ERIC Number: ED363764
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Improving Distance Education Universities through Institutional Research: A Consideration of the Roles and Functions of the Institutional Researcher.
Several theorists have categorized distance education as an industrial process. Most institutional research can be seen as contributing to this process. This is especially true in the following areas: market research, organization and methods studies, quality control research, the research activities that are components of management information systems, and research and development efforts such as studies of the possible application of new technologies and developmental testing of prototype courses. Notwithstanding this model, institutional research is not a purely technical matter and needs to be understood as a social process of knowledge construction. Complications arise because distance teaching universities have other aims beyond profit maximization. When institutional researchers are full academic members of the university, this can and should profoundly affect their roles as researchers. In such cases, institutional research can serve as a vehicle of self-defense and/or self-criticism. In the existing educational system, institutional often must "respond" to the needs of policymakers. Because the needs of policymakers tend to be short-term and affected by pressing circumstances, institutional researchers have a duty to be aware of wider issues, findings of other research, theoretical developments, and trends in institutional statistics so that they can alert policymakers to developing issues. (MN)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Open Univ., Walton, Bletchley, Bucks (England). Inst. of Educational Technology.