The History Of Distance Education Can Be Seen In Mid 1940S

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The history of distance education can be seen in mid 1940s when Sir Isaac Pittman founded a Correspondence College in England in which course material was delivered freely (Silverton, 2011). Over the years this form of education spread to other countries such as Germany, Australia and Canada until the world witnessed the establishment of the world 's first exclusively distance teaching university, the University of South Africa (UNISA) in 1946 (Tait, 2003).

Distance education can be seen as a means to satisfying the growing demand for higher education (Krishnan, 2012). The growing number of students opting for this mode of learning, places increasing pressure on distance education service providers to provide various support services
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1.4. Benefits and cost of student support services

Distance education students require cognitive, emotional and organisational skills in order to succeed in their studies. In light of these, distance education institutions provide cognitive, emotional and organisational support to distance students to support and enable the successful completion of their studies. In providing these services, the institutions bridge the gap between the students and institutions, teachers and other students (Fung & Carr,2000; Mugridge 1991). For any additional services offered by an institution there would be an expected cost analysis and an estimation of return on investment (ROI). Rendering additional student support services to distance students is an expensive exercise and an additional cost of writing and despatching course materials (Simpson 2016). Whilst the aim of providing these support services is to retain and assist students to complete their qualifcation, the cost of student support services can be offset by the increase in the number of student enrolments (Simpson, 2008).

1.5. Challenges in student supports services at distance education

Distance education institutions globally, are faced with the high dropout rate. The isolation of students from their institutions, teachers and other students is the main cause of high dropout rate according to Simpson (2016). As a result, distance education
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