Higher Education through Open and Distance Learning

By Keith Harry | Go to book overview

Chapter 11

Oceania

The Australian education scene has been subject to almost continuous change over the last decade, and distance education has been affected as much as any sector. King documents the sequence of political and organisational events which has led to the present situation where distance education and open learning provision are widely available from a high proportion of higher education institutions, and Moran and Myringer also discuss some of the current trends and issues within distance teaching institutions. The term ‘external studies’ has traditionally been widely used in Australia and neighbouring countries, but one of the symptoms of change has been in the emergence and use of additional terms such as ‘open learning’, ‘flexible learning’ and ‘flexible delivery’, which reflect not only a general conceptual move towards more student-centred provision, but also a demand for institutions to produce course materials very quickly utilising the whole available range of technologies.

The Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia (ODLAA) was renamed in 1993 from the Australian and South Pacific External Studies Association (ASPESA). The change in title, as well as acknowledging the need to recognise new terminology, incorporates a narrower geographical focus. ODLAA, whose Web site is at http://usq.edu.au/dec/decjourn/odlaa.htm/, continues to publish the journal Distance Education, whose focus is international, and a volume of papers to accompany its biennial conference.

The former South Pacific members of ASPESA have re-formed to establish their own association, the Pacific Islands Regional Association for Distance Education (PIRADE). For many years, the island nations of the South Pacific were served almost solely by the University of the South Pacific, which is a dual-mode institution. Matthewson and Va’a’s chapter describes the changing situation in which a number of other institutions and organisations are beginning to provide their own distance-taught programmes and courses.

New Zealand is also well served by distance education providers. A decade ago, the pattern of provision was relatively clearcut. Although there were

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