ERIC Number: EJ930730
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Nov-12
Reference Count: 0
Distance Learning: Untried and Untrue
Halfond, Jay A.
New England Journal of Higher Education, Nov 2010
G. K. Chesterton famously once said: "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried." This, the author believes, applies to distance learning as well. There is far too much self-congratulatory hyperbole about the growth and pervasiveness of online learning--which exaggerates reality and overlooks the true revolution occurring less visibly. Much of what is shoved under the rubric of distance learning is not conducted at a distance, doesn't attract new learners to these institutions, and isn't terribly well supported by the schools boasting large online enrollments. Like Chesterton said of Christianity, most institutions haven't yet really attained the true potential of distance learning. American institutions have made great progress in creating technological tools that allow faculty, generally acting independently, to mitigate face time in favor of work online. Asynchronicity--not being the same place at the same time--is not a sufficient standard in itself to fulfill the promise of distance learning. The author offers a more idealistic and aspirational definition: "Reaching out beyond a region (nationally and even internationally), and providing a substantial investment in faculty and student support, an academic institution provides a full educational experience and learning community entirely online--worthy of the reputation and integrity of that institution." How many would still boast that we have achieved that standard?
Descriptors: Electronic Learning, Distance Education, Online Courses, Prior Learning, Higher Education, Web Based Instruction
New England Board of Higher Education. 45 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111. Tel: 617-357-9620; Fax: 617-338-1577; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.nebhe.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A