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ERIC Number: EJ873400
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 28
ISSN: ISSN-1741-8887
Distance Education and the Role of the State: A Sweden/USA Perspective
Hansson, Henrik; Mihailidis, Paul; Holmberg, Carl
E-Learning, v2 n3 p285-298 2005
This study aims to comparatively explore the role of the state (federal policy) in distance-education initiatives in the higher education communities of Sweden and the United States. In a globalized context, education institutes now have the capabilities to provide education and educational resources more efficiently and to a wide-ranging and diverse audience. Within the education sector and distance education, the role of the state and federal policy becomes increasingly important, in terms of how distance-education platforms are developed and implemented in institutions of higher education. The first section of this article provides an overview of the United States and Sweden's current higher education and distance-education landscapes, focusing on the role of the state and federal policy with respect to the funding and overall aims of distance education. The development of distance education in Sweden is highly related to political goals and policies, the top down/domestic/"inside" approach. The governing body dictates the funding and policy for distance education, and implementation is left to the university body. In the United States, the landscape differs in that no one federal institution provides direct funding or unified guidelines for developing distance education, but universities are left to their own devices and capabilities for implementation. In Sweden, high ambitions and goals are set at the national level, but the educational organizations are changing only slowly. The pressures on the education organizations are high because of steadily decreasing funding and fewer and fewer staff in relation to students. In the United States, education functions primarily as a state and local responsibility. In conclusion, the article aims to exploit the differences between the two countries' role of the state (federal policy) in distance-education policy, and present a middle ground which would be most balanced for distance education, entailing some federal supervision with the allowance for a certain level of autonomy in regards to development, implementation, funding and longevity. (Contains 4 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Sweden; United States