Distance Education Paper

993 words - 4 pages

One of the most exciting new trends in education is the use of distance learning. Many universities and corporations have ventured into it, and, in fact, some universities are devoted exclusively to providing an entire curriculum and degree through distance learning. Although the term "distance education" is of relative recent coinage, the concept of learning at a distance is not new at all. For example, correspondence course first appeared in Germany, England, and in the United States in the mid-nineteenth century. These courses were intended to provide vocational training to serve the demands of growing industrial economies, but the idea of learning on one's own proved so attractive that by the early twentieth century courses in every conceivable subject were offered by colleges, universities, and property institutes. Distance education has taken a number of new and exciting turns. One of the most notable is a result of the advances in telecommunications technology and computers, cable television, and satellites.Throughout its history, education has kept up with social changes by increasing access. Today higher education is not just for traditional college-age students, but also for students who are older, working, and may have families to support. Many of these students cannot afford to quit their jobs to attend school full time. Because of the changing demands of a growing student population, as well as diverse demographics and increased costs, educational institutions have been forced to find ways to become more productive, creative, and flexible in their delivery methods (Bower & Hardy 2004). Not only are higher education institutions expanding their use of distance education but business and industry have also entered the distance education field.According to Kim and Shih (2003), Policy, Technology and People are the fundamental elements of an operational model of distance education. The idea is supported by a somewhat similar model by Miller and King (2003), who have included technology, the learner, the instructor, the pedagogy and the organization in their paper. Broadly speaking, the challenges for distance education are technological and social. The technological issues require researchers from education and information technology field to work together, some of these issues have been partly solved while others remain open. There were similar suggestions by many researchers that faculty and learners both must gain technological training, there should be institutional support for learners and also that distance education may change institutional culture. Distance education requires to change a number of aspect of teaching, including course content, teaching roles and methods, assessment strategies, interaction, and communication; teaching online requires different skills and pedagogies from those needed in the traditional, face-to-face environment. The most crucial is the change in the teaching methodology, assessment techniq...

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