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Challenges Facing Distance Education in the 21st Century:Implications for Setting the Research Agenda
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  • 1. Challenges Facing Distance Education in the 21 st Century : Implications for Setting the Research Agenda Sarah Guri-Rosenblit EDEN, Fifth Research Workshop Paris, 20 October, 2008 06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 2. Distance delivery in higher education – Clear mission for over 150 years
    • Providing second-chance students the opportunity to pursue academic or professional studies
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 3. Second-chance parameters
    • Lack of entry qualifications
    • Work/family/health constraints
    • Remote location
    • Being a woman
    • …… ..
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 4. Distance Education Promoted
    • Broadening of access
    • Equity
    • Quality ??? (depends…)
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 5. Typical Research Topics
    • Comparison with outcomes in conventional education settings
    • Perseverance in studies
    • Explanations of drop-out rates
    • Use of diverse technologies
    • Impact of support systems
    • Economies-of-scale….
    • …… ..
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 6. Current Influential Trends
    • Growing access to higher education
    • Globalization
    • Emergence of the ICT
    • Marketization
    • Blurring of boundaries between DE and conventional universities
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 7. Teaching and Research
    • Are DTUs only/mainly teaching universities?
    • If research oriented – what kind of research? (DE related or general and broad?)
    • Relevance of league tables (Opting to a ‘world-class university’ status?)
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 8. The Grand Question:
    • Should research be done ON distance education
    • or
    • Should research be performed BY distance educators in different disciplines
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 9. Scope of Operation (Global, National, Local?)
    • Target populations
    • Curricula
    • Role of academic faculty
    • Nature of support systems
    • Budgeting
    • Language of instruction
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 10. Scope of Operation (2)
    • The wider the scope of operation, the more challenging it is to set effective quality assurance mechanisms
    • The application of ICT is most instrumental in designing a global network, but national infrastructures vary enormously
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 11. Scope of Operation (3)
    • What kind of effective quality assurance mechanisms are to be used by DE providers in global, national and local contexts?
    • What are the optimal ICT uses in global, national and local contexts?
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 12. Size & Mode of Operation
    • Single-mode
    • Dual-mode
    • Blended-mode
    • Consortia
    • -----------------------------------
    • Teaching style
    • Costs
    • Flexibility
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 13. Size & Mode of Operation (2)
    • Size was most crucial in the industrial mode, but not in the e-learning model
    • Is there an optimal size for DE delivery online?
    • What are the future leading models of DE?
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 14. Size & Mode of Operation (3)
    • Are there still cost-effectiveness advantages to DE delivery in the digital age?
    • How can the large DTUs restructure their overall operation and underlying premises?
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 15. Spectrum of Curricula
    • Unique or the same as in conventional universities?
    • Broad/comprehensive or in niche areas?
    • Academic degrees? Professional and continuing education?
    • Undergraduate or graduate focus?
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 16. Spectrum of Curricula (2)
    • Should DE providers widen access mainly in market-demanded areas or in nationally-needed domains?
    • Should DE providers broaden access to undergraduate studies? Graduate studies? Professional development? Personal development?
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 17. Distance Education Providers: Enabling or Supporting Institutions ?
    • DE- more demanding than F-2-F
    • Novices in academia need more guidance
    • Students of disadvantaged backgrounds need even more support
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 18. Distance Education Providers: Enabling or Supporting Institutions ? (2)
    • How to design most effective support systems in multiple contexts?
    • Who is to budget the appropriate support mechanisms (state governments, NGOs, philanthropic donors, students themselves)?
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 19. Public vs. Private Institutions in Distance Education
    • Large DTUs – governments’ initiation
    • Market initiatives- danger of ‘diploma mills’
    • Private operation within public institutions
    • Quality control mechanisms
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 20. Public vs. Private Institutions in Distance Education (2)
    • Whose responsibility it is to impose quality assurance mechanisms in private DE institutions?
    • How to design effective DE private endeavors within public universities?
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 21. Employment of Digital Technologies
    • Challenging the industrial mode of DE
    • Digital divide (developed vs. developing countries, rich vs. poor)
    • Role of NGOs in setting appropriate infrastructures
    • Potential of mobile technologies
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 22. Employment of Digital Technologies (2)
    • Acknowledging that DE and e-learning are not the same thing
    • How various-type DE providers harness the ICT to serve their goals?
    • What are the appropriate measures to overcome the digital divide among nations and within nations?
    • Consolidation of research findings on ICT
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 23.
    • “ When it comes to technology, most people overestimate it in the short term, and underestimate it in the long term”.
    • Sir Arthur Clarke
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 24.
    • Guri-Rosenblit, S. (2009). Digital Technologies in Higher Education: Sweeping Expectations and Actual Effects . New York: Nova Science.
    • ISBN – 978-1-60692-238-5
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 25. Competition vs. Collaboration
    • Identification of competitors (DE institutions or conventional universities?)
    • Identification of cooperating parties (In academia and the corporate world, within national boundaries and beyond, both in teaching and research)
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 26. Competition vs. Collaboration (2)
    • How fruitful collaboration promotes widening of access?
    • How fruitful collaboration enhances quality assurance mechanisms?
    • How fruitful collaboration promotes the creation of research networks on DE and other fields (and contributes to the status of DTUs)?
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 27. Intellectual Property vs. Intellectual Philanthropy
    • DE institutions as leading academic publishing houses
    • ------------------------------------------------------
    • Defining the role of DE providers in the Open Source movement
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 28. Intellectual Property vs. Intellectual Philanthropy (2)
    • To what extent does the open source movement influence the revenues of DTUs as publishing houses?
    • How to mobilize the open source movement to widen access to higher education and professional development?
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 29. Language of Instruction
    • Serving national needs (academic textbooks in national languages)
    • English as the academic lingua franca
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit
  • 30. Language of Instruction (2)
    • To what extent does the knowledge of languages (and particularly English) influence:
    • Access to higher education?
    • Equity in higher education?
    • Effective use of the Internet and digital technologies’ potential?
    06/05/09 sarah guri-rosenblit