Distance Learning in Higher Education: A Programmatic Approach to Planning, Design, Instruction, Evaluation, and Accreditation

By Howell, Scott L. | Quarterly Review of Distance Education, July 1, 2009 | Go to article overview

Distance Learning in Higher Education: A Programmatic Approach to Planning, Design, Instruction, Evaluation, and Accreditation


Howell, Scott L., Quarterly Review of Distance Education


Distance Learning in Higher Education: A Programmatic Approach to Planning, Design, Instruction, Evaluation, and Accreditation, by Alfred P. Rovai, Michael K. Ponton, and Jason D. Baker Distance Learning in Higher Education: A Programmatic Approach to Planning, Design, Instruction, Evaluation, and Accreditation, by Alfred P. Rovai, Michael K. Ponton, and Jason D. Baker. (New York: Teachers College Press, 2008, 224 pages, $49.00).

The three professors from Regent University who authored Distance Learning in Higher Education: A Programmatic Approach to Planning, Design, Instruction, Evaluation, and Accreditation have prepared, in this reviewer's opinion, the first comprehensive, quality, introductory text on distance education in the field. Often while reading this book I thought, "I wish I had written this book" - it really says what it should say with no glaring omissions, does it in a simple and straightforward manner, and finally places under one cover the most relevant elements of the emerging distance education model of the twenty-first century. The book also presents advantages and disadvantages for distance educators to consider among possible options and between best approaches.

Many of the concepts covered in the text (e.g., adult learning, strategic planning, design, assessment, evaluation, and accreditation) are generalizable to other educational emphases, including, but not limited to, online education, e-learning, continuing education, distributed education, adult education, and blended learning. The publisher could easily repurpose this book to any of these emphases simply by substituting distance learning in the title with one of the other emphases, and by having authors make only minor textual changes. While the content is somewhat generic and introductory, the book's strength is in its comprehensive coverage of foundational topics and in the interrelatedness of those topics.

Even though the book itself includes many references about technology, and much of the discussion revolved around uses of technology in a subject-related context, its focus is not on technology. I assume the authors were strategic in their decision not to include technology in the book's title, but make no mistake - a technology theme threads itself throughout the entire book. It may be that these words found in the "program and course design" chapter represent the authors' perspective on the subject: "one can argue that technology itself is neutral and that the real issue is how people use the technology" (p. 75).

The book is generally well written with a good mix of findings from the literature and practical suggestions from the field. I was pleased to see the three authors acknowledge from time to time that while the literature suggests one thing, experience and intuition should temper theoretical and inconclusive findings. For example, in the "program evaluation" chapter, the authors address the theoretical elements of a good evaluation but then acknowledge that "evaluators must not equate evidence with truth. Rational decision making is based on both evidence and professional judgment. The danger is that evaluators and administrators may make decisions based solely on measurements because of the appearance of truth" (p. 120).

It is evident from the manner in which content is introduced and information discussed that the authors are also trained in instructional science and design. The authors skillfully frame each chapter using advance organizers and intersperse meaningful tables and figures at appropriate times to simplify and clarify denser text and difficult discussions. The book itself is a notable example of how to prepare instructional materials and write a reader- and instruction-friendly book.

A total of 10 figures and 10 tables are distributed across 1 1 chapters and approximately 160 pages of text, not including the three appendices. A reader with limited time or significant background in distance learning could easily skip from table to figure and then yet another figure to table without reading intervening text to capture writer essence. …

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

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 ...
Default project is now your active project.
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.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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 Learning in Higher Education: A Programmatic Approach to Planning, Design, Instruction, Evaluation, and Accreditation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
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?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access 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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.