Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Byron Burnham


This dissertation describes the observations of the interaction of adult learners at remote distance education sites. The researcher audited 11 complete courses at four receive sites during two academic terms. The observations were done in the Com-Net, audio-graphic system provided by Utah State University. The courses were provided for university credit to adults around the state.

The research was designed to answer three research questions:

1.What interactions do learners at a distance exhibit in their educational setting?
2.What observable events appear to prompt the beginning and ending of the learners' interactions?
3.What observable outcomes result from the learners' interactions? A field study was conducted, using qualitative methodologies.

In addition to answering the three research questions, the researcher observed four types of interaction already described in the literature of the field of distance education and identified a fifth type of interaction based on the field observations. The researcher also expanded on Burnham's definition of parallel learning in distance education.

Finally, in this document, the researcher offers a definition of adult learner interaction at remote sites. The definition is provided to spark further discussion and research



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