This article engages with the persistent theme of flexibility in online distance education. It argues that, while a discourse of flexibility promises opportunities for access to online education, it also has the potential to devalue it by paying too little attention to education’s time-consuming practices, often perpetuating a notion of teaching and learning that is depicted as atemporal and free from the constraints of time. The article draws on case study interviews with staff and students engaged in a distance education expansion project in a UK university. A temporal analysis highlights institutional adjustments towards flexibility and draws attention to interview accounts that are indicative of a culture of combined work and study that is beyond full-time, in a wider context in which part-time study is aligned with affordability and made unproblematic as a flexible mode of access. Further research on time and temporality in distance and higher education is recommended.
- digital education
- higher education