Women, Distance Education and Solitude: A Feminist Postmodern Narrative of Women's Responses to Learning in Solitude.
There is the feminist assumption that connections and relations are the primary method of learning for women as opposed to solitary knowledge-building. In spite of the many articles that assert that distance education is an isolating experience for women, the literature review has also shown that some women learners are not interested in connections/relations, but prefer to study in solitude, and did not experience any negative influences on their learning as a result. The association of solitude, connected learning, and women needs further investigation. Using a postmodern framework, the purpose of my study is to explore the notion of solitude among women distance education students, in contrast to the feminist view that women have a high need for interaction. Chapter One begins with my experiences as a graduate distance education student. Chapter Two looks at the literature from earlier ideas about the principle method of learning for women to more current research that questions this assumption. Chapter Three discusses the research methodology that utilizes journals as the way of acquiring personal experiences about studying in solitude. Chapter Four presents the themes that emerged from the participants’ experiences, and Chapter Five sums up studying in solitude as a way of knowing. I begin this thesis in solitude and I hope that it ends in community. By writing our personal stories, perhaps the readers may recognize their own stories.