The matter I discussed in Absorption was taken from a personal point of view, from a long experience observing practices in face to face teaching in higher education (HE). I have my own intuitions about this matter, but they do not apply straightforwardly to distance education (DE). A very recent paper from Romero and Barberà gives data and perspective that may orient my quest (now, I’m working in “Pacing in DE”). Their use of quality time as an operational variable for working students in DE is very interesting, as is the data over time of the day homework and student success. I still have to explore a couple of references cited by them, so … back to work!
MRomero and EBarberà (2011). Quality of e-learners’ time and learning performance beyond quantitative time-on-task. IRRODL 12(5): 122-135.