Defining Distance Education

Because distance education is perceived as an increasingly effective method of instruction, educational researchers have examined the purposes and situations for which distance education is best suited. Frequently asked questions cluster in five areas:

  • Is technology-assisted, distant teaching as effective as traditional face-to-face teaching?
  •  What factors determine the most effective mix of technology in a given distant teaching situation?
  • What are the characteristics of effective distant students and teachers?
  • How important is teacher-student and student-student interaction in the distance education process and in what form(s) can this interaction most effectively take place?
  • What cost factors should be considered when planning or implementing distance education programs and how are those costs offset by benefits to the learner?

HETS provides faculty a place to start reading about the pros and cons of Distance Education. We invite you as an educator to review these resources at Defining Distance Education. Reflect on the readings and provide us with your feedback.  If you find a worthwhile resource, let us know at

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