Trends on Distance Education

A collection of articles and research on recent trends in Distance Education and its impact in Higher Education and students academic performance.

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A Quality Scorecard for the Administration of Online Education Programs – This scorecard is for measuring and quantifying elements of quality within online education programs in higher education. It is an easy-to-use tool for online administrators for program evaluation. By evaluating each of the respective quality indicators within the established categories, an online administrator can determine strengths and weaknesses of their program. The identification of the weaknesses can be used to support program improvement and strategic planning initiatives. The scorecard could also be used to demonstrate to accrediting bodies, elements of quality within the program as well as an overall level of quality. The scorecard contains 70 quality indicators–each indicator is worth up to three points. The administrator will determine at what level their program meets the intent of the quality indicator after examining all procedures and processes.

A review of trends in distance education scholarship at research universities in North America, 1998-2007 – This article explores and summarizes trends in research and scholarship over a decade (i.e., 1998-2007) for students completing dissertations and theses in the area of distance education. The topics addressed, research designs utilized, and data collection and analysis methods used were compiled and analyzed. Results from this study indicate that most of the distance education research conducted by graduate students in this period of time has been descriptive, often addressing the perceptions, concerns, and satisfaction levels of various stakeholders with a particular distance education experience. Studies of this type typically used self-report surveys and analyzed the data using descriptive statistics. Validating the concern of many distance education scholars, there was a lack of graduate student research aimed at developing a theory base in distance education. On a positive note, projects directly comparing distance education with traditional face-to-face classrooms to determine the merit of specific programs declined significantly in 2007 as compared to 1998. This result might indicate that distance learning is becoming accepted as a viable and important educational experience in its own right. Another encouraging finding was the decreased emphasis on studies focused on technology issues, such as those analyzing the quality of distance education technology and questioning educators’ ability to provide an acceptable technology-enabled distance learning experience.

An Instructional Media Guide for Distance Learning – Increasingly, educators and trainers are challenged within their respective organizations to provide for the efficient distribution of instructional content using instructional media.The appropriate selection of instructional media to support distance learning is not intuitive and does not occur as a matter of personal preference. On the contrary, instructional media selection is a systematic sequence of qualitative processes based on sound instructional design principles.Although media selection is often mentioned when studying the discipline of instructional technology or Instructional Systems Design (ISD), it is sometimes overlooked when applying the selection process in a distance learning environment. This guide highlights the essentials of good media selection. Helps with an instructionally sound and systematic approach to selecting the most appropriate media for the delivery of content at a distance.

Media selection is an integral part of the Instructional Systems Design process. In that role, media selection ensures that a specific instructional medium can support the attainment of a given learning objective. To that end, this guide is comprised of five major sections that will assist you in the media selection process to ensure the most appropriate media are selected based on the
learning environmen. USDLA© Copyright 2010 by the authors, Dr. Jolly Holden, and Dr. Philip J.-L. Westfall

Choosing between Online and face-to-Face Courses: Community College Student Voices. In this study, community college students discussed their experience with online and face-to-face learning as well as their reasons for selecting online (rather than face-to-face) sections of specific courses. Students reported lower levels on instructor presence in online courses and that they needed to “teach themselves.”

Education for a Digital World . Enlisting the practice-based knowledge of educators to address the aspirations and goals of today’s information-savvy students is surely a key to providing enriching experiences using learning technologies. Faculty, instructors, staff, administrators, policy makers and governance bodies have their own unique perspectives on the role of learning technologies within higher education and each has a sense of what would constitute an enriching experience. That experience might include highly flexible and engaging course offerings, convivial tools for instructors, more learners for academic departments, increased recognition and reputation for an institution, more mobility for learners between programs and across institutions items with specific success indicators, depending on viewpoint. This book addresses issues of learning technology use in five sections that deal with: (1) The impact of instructional technologies, (2) Creating online course, (3) Implementing technology, (4) e-Learning in action, and (5) Engagement and communication

Thirty-two Trends Affecting Distance Education: An Informed Foundation for Strategic Planning – distance-learning journals have established the need for administrators to be informed and prepared with strategic plans equal to foreseeable challenges. This article provides decision makers with 32 trends that affect distance learning and thus enable them to plan accordingly. The trends are organized into categories as they pertain to students and enrollment, faculty members, academics, technology, the economy, and distance learning. All the trends were identified during an extensive review of current literature in the field.

