need to work together to ease student's paths. Second, it helps us in advising distance learning students about what they can expect from distance learning, and how they can contribute to and benefit from their distance learning community. Finally, it provides recommendations to instructors and program directors on how better to help their students cope with this community building transition and distance learning environment.

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