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Distance Education

Overview

People have been learning at distance for centuries. A message to communicate, the ability to write, the proper tools, and an infrastructure to deliver writings were (and still is) the only requirement for distance education.

Elearning as an industry has been driven and influenced heavily by information technology. This field changes so rapidly, that students on graduation of a program may already have a large percentage of outdated skills. Distance education, in the form of elearning, was the only way to stay current.

The field of distance education has much to offer elearning. Distance education departments at colleges and universities have spent decades (or more) addressing challenges of creating and designing learning resources to be used by students studying on their own. Many of the concerns currently facing elearning (high drop out rates, creating interactivity, fostering community) have been experienced (and largely solved) by distance education practitioners.

Distance education has walked through many of the problems now facing elearning. Elearning professionals would benefit greatly by spending time researching principles of designing and administering distance education courses...as well as the dynamics of keeping students motivated when they are studying "alone".

Resources

Distance Education & Learning
Great resources...be prepared to spend hours!

Distance Education at a Glance
Wonderful resource. A series of guides (the equivalent of chapters) present topics such as: distance education overview, strategies for teaching at a distance, instructional development, glossary, etc.

Distance Education Clearinghouse
"The Distance Education Clearinghouse is a comprehensive and widely recognized Web site bringing together distance education information from Wisconsin, national, and international sources. New information and resources are being added to the Distance Education Clearinghouse on a continual basis."

Distance Learning Guidelines
Takes a quality assurance approach for distance education. Guidelines and precepts are very valuable.

Distance Learning Resource Network
"An extensive website that includes current research and news items and covers a multitude of topics from information on the Star Schools projects to K-12 courses offered at a distance."

Distance-Educator
"Distance-Educator.com has been on the web since 1995, in anticipation of growing popularity of distance education. We have been a source of information, and inspiration for countless professionals since the early days of the use of the web for public mass communication.
Distance-Educator.com is designed and written by professionals who have several decades of experience in educational radio, educational television, and the use of integrated telecommunications systems such as the Internet for teaching and learning."

Quality in Distance Education
Extensive listing of "policy and procedures for quality assurance in distance education and open learning programs"

Quality Assurance of Web-based Learning
"All educational provision should be of good quality. Poor provision makes it difficult to learn, and may leave the student not wanting to learn or, even worse, convinced that he or she cannot learn. So quality is a key issue in education, whether it be by traditional face-to-face or more open and distance learning methods."

United States Distance Learning Association
Excellent resources - especially USDLA Journal.

 

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