Current Trends in Distance Education: An Administrative Model – Current practices and procedures of distance education programs at selected institutions in higher education in Ohio were studied. Relevant data was found in the areas of: (1) content of the distance education program’s mission statement; (2) needs assessment procedures; (3) student demographics; (4) course acquisition, development, and evaluation criteria and procedures; (5) hierarchical approval of courses; (6) delivery systems; (7) selection of distance education course instructors; (8) distance education course teaching/management procedures; (9) matriculation of distance learners; (10) budgeting; (11) marketing procedures; and (12) formative and summative evaluation of the individual courses and the entire distance education program. This research has led to the development of an Distance Learning Administrative Operational Model.

Descriptive Study of Student Motivation in Online Distance Learning Environments – The immense growth of Internet related technologies have allowed possibilities; students have new technology at their fingertips. Technology has made it possible to merge online teaching and l earning into the routine of college and university studies. Online classes are also becoming increasingly more popular with on campus college students because of times constraints of traditional courses. Distance learning is beneficial for eliminating time and money spent related to student travel and allowed Outreach College students access to adept instructors regardless of physical locale. Online courses have also given students a chance to collaborate with professionals worldwide.

The disruptive potential of the Massive Open Online Course: A literature review – The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is a rapidly evolving phenomenon which has stimulated discussion in universities around the world. A central theme of these discussions, and much of the published literature on the phenomenon, is the potential of the MOOC to disrupt the way universities do business. The aim of this narrative literature review is to clarify disruptive innovation theory, and to examine the influence of MOOCs on higher education. Evidence from this review suggests that although MOOCs might have had a significant effect on a range of issues (including definitions of completion pedagogical approaches, delivery methods, certification, and business models), more systematic research is needed to evaluate the level, extent, and permanence of any disruption that may occur.

Distance Education: Trends and Redefinition – Because of the availability of sophisticated telecommunications systems there has been redefinition of distance education, and an attempt to use technology to make equivalent the experiences of all learners no matter when or where they learn.  This paper discusses the redefinition of distance education and the philosophical position taken by many in the field.

Eight Tips for Successful Online Course Facilitation – Access to course management systems like Blackboard, Moodle and Sakai, among others, make online learning possible for K-16 educational institutions. This article encapsulates eight tips based on what has been learned, both as online facilitators ourselves, and through the constant reading and reflection we’ve engaged in.

Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies – After reviewing over a thousand empirical studies of online learning, a report prepared for the US Department of Education found that students in online learning conditions – especially at the college level – performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.

Online learning – for students and for teachers – is one of the fastest growing trends in educational uses of technology. Although earlier studies based on older technologies concluded there was not much difference between distance learning and regular classroom learning, the multi-media and Web-based applications now available significantly improve the learning environment and outcomes.

The report concluded that, especially among the older learners at the college undergraduate, graduate and professional studies levels, “Students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional, face-to-face instruction.” (Read more…)

Global Trends in Higher Education, Adult and Distance Learning – The purpose of this paper is to examine the key global trends in higher education, adult and distance learning. An examination of these trends will facilitate the identification of some of the issues confronting higher education in general, and open and distance learning in particular. It will provide ICDE with a framework within which its strategic plan can be developed.

The Human Element MOOC: An Experiment in Social Presence – The Human Element Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the Canvas open network was designed to be a connectivist experience exploring methods for humanization of online education. This MOOC introduced and discussed methods that faculty could adopt in order to potentially increase instructor presence, social presence, and cognitive presence within their own online courses. The design of the MOOC and the learners’ perceptions of so cial presence after taking part in this MOOC are discussed in this chapter. (to appear in Student-Teacher Interaction in Online Learning Environments edited by Robert D. Wright)

Involving the Deaf Community in Distance Learning Using Blended Technologies and Learning Objects – This article states the necessity to involve the deaf community in distance education. Technology could broaden their minds to learn another way.

National Center for Education Statistics – The NCES assembles and examines all information that could possibly connect to education. They are the primary source that is associated to the United States and other nations.

