UBC Theses and Dissertations
Increasing persistence in Indonesian post-secondary distance education Belawati, Tian
This study concerns student persistence in post-secondary distance education within the Indonesian context. The primary intent was to test the effectiveness of several interventions designed to increase student persistence at the Indonesian Open University (Universitas Terbuka--UT). Based on the cultural, educational, institutional, and students' backgrounds, the study proposed several possible institutional interventions to increase UT's student persistence. The proposed interventions include: (1) provision of a transition stage for students to gradually learn, adapt to and adopt the unfamiliar independent learning system, and (2) enhancement of the academic system's openness to address students' conflicts in time and resources. The effectiveness of some transition stage interventions was tested through a field experiment involving 1102 newly enrolled students in September 1993. The tested interventions were five increasingly detailed sets of written contacts containing information, reminders, encouragements, a brochure about independent learning strategies, and a list of peers' names and addresses. Persistence was measured by the rates of self-test submission, the rates of examination attendance, and re-registration rates in the second semester immediately following the first semester. The results show that the interventions did not significantly increase student persistence. Variables such as number of courses and employment status seem to influence persistence slightly more than the interventions. The results further show that students who submitted higher percentages of self-tests, wrote higher rates of examinations, and were somewhat more likely to re-register in their immediate second semester. Placing these results with in the context from which the interventions were derived, it seems that the interventions may have only been tinkering at the margin of an already problematic distance education system in Indonesia. Lack of persistence at UT may be related to aspects of the distance education model that were not adequately "adopted" such as feedback and counselling. The interventions may not have sufficiently accommodated students' accustomed need for direct guidance. Based on the findings, eight recommendations with regard to UT's registration/administration, tuition, instruction, evaluation/examination, and communication policies and systems were proposed. The recommendations address students' needs for institutional support systems and their conflicts for time and resources.
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