The purpose of the current research is to explore how to reduce the dropout rates in Distance Education through supporting students. More precisely, it focuses on measures that can be taken to help and encourage students facing difficulties and dealing with obstacles during their studies at the Hellenic Open University, thus fighting against dropout. The analysis of the results showed that both the academic staff and the students of the postgraduate program “Education Sciences” believe that the assistance provided to the students is not sufficient and that further measures should be taken to support students more effectively. Tutors, as well as students, claim that not only the role of a tutor is what ensures confidence during guidance and creating a climate of encouragement and support, but also he/she is the key person who can help, both academically and psychologically, students to continue their studies and finish them successfully. Tutors who participated in this research pointed out that, by supporting students, they can become more independent, while students claimed that they need more guidance, encouragement, and assistance from their tutors, even when they do not face difficulties while studying. Students feel that “Tutor –Student” communication is not as essential or effective as it should be and they further believe that a common line should be adopted so that all educators treat all students equally in all seriousness, especially those who encounter difficulties that affect their studies. Students also highlighted the importance of communication, cooperation, and collaboration between students and suggest that both the educational institution and its academic staff should employ these methods. Finally, the Hellenic Open University should adopt new methods and keep up with the current trends in the field of distance education, in order to integrate all students, even those who are at risk of dropping out.
Open and Distance Education Dropout, Student Support, Hellenic Open University, Study Obstacles
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