eCite Digital Repository

Equal or equitable? The role of flexibility within online education


Stone, C and Freeman, E and Dyment, J and Muir, T and Milthorpe, N, Equal or equitable? The role of flexibility within online education, Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 29, (2) pp. 26-40. ISSN 1036-0026 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 Australian and International Journal of Rural Education

Official URL:


Online study is generally associated with the terms flexible and flexibility. Many students choose to study online specifically for the flexibility that is offered, hoping they can combine their studies with multiple other responsibilities in their lives. For students living in regional and rural areas, such flexibility can be even more important, given the additional difficulties they face in accessing campus facilities. While a flexible learning environment has the potential to contribute positively towards equity in higher education, this equity can be compromised when university policies and processes that have been designed for on-campus students are applied equally to online students. This paper examines the experiences of a group of regional and rural Education students who have chosen to study online, to a large extent because of online learning’s promised flexibility. Their experiences demonstrate that equal treatment may in fact undermine flexibility and result in an inequitable student experience.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:assessment policies; equity in higher education; flexible delivery; online initial teacher education; online education, regional, rural and remote students, mature-age students
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Specialist studies in education
Research Field:Educational technology and computing
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Other education and training
Objective Field:Other education and training not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Freeman, E (Dr Elizabeth Freeman)
UTAS Author:Dyment, J (Associate Professor Janet Dyment)
UTAS Author:Muir, T (Associate Professor Tracey Muir)
UTAS Author:Milthorpe, N (Dr Naomi Milthorpe)
ID Code:134114
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2019-07-26
Last Modified:2020-02-04

Repository Staff Only: item control page