Collaboration in Distance Education: International Case Studies

By Louise Moran; Ian Mugridge | Go to book overview
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Chapter 9

Policies and trends in inter-institutional collaboration

Louise Moran and Ian Mugridge

Ten years ago, as representatives of our two institutions, we began to discuss collaboration between Deakin University and the (then) Open Learning Insititute of British Columbia. Our hope was to share existing course materials and co-operate in developing new sequences in our respective majors. Four years later, we had achieved agreement on one course, several meetings, an enjoyable friendship, and little else. Collaboration, even with personal commitment to make it work, was not easy. By the end of the 1980s, however, our local environments and the distance education scene in general had undergone a transformation. Inter-institutional collaborative ventures have proliferated, and, as several of the case studies in this collection show, have been highly successful. There are signs that, for political, educational, and financial reasons, collaboration is becoming a central feature of distance education at local, regional, and international levels. This book is a first step toward understanding the phenomenon.

In this final chapter, we discuss some of the themes emerging from the case studies and then examine why inter-institutional collaboration is becoming so central to distance education institutions. We conclude with comments on the effects such partnerships are likely to have on the nature and practice of distance education, and on the structures of, and relationships among, institutions in the field.

The case studies in this collection fall into three broad categories. One is the integration or articulation of pathways through credentials offered by more than one institution-for example, the health sciences and distance education programmes. The second exemplifies collaboration in distance education operations, such as course development and credit transfer. The third category

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