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New communication technologies are bringing about social, as well as technical, changes in learning environments. This study explores the impact one new communication technology, podcasting, has had on students' educational experiences at a rural Australian university. Contextualized in a broader social environment, where it is critically theorized that institutions of higher education sell knowledge as a commercial good, this study uses qualitative survey data of distant and internal student experiences to present student expectations and cultural norms. Findings reveal that the majority of student comments reflect support for podcasting as a learning tool and as a means to personalize distance education which for some, and particularly rural students, can be an isolating experience. Additionally, commentary reflects that education in an increasing commodified culture brings heightened consumer expectations for equity in educational experience and delivery services, as well as student-driven assessment of educational products' quality and authenticity.
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Keywords: Australia; distance education; education technology; podcasting; rural

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Charles Sturt University, NSW, Australia 2: School of Computing and Mathematics, Charles Sturt University, Waga Waga, Australia 3: School of Biomedical Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia

Publication date: August 1, 2009

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