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Student support


Student support is at the same heart of the student success.

Under a student-centred learning perspective, giving support to students is a powerful tool to engage them and increase retention, enhancing their academic performance, integration and satisfaction and promoting sustainability and continuity of education, that is, long life learning.

Meet our experts on student support
Mehmet Firat, Anadolu University

Dr. Mehmet FIRAT is Associate Professor at Department of Distance Education. He is Deputy Head of Distance Education Department of Open Education Faculty at Anadolu University. Dr. Firat gained his Ph.D. in Educational Technology and Associate Professorship in Open and Distance Learning.

Dr. Firat has experiences on distance education, online learning and educational technologies since 2003. His academic interest areas are open and distance learning, e-learning, educational technologies, learning analytics, educational hypermedia, lifelong learning, cyber behaviors, use of internet in education. He has over than 70 journal articles, books and book chapters.

Mehmet contributed to the EMPOWER Envisioning report (4th Edition) with his article Bridging the Digital Divide Through ODL: Use of Sensitive Search for Student Support in ODL

He also contributed to the webinar week on Blended Learning in June 2019 with his presentation called: Why Diversity Matter in ODL? Case of Anadolu University 

Ormond Simpson, (former OUUK)

Ormond Simpson is a consultant in distance and online education, working recently as Visiting Fellow at the London University International Programmes. He was previously Visiting Professor at the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, and Director of the Centre for Educational Guidance and Student Support at the UK Open University.

He has given presentations and workshops Africa, South America, India, China, the West Indies, South Korea, and Europe. He is currently working on a chapter ‘Student Success’ for a book to be published by the New Mexico State University.

His interests are in student support and retention, cost-benefits of retention activities, ethics, and learning motivation.  His latest book is ‘Supporting Students for Success in Online and Distance Education’ (2012, Routledge).  He has written many book chapters and journal articles, which are freely available from his website    

Contributions to Empower activities

  1. Presentation  at webinar weeks
  1. Contributions to Envisioning Reports


Elisabeth Katzlinger, Johannes Kepler University Linz (JKU)

EMPOWER offers

The goal of this field of expertise is to empower students to become long-life self-directed and regulated learners in online and blended-learning environments. Empower experts can help those universities moving towards blended and online teaching and learning, to develop effective students’ support systems. The main reason is that learning environments mediated by ICTs generate different needs, difficulties and possibilities for students, so new ways to give them support are also required, as they need to be informed, oriented and trained in whatever they might need to become successful e-learners. Based on our experience and expertise, we can help to:

  • Organize supportive learning communities and networks, in general.
  • Design online and blended responsive personalized learning environments.
  • Deliver efficient student support in large and even massive courses.
  • Generate OER and Massive Open Online Courses to give students additional support they might need.
  • Elaborate global institutional actions to help students in different stages all along their studies, such as online induction programs for novel students.
  • Develop specific actions to help students with special needs.

We can also share our experience in helping students to become autonomous and self-determined learners in blended and online environments, thanks to the development of key competences, such as:

  • Basic and advance digital skills.
  • Self-regulated learning strategies.
  • Collaborative skills, peer-to-peer support.
  • Other generic and professional competences.

In short, as Open and Distance Universities, we can show what works for us with ICTs in the Student Support field and what does not, hoping to be helpful in the development of successful student support services in online and blended learning environments.