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The robustness of distance education

For an online Gasta session - the internet was designed to be robust in a crisis, and the pandemic crisis has revealed frailties in the education system. Distance education has many of the design features of the internet and offers a more resilient structure possibly

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The robustness of distance education

  1. 1. The robustness of distance ed Martin ”Not an ed tech thought leader” Weller
  2. 2. Hypothesis – the internet is designed to be robust, and so is distance ed
  3. 3. What does the pandemic reveal about fragility in the education system? It’s based on bringing people to one location There are crunch points (exams) All aspects are co-located Reliant on other fragile systems (eg. entry exams)
  4. 4. Open Distributed Decentralised The internet design
  5. 5. Online, open and distance ed
  6. 6. Openness Open resources - remixed Open entry - independent Open source – self hosted Open access - unlimited
  7. 7. Distributed Associate Lecturers Students Academics Support staff
  8. 8. Decentralised Multiple centres (Inter)National Teams based
  9. 9. Asynchronous Allows student flexibility Less exams based
  10. 10. Resilience(!) 1. Latitude 2. Resistance 3. Precariousness 4. Panarchy (Walker et al 2004)
  11. 11. When this is all over… Examine critical points in the system Develop more robust systems
  12. 12. References Brian Lamb - DON’T FOLLOW THOUGHT LEADERS, AND WATCH OUT FOR SUBTWEETERS Weller, Martin (2007). The distance from isolation: Why communities are the logical conclusion in e-learning. Computers and Education, 49(2) pp. 148–159. Weller, Martin and Anderson, Terry (2013). Digital resilience in higher education. European Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 16(1) p. 53. Walker, B.; Holling, C.S.; Carpenter, S.R. and Kinzig A. (2004). Resilience, adaptability and transformability in social–ecological systems. Ecology and Society, 9(2), (p. 5). Available at: