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For presentation at the 2014 Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning - Madison, WI
Lately, more and more academic programs, particularly at the graduate level, are moving to an accelerated distance education model in an effort to help adult learners achieve necessary skills and credentials more conveniently (Rafferty & Lindell, 2011; Wlodkowski & Ginsberg, 2010). The movement toward accelerated coursework allows learners the freedom to work more quickly toward desired goals, transcending time and place (Pastore, 2010; Seamon, 2004). However, since the goal of any graduate-level program is to develop higher levels of learner expertise that can be put into practice immediately, it is important to ensure that deep learning of skills and knowledge is evoked, even when time is compressed (Biggs, 1987; Biggs & Tang, 2007; Clotfelter, Ladd, & Vigdor, 2007; Rafferty & Lindell, 2011; Wier, Stone & Hunton, 2005). What kinds of features, strategies, and tools must be in place to ensure that students in accelerated programs receive the same opportunities to learn deeply as their counterparts in more “traditional” programs? This case study investigated an accelerated program in education in order to learn from students and from the instructional design strategies employed.