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Distance Learning
Principles for Effective Design, Delivery, and Evaluation


September 2001 | 256 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"This book is a fine example of what is needed for distance learning teachers,
administrators, and evaluators throughout the world. It provides good coverage of the timely topics that face distance educators daily. For those considering starting a distance learning course or program, this book would provide a solid footing upon which to make important decisions."
--
REVIEW OF HIGHER EDUCATION

"The overall strength of this volume is its emphasis on practical considerations that an instructor is likely to encounter in creating a distance course. . . . particularly strong in presenting easily understood principles of good practice for those who must plan and implement distance learning."
--EVALUATION & PROGRAM PLANNING

What delivery methods are available to make education accessible to a wide variety of potential learners? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How can instructors create effective learning environments in distance courses? What support from administrators and staff is essential? What guidelines are used by accrediting agencies to assure program quality? This highly readable book by three experienced faculty members answers these questions and more. Both theoretical and practical, the book presents proven principles and research-based advice. Drawing upon their experience with a variety of delivery modes, the authors provide readers with tips they can use in designing, implementing, and evaluating distance courses and programs. Instructors and administrators alike will find much valuable assistance, including:

  • A wealth of examples and strategies based on field-tested models, student preferences, and the authors' own extensive experiences
  • Comprehensive coverage that addresses available delivery options, factors to consider when selecting a delivery mode, designing a syllabus for a distance course, fostering student learning and development, and providing student support services
  • Concrete and practical approaches for assessing student learning, conducting course and program evaluation, and addressing accreditation guidelines
  • Summary tips and references to web sites that conclude each chapter provide convenient summaries for readers and guide them to additional resources
  • A companion web site that illustrates the text's coverage with concrete examples

Drawing upon the rich details provided by the authors, faculty and administrators will be able to meet the challenge of developing and evaluating successful distance learning courses and programs. 


 
Acknowledgments
 
Introduction
Background and Audience  
Overview of the Contents  
Our Companion Web Site  
 
1. Distance Education: What Is It? And Why Is It Expanding So Rapidly?
Impacts of Technology on Distance Education  
The Prevalence of Distance Education in the United States  
Societal Changes Contributing to the Growth of Distance Education  
The Impact of Distance Education on Traditional Instruction  
Criticisms of Distance Education  
Conclusion  
 
2. Attracting Students to Distance Learning
How to Assess the Need and Demand for a Distance Program  
Target Audience  
Instructional Design and Mode of Delivery  
Strategies for Marketing Distance Courses and Programs  
Specific Ideas for Promoting and Marketing Distance Programs  
Conclusion  
 
3. Good Practices in Distance Education: How to Promote Student Learning and Development
The Good Practices  
Summary Tips  
 
4. The Syllabus for Distance Learning Courses
What Is a Syllabus?  
More Than a List  
Outline for a Syllabus: Putting It Together  
Other Issues  
Summary Tips  
 
5. Delivery Methods for Distance Education
Synchronous or Asynchronous?  
Synchronous Delivery Methods  
Asynchronous Delivery Methods  
Conclusion  
 
6. Selecting Delivery Methods
Fundamental Principles to Observe in Selecting Delivery Methods  
A Decision Tree Approach to Selecting a Delivery Method  
Conclusion  
 
7. Support Services
Support Services Prior to Enrollment  
Support Services for Enrolled Students  
Support Services After Course or Program Completion  
Summary  
 
8. Ensuring High Completion Rates
The Problem of Retention  
Retention in Distance Education Programs  
Strategies for Improving Completion Rates  
Summary Tips  
 
9. Assessing Learning Outcomes
Guiding Principles  
Methods of Assessment  
Conclusion  
Summary Tips  
 
10. Program Evaluation
Evaluating Program Inputs  
Program Processes  
Assessing Outcomes  
Analysis of Costs and Outcomes  
Conclusion  
Summary Tips  
 
11. Accrditation
Guidelines for Distance Learning  
Providing Evidence Regarding the Program's Effectiveness in Meeting the Guidelines  
Conclusion  
Summary Tips  
 
Conclusion
 
Author Index
 
Subjedt Index
 
About the Authors

"The overall strength of this volume is its emphasis on practical considerations that an instructor is likely to encounter in creating a distance course. . . . particularly strong in presenting easily understood principles of good practice for those who must plan and implement distance learning."

EVALUATION & PROGRAM PLANNING

"This book is a fine example of what is needed for distance learning teachers,
administrators, and evaluators throughout the world. It provides good coverage of the timely topics that face distance educators daily. For those considering starting a distance learning course or program, this book would provide a solid footing upon which to make important decisions."

REVIEW OF HIGHER EDUCATION
Key features
  •  Research that informs recommendations and a wealth of examples and strategies based on field-tested models, student preferences, and the authors' own extensive experiences results in advice that readers can trust.
  • Comprehensive coverage addresses available delivery options (and their respective strengths and shortcomings), factors to consider in selecting a delivery mode, designing a syllabus for a distance course, fostering student learning and development, providing student support services, and assessing student performance.
  • Practical matters are stressed throughout, such as attracting students, ensuring high rates of completion, conducting program evaluation, and preparing a self-study for accreditation review.
  • A companion web site illustrates the text's coverage with very real and concrete examples.
  • Conclusions or Summary Tips, references to web sites, and further readings conclude each chapter to provide convenient summaries for readers and to guide them to additional resources.

 

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