Provision of Student Learning Support Services in A Large-Scale Distance Education System at Universitas Terbuka, Indonesia

Aminudin ZUHAIRI

This paper addresses the practice and experience of Universitas Terbuka (UT) in the provision of learning support services for students in a large-scale distance education system. The UT, which has a network of 37 regional offices and participating institutions, has challenges to provide and manage effective learning support system for more than 340,000 students, residing in various locations of Indonesia, a country with diverse level of the quality in terms of transportation, communication and technological infrastructure and facilities. UT has developed a systematic learning support system for distance students on the considerations that students’ independent and autonomous learning effort have to be enhanced with institutional support, which is managed centrally from the Headquarters as well as regionally by each of the Regional Offices throughout the country. UT student learning support system includes services such as tutorial, academic advising and counselling, study group activity, academic administration services for students, and organisation of student activities. Regional Offices has central roles in managing, implementing and networking with local partners to ensure the effectiveness of learning support at frontline level, even though policies are set at the Head Office. The aim of systematic learning support in distance education is to facilitate quality student learning process suited to students’ learning needs and flexibility, and ensure that students proceed their learning activities through access to various means of learning support.

KEYWORDS: Learning Support System; Policies for Learning Support; Modes of Tutorial Services; Roles of Regional Office; Academic Advising and Counselling; Academic and Administrative Services