This Book in Brief: OverviewThe 55 chapters that make up this handbook provide overviews and summaries of the research
and practice of distance education in the United States. As was pointed out in the Preface, the
last 3 to 5 years have seen a rapid and explosive development of interest in and discussion about
distance education, driven by excitement among educators and other professionals about the
potential applications of interactive computer-based technology. In varying degrees all authors
in this handbook discuss or at least make reference to the impact of this new technology.
However, technology, whether new or old, is only part of the distance education system—and
a relatively simple part by comparison with the pedagogical, organizational, and policymaking
components. The handbook is not about technology but about the consequences of separating
learners and teachers, one of which is the need to use technology. Thus, the handbook is
made up of several sets of reviews and analyses of the research that deals with the history
and theory of distance education, learning and learners, design and instruction, management,
administration and policy, the characteristics of different audiences, the issues of costs, and
finally some international dimensions.In commissioning these chapters, we asked each author to adopt what may be described as a
bibliographic essay style, charging each to give an overview and synthesis of the research and
scholarly literature of the subject being treated, supported by an extensive list of references.
We also asked the authors to consider three specific questions, our intention being to provide a
similar focus and structure for all the chapters and give harmony to the style of the handbook
as a whole. These common questions were as follows:
Michael G. Moore
|1. ||What is the current state of your special research area in contemporary distance education
|2. ||What knowledge about this is based on empirical research evidence?|
|3. ||What further research is needed in light of the changes that are occurring?|
A minority of the authors invited to contribute have established themselves as researchers
in fields adjacent to distance education rather than in distance education itself, and they were
invited because I believe distance education should be enriched by such cross-fertilization.
Authors outside the field do not always locate their area of study within the broad field of
distance education itself. Some of the terms that will be found in the handbook (e.g. telelearning and e-learning) emphasize the use of a particular communications technology, others
(distributed learning and distant learning) focus on the location of learners, others (open
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Handbook of Distance Education.
Contributors: Michael Grahame Moore - Editor, William G. Anderson - Editor.
Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Place of publication: Mahwah, NJ.
Publication year: 2003.
Page number: xiii.
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