Evaluating the quality of student support services at the University of Namibia's Centre for External Studies.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Namibian Open Learning Network Trust (NOLNet).


Distance education and open and flexible learning policies have done much to extend accessibility to higher education throughout Namibia. However, open and distance learning is not just a move away from learning in the classroom. It is a complete paradigm shift and when delivering learning materials outside the classroom, across any distance, it is important that technologies and techniques support students. Against this background, this paper reports on a research project concerned with various issues related to student support services in the University of Namibia’s distance education system. Evaluation and student opinion are important sources of information needed to identify strengths and weaknesses in a support system, and areas where improvements need to be made. This paper specifically summarises recent data on the evaluation of student support services provided to distance education students at the northern campus of the University of Namibia. The results of the study have provided evidence that adult distance education students expect and indeed value the provision of student support services. Specifically, students in this study placed the greatest importance on student support services related to getting started with their studies, for example orientation sessions about available student support services; contact and communication with tutors and fellow students by means of vacation schools, face-to-face tutorials on Saturdays at regional centres and support through tutor-marked assignments and study groups. The research further found that students expected specific guidance and support from tutors within a largely directive framework. From student data, their expectations, analysis and review of different teaching and learning models in distance education, and extrapolating from personal experience, the author suggests a model of support services for distance education students. The paper concludes with recommendations and implications for institutional policy and the crucial role of management in the establishment of an effective student support model to facilitate open and distance learning.


NOLNet Open and Distance Learning Conference (1st : 2005 Aug. 30 - Sep. 1 : Windhoek, Namibia)


NOLNet Open and Distance Learning Conference, 1st, 2005, Windhoek, Student services – Namibia, Distance learning - Namibia, Open and Distance Learning Conference, Nolnet, 1st, 2005, Windhoek, Conferences and workshops, University of Namibia - Distance learning, University of Namibia - Student services


Möwes, D. (2005). Evaluating the quality of student support services at the University of Namibia’s Centre for External Studies.