Distance education by its nature differs from the regular mode of higher education. A viable option for providing access to higher education for students who cannot attend traditional, on-campus courses, distance education, often gets a tag of being sedentary. This puts into question the qualitative aspect of the distance education courses. Distance education therefore often confronts a perception that its programmes, learning materials, and student support are not of a high standard (Badat, 2005). Evaluation of the effectiveness of distance learning should focus mainly on students’ academic performance and their feedback on their learning experiences. The present study intends to study the quality facet of distance education and its dimensions as perceived by the students enrolled in distance education courses. For conducting the study, 100 students pursuing Masters of Education (M.Ed.) from University School of Open Learning, Panjab University, were selected. Students were asked to give their feedback on areas associated with the quality like, aims and objectives of the course, teaching of the course content, curriculum transaction, learning material, student support services, evaluation procedures, infrastructural facilities and general perspective of the overall learning environment. To study the quality dimensions as perceived by the learners, content analysis was incorporated. The results reveal that the students are satisfied with the overall quality of distance education courses. The areas that emerged to be a matter of concern in the present study are student support services and infrastructural facilities available in the institutions offering distance education courses.
Quality, quality Dimensions, Distance Education, Course Experiences, Student Evaluation.