Quality in Distance Education: Focus on On-Line Learning

Quality in Distance Education: Focus on On-Line Learning

Quality in Distance Education: Focus on On-Line Learning

Quality in Distance Education: Focus on On-Line Learning

Synopsis

Breaking through the myths and misunderstandings surrounding web-based learning, this book focuses on the particular characteristics of on-line education, a distance learning technology that can enhance on-campus courses as well. Drawing from her own experience as director of distance learning and technology at the University and Community College System of Nevada, author Katrina A Meyer examines the need to evaluate web-based learning on its own terms. She presents several examples of measures for quality web-based learning, and argues for the next phase of research in the field to focus on which technology works with which student and which learning objective in which discipline and why. With a synthesis of the emerging body of literature and research on web-based learning, Meyer highlights creative approaches to quantitative and qualitative studies and acknowledges the serious and balanced personal insights that researchers are developing for this fast growing form of learning. She delivers compelling reasons why one cannot evaluate the use of technology separate from the instructional uses made of it and argues that basic human psychology is the key to unlocking our relationship with the web. As a rapidly developing, ever-changing mode of learning, on-line education challenges academic researchers to continually question their assumptions and renew their attention to student learning. This book is a valuable tool to assist educators in achieving that goal.

Excerpt

No topic has received so much attention in the last decade as technology, and possibly no topic is as misunderstood or has received as little attention as distance education. Correspondence and other forms of distance education have been mostly ignored in the higher education research literature. The connection of technology with distance education has opened the door among researchers who typically ignored this large sector of higher education. Issues that are outside the core of institutional practices are often subordinated. In fact, as the author notes, people see distance education not only as subordinate but also at some level a threat to traditional practices of teaching and learning. Therefore, the few articles or books that are written tend to come from a mostly negative ideological orientation. But there appear to be policymakers and administrators who see that distance education is becoming more closely aligned with the core of institutional practice and realize we need unbiased research and information to guide decision making about this misunderstood area of institutional operation. This monograph is revolutionary in its attempts to bring distance education to the forefront of educational dialogues, especially in its basis on research.

Katrina Meyer has spent many years working in policymaking and research related to distance education, and she brings this experience to the development of an authoritative monograph. She is currently an assistant professor of educational leadership at the University of North Dakota, with a special interest in Web-based learning and distance education in higher education institutions. For more than thirteen years, she has worked in administration and policy at the state and institutional levels in distance learning and technology.

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