Handbook of Distance Education

By Michael Grahame Moore; William G. Anderson | Go to book overview

34
Strategic Planning
for Distance Education
Ryan Watkins
The George Washington University
rwatkins@gwu.edu
Roger Kaufman
Florida State University
rkaufman@nettally.com

INTRODUCTION

Higher education has recently witnessed an unprecedented expansion by conventional universities to support the distance delivery of instruction. With this, there has been an introduction of new institutions with a sole focus on distance education, accompanied by a developing acceptance of degrees achieved outside of the conventional classroom and campus environment. Each of these shifts has altered the foundational frameworks on which the administration and management of institutions of higher education in the United States and around the world have operated and relied. No longer can we depend on the conventional “wisdom” of classic institutional administration to ensure our success in the future. And as Barker (1993) reminds us, when a paradigm shifts, everyone (even those who have been extremely successful in the past) goes back to zero.

Reacting to the current and upcoming changes in higher education will not, however, guarantee success. And since no institution can accurately predict the future, those that will lead in the upcoming decades will be those institutions that can create the future—those that can create the desired changes and offer learners the knowledge and skills necessary for making a contribution and gaining prosperity (Hamel & Prahalad, 1994; Kaufman, Watkins, & Leigh, 2001; Mitroff, Mason, & Pearson, 1994). In this chapter we suggest a practical and pragmatic framework for the planning and achievement of beneficial results both now and in the future (Watkins, Triner, & Kaufman, 1996). This framework, however, lies beyond the boundaries of the conventional thinking within higher education. It does not always fit with “how we have always done it around here” and will likely challenge many of the “truths” on which many institutions have built their past success. And yet, without a new perspective on defining and achieving success in the new age of distance education, many institutions of higher education will not be able to compete.

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