Insights for future assessment policy: Open access online higher education


  • Catherine Moore Swinburne University of Technology
  • Steven Greenland Professor of Marketing at Charles Darwin University


open access, flexible delivery, open education, open educational practices


This research offers recommendations for higher education online assessment policy and procedure design, which should improve learner satisfaction and help to reduce online student attrition. The study involves over 200 qualitative interviews to identify the main driver of student attrition in open access online tertiary education in Australia. The extent to which degree programme assessment policies take into account this main attrition driver is then established by reviewing institutional online assessment policy documents. Our findings show that students are more likely to withdraw from studies due to employment rather than a medical condition, or indeed any other reason. However, assessment policies do not take into consideration employment related factors when considering extenuating circumstances for not completing assessments in a timely manner. In this regard open access online tertiary education is not offering the flexibility and convenience that many institutions promote as being offered to online learners. This finding highlights a broader issue in that most providers have merely adapted their policies and procedures from on-campus equivalent courses and are not effectively accommodating the needs and demands of their online students.

Author Biographies

Catherine Moore, Swinburne University of Technology

Catherine Moore


Doctoral Candidate: EdD(HE) University of Liverpool(UK)


Lecturer, Information Systems

Swinburne Business School

Department of Business Technology and Entrepreneurship

Phone: +61 3 9214 5771

Mail: PO Box 218 Hawthorn VIC 3122 Australia


Steven Greenland, Professor of Marketing at Charles Darwin University

Steven Greenland is a Professor of Marketing at Charles Darwin University. He has over 25 years marketing experience - 12 years were in senior roles at international market research agencies running multi-country projects and programs for well-known organisations. Steve has held various academic positions including 5 years at the University of Manchester, where he completed his PhD in 1995. He has developed a range of market research subjects that meet the industry demands for work ready graduates. He publishes in the areas of online education, marketing research and business strategy.