Teaching and Learning at a Distance: What It Takes to Effectively Design, Deliver, and Evaluate Programs. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, No. 71

Article excerpt

* Cyrs, Thomas E., editor. (1997). Teaching and Learning at a Distance: What It Takes to Effectively Design, Deliver, and Evaluate Programs. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, No. 71. Robert J. Menges, Editor-in-Chief and Marilla D. Svinicki, Associate Editor. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Publishers. 125 pp. Paperback, $22.

Distance learning is certainly one of the hottest topics in higher education today, and this collection of research does a nice job of addressing the main concerns about what some see as "the new college campus." The fourteen articles written by a variety of educators and researchers and published as part of a collection of titles under the series heading, New Directions for Teaching and Learning.

The book is divided into four sections, "Issues and Trends," "Instructional Design Principles for Distance Learning," "Alternative Delivery Systems" and "Administrative Issues for the Distance Instructor." The first section consists of one article, which deals with the future of distance education. Because of technological advances, distance learning (like all learning) is still evolving. This article suggests that distance learning will be one of the answers to meeting the needs of a changing student population.

The five articles comprising the second section offers some answers to the questions instructors face in teaching a distance course. The contributors suggest instructors cannot teach the same way in a distance class as they have in a traditional one. The articles offer tips on the dominant problems educators face in encouraging interaction between instructor and students in these new educational situations, including interaction with students through feedback (e-mail, telephone, fax, mail, on-site facilitators, etc.), effective student engagement during the class and the use of graphics. …