Distance Education in Agricultural Economics: Perceptions of Department Heads

By Jensen, Kim; English, Burton et al. | Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, August 2007 | Go to article overview

Distance Education in Agricultural Economics: Perceptions of Department Heads


Jensen, Kim, English, Burton, Clark, Christopher, Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics


Heads of agricultural economics and agribusiness departments across the United States are surveyed to develop an inventory of distance education (DE) offerings by their departments. Perceived challenges, strategies for use, and future plans for DE are assessed. While the majority of the responding departments offer DE, the department heads believed that faculty time costs to develop/deliver DE are high relative to traditional delivery and that both strategic plans for implementing DE and financial incentives for faculty to adopt DE are lacking. The department heads did, however, have positive views about the technological ability of students to use distance courses.

Key Words: distance education

JEL Classifications: A2-Economics Education and Teaching of Economics

Introduction and Objectives

The development of distance education (DE), has, in large part, been driven by advances in communication technologies, that is, radio, television, and the Internet. These technological advances have prompted wildly enthusiastic predictions of both growth in distance education and fundamental changes in the nature of higher education. An overview of distance education development can be found in Barkley. To date, these technological changes have proven more evolutionary than revolutionary (Barkley; Moore 1997, 2003). However, each successive advance brings DE that much closer to being able to replicate the instructional methods traditionally employed in on-campus courses. The distinction between DE and on-campus instruction has also been blurred by the use of technological advances associated with the Internet in on-campus courses, primarily through asynchronous communication and online delivery of instructional material (Dahlgran; Howell, Williams, and Lindsay). In any event, the broad-based appeal of these new technologies is expected to increase demand for DE not only among its traditional clientele, that is, place-bound adult students, but also among on-campus students. The advantage of DE to traditional students lies primarily in increased convenience, as DE is now directed not only at students distanced by geography but also at those distanced by time.

The objective of this study is to provide a snapshot of the increased role of DE within agricultural economics departments. More specifically, this study develops an inventory of DE offerings by agricultural economics and/or agribusiness departments across the United States, measures perceived challenges to offering DE, assesses strategies for use, and ascertains departments' plans for future DE offerings. The role of DE across the spectrum of undergraduate courses, graduate courses, and extension programs is also analyzed. To obtain information required for the study, heads of agricultural economics and/or agribusiness departments across the United States were surveyed by mail to obtain their percep- tions of the types of distance offerings, including course topics and levels; the primary users of the department's distance materials; whether any distance offerings have been dropped and why; plans for future distance offerings; the adequacy of financial resources and technical support for distance offerings; faculty perceptions of DE and reward systems for authoring and offering distance materials; student or user learning through distance formats; and departmental strategies for using DE. However, prior to discussing the implementation of and responses to this survey, some background on DE is provided, including a review of relevant research.

Previous DE Research

DE has been defined as "institution-based, formal education where the learning group is separated, and where interactive telecommunication systems are used to connect learners, resources, and instructors" (Keegan). While the origins of DE can be traced back to the early 180Os, the nation's colleges and universities did not begin offering DE until the advent of the rural mail delivery system in the late 180Os.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Distance Education in Agricultural Economics: Perceptions of Department Heads
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.