Evaluating Quality of Students’ Support Services in Open Distance Learning

Asteria NSAMBA

Evaluating the quality of students’ support services in distance education institutions is vital because by nature Open Distance Learning (ODL) is a high-involvement service industry, with multiple student support service encounters. Most quality evaluation models tend to view quality from the institutional perspective. As a result, little is known about the determinants of service quality, which distance education students can use to evaluate the support services provided by their institutions. The aim of this study is to evaluate the quality of support services from the current users of the services. It is through students’ expectations and perceptions of their experiences that we shall understand the quality of the support services needed. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to understand distance students’ perceptions and expectations of the service received. The results of the study indicated that service quality in distance education can be measured by six dimensions namely; tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, delivery, assurance and student participation. Each dimension can be measured by a number of attributes. The dimensions will be useful in helping distance education institutions evaluate the quality of their support services from students’ perspective; by so doing monitoring the overall performance of their services.

KEYWORDS: Open distance learning, student support, quality dimensionality, SERVQUAL.

DOI : 10.17718/tojde.340391