Handbook of Distance Education

By Michael Grahame Moore; William G. Anderson | Go to book overview
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Organizational Models in Higher
Education, Past and Future
Donald E. Hanna
University of Wisconsin-Extension

Distance education in the current educational environment is inevitably about changing existing organizational practices through the development of new structural, pedagogical, and technological models. This has always been true, as distance education programs and processes departed from those used in more traditional instructional settings; however, until recently the changes that distance education brought were not transformational changes in universities but rather procedural and process changes designed to deliver existing programs, courses, and services.Schlecty (1997) describes three basic forms of organizational change:
1. Procedural change, which has to do with altering how organizational tasks are accomplished.
2. Technological change, which consists of changing the means by which the job is done.
3. Structural and cultural (systemic) change, which consists of changing the nature of the work itself and reorienting its purpose.

This chapter addresses emerging distance education organizational models in relation to each of these forms in ways that elucidate future directions in the field.

There are many reasons why the move toward distance education is inextricably linked with changing organization processes and procedures as well as developing new organizational models. Demand for learning across the globe is increasing as national economies become increasingly based on knowledge and the pace of technological change continues to accelerate. Rapidly growing and increasingly youthful populations in many areas of the world are also fueling pressures on higher education institutions to respond in new and creative ways. In


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Handbook of Distance Education
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