‘‘Terrific article! I would really like to use this in my Distance Education Class; but how can I?’’
You have a great article you want to share with your students. The information in it complements your upcoming lecture and emphasizes the views of others in the field. Because there are several important technical points in the article, you have used it in two on-campus classes and the interactions and dialogues were both interesting and challenging to the students. The question you have is how to use this article in your distance course. Because you broadcast to multiple sites by one-way video and two-way audio, you know you can’t hear or lead the discussions at each site. Can you use the article and facilitate a discussion in a broadcast class? The answer is yes! The dilemma you now face is how to keep students focused, engaged, and lead discussions at a distance. The answer to these dilemmas and engaging students is structuring for success. The bottom line is pre-planning.
To prevent distance education courses from becoming a static medium, the instructor must engage the students in active involvement with each other, with the material, and with the instructor. Vertecchi (1993) infers that the quality of distance education depends, to a large extent, on the frequency and quality of interaction. Marland and Store (1993) suggest a need to structure materials in a way that provides students with greater access to the content. James and Gardner (1995) recommend enhancing