NMC Horizon Report > 2013 Higher Education Edition – The NMC Horizon Report > 2013 Higher Education Edition is a collaborative effort between the NMC and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), an EDUCAUSE Program.The tenth edition describes annual findings from the NMC Horizon Project, a decade-long research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in higher education. Six emerging technologies are identified across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years, as well as key trends and challenges expected to continue over the same period, giving campus leaders and practitioners a valuable guide for strategic technology planning.

Office of Educational Technology – The Office of Educational Technology (OET), in the Office of the Secretary, provides leadership for transforming education through the power of technology. OET develops national educational technology policy and advocates for the transition from print-based to digital learning.

Pew Internet & American Life Project – The Pew Internet & American Life Project is one of seven projects that make up the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit “fact tank” that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. The Project produces reports exploring the impact of the internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life.

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Perceptions of Academic Honesty in Online vs. Face-to-Face Classrooms – As online instruction continues to evolve, instructors continue to struggle with the perceived growing problem of academic dishonesty. This study will expand the literature regarding academic integrity, particularly in the online learning environment by examining student perceptions of academic integrity related to both online and face-to-face course formats. A survey was administered which measured the frequency students participated in academic misconduct and the instances in which students believed other students participated in academic misconduct. This study involved two research questions: 1) Do differences exist between online vs. face-to-face students’ perception of the academic integrity of their own behavior based on course type? 2) Do differences exist between online and face-to-face students’ perceptions of other students’ behavior based on course type.

Social Media Survey 2012 – Pearson has been researching faculty use of social media. Pearson’s collaboration with other thought leaders, including Babson Survey Research Group and Converseon, is one of the ways they’re gaining that understanding. As a reflection of their commitment to sharing knowledge with the higher education community, you will find the latest results on social media here….

Standards for Distance Learning Library Services – Every student, faculty member, administrator, staff member, or any other member of an institution of higher education, is entitled to the library services and resources of that institution, including direct communication with the appropriate library personnel, regardless of where enrolled or where located in affiliation with the institution. Academic libraries must, therefore, meet the information and research needs of all these constituents, wherever they may be. This principle of access entitlement, as applied to individuals at a distance, is the under girding and uncompromising conviction of the Standards for Distance Learning Library Services.

Training online faculty: a phenomenology studyLiterature on training faculty to teach online still dwells on the issues explored a decade ago. To make a substantial move in this area, the study suggests to re-evaluate the essence of training in the context of producing qualified online faculty to teach quality online courses. Employing a phenomenological approach, this study examines seven online faculty’s lived training experiences and observed that there existed incidental factors that could affect the quality of training. Further data analysis indicated that it was the different levels of understandings of “training” between different parties that led to variations in the quality of training. “There is a whole [training] world that’s going on out there … I’m just not interested… because that’s not my world,” said one research participant. The study recommends that different parties involved in training online faculty should look at training from a systems approach and view training as an opportunity (1) to transfer knowledge and skills necessary for conducting quality online instruction; (2) to remove barriers preventing faculty from teaching online; and (3) to transform traditional faculty members into highly qualified online faculty.

UNESCO Working Paper Series on Mobile Learning – Today there are over 5.9 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide, and for every one person who accesses the internet from a computer two do so from a mobile device. Given the ubiquity and rapidly expanding functionality of mobile technologies, UNESCO is enthusiastic about their potential to improve and facilitate learning, particularly in communities where educational opportunities are scarce. This Working Paper Series scans the globe to illuminate the ways in which mobile technologies can be used to support the United Nations Education for All Goals; respond to the challenges of particular educational contexts; supplement and enrich formal schooling; and make learning more accessible, equitable, personalized and flexible for students everywhere.

Validating a Measurement Tool of Presence in Online Communities of Inquiry –  This article examines work related to the development and validation of a measurement tool for the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework in online settings. The framework consists of three elements: social presence, teaching presence and cognitive presence, each of which is integral to the instrument. The 34 item instrument, and thus framework, was tested after being administered at four institutions in the Summer of 2007. The article also includes a discussion of implications for the future use of the CoI survey and the CoI framework itself.