Sunday, November 7, 2010

Trends in Distance Education

In some ways, reading the Moore and Kearsley chapter and the Horizon Report can seem surreal. Technological developments including Artificial Intelligence and holographs are posed as coming into common use. How will organizations evolve to deal with the rapidity of resultant educational change? How will teaching and learning evolve? For the blog post for Block 5, please consider the questions sets from the Instructor Notes and post your comments to the issues noted below.

Mobile Learning
Will mobile learning become a delivery method for distance education? If not mobile learning, what delivery method do you think may become commonplace? What types of authentic learning and collaborative activities can be devised for these new environments? How does learning change? What are the benefits? The drawbacks?

Education and Commercialization
What do you think about the integration of corporate business practices and decision-making with post secondary learning? Are our learners really 'customers' for social networking corporations? What role should education play? What are the implications for learners? Teachers? The future?

Preparing for the Future
How can you prepare or expand your instructional skills to integrate emerging technologies? How do we help instructors prepare?

Open Topics Section
Here is where you can post your thoughts and reflections on topics that are of concern and interest to you that don’t fit in the topics above.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Evolution of Distance Education—Major Milestone(s)

The readings for this week provide different lenses through which to examine the landscape of DE. The DE at a Glance Home gives a good overview of the field of DE in general, the Saba reading takes a look in more depth at the US scene and the Canadian reading focuses on the Canadian scene. In addition, the Interactive DE Timeline zooms in on the history of DE in SK and the DVD focuses on the history of televised instruction in SK.

Having read the readings assigned for this week you are probably feeling quite exhausted by the evolution of DE globally, in US, in Canada, and in SK. What evolutionary DE milestone do you consider to be particularly significant and why? Also, please comment on any DE milestones that you have experienced.

After you have time to read and digest the readings for this week, please post your comments to this BLOG. Again, if you’re first to post you only have to read our post—at least initially. Please read all the posts before you post your comment and, where possible and appropriate, comment on what others in the class have written on this topic, as well as referring to the readings for the week.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Does the discipline of Distance Education have a future?

In his article "A Canadian Perspective on the Uncertain Future of Distance Education," Distance Education.  Melbourne: Aug 2005. Vol. 26, Iss. 2; pg. 239, 16 pgs,  Bill Muirhead expresses concern about the discipline of Distance Education (DE) being no longer considered the major informing body to all aspects of DE  delivery,  services, and programs.  Traditionally DE was a distinct field with influence over all matters related to learning and teaching at a distance, and as you will find out in this class, some of these distances were huge.  The only way that some students could complete school or obtain a certificate or degree was by learning and completing programs by not actually being on campus.  They would stay home or go to a regional centre to participate in learning.

In our modern times we are finding that many learners select to take courses at a distance in order to have family or job flexibility, while living a block or two from the university, and potentially being able to physically attend class on campus.  Thus DE courses are meeting the needs of the distance learner who lives in town.  

Muirhead's comment "distance education [being] conceived of only in terms of overcoming the tyranny of distance" by enabling interaction and material sharing between students and instructors, by connecting over the distance can be seen in contrast to the more and more widely spread rich technology enhanced learning (TEL) environments that exist all over campus.  Are these TEL environments informed by the discipline of DE?  Should they be?  What does it mean today to learn at a distance?

Muirhead asks the question "why, when aspects of distance education are so widely practiced at the beginning of the 21st century, do distance educators feel so pessimistic about their roles and possible influence in a world increasingly using learning at a distance?"  

Another question that Muirhead poses and then comments on is "How is Greater Availability of Distance Learning Opportunities Transforming Traditional Conceptions of Distance Education?"

Perhaps the concept of DE needs to be reconfigured, or maybe we need to give what occurs today as DE a new name (read the connection to Chaos Theory in the reading).   What could the future landscape of DE look like?  What are its options?

These above questions in bold and italics are some of the questions you should be thinking about and deliberating on in your responses to this post.  You can reflect on the reading and connect aspects of the reading to your own understanding about the meaning of DE and how you use it in some way, or see others use it, for teaching and learning purposes in your classroom or workplace environment.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Welcome to the ECI 833 Class Blog

Over the next 13 weeks you will become engaged in readings and discussions that will enable you to think critically about distance education (DE), about the different delivery media used in the DE landscape, and also about the different social media and interactive media used in the actual learning activities.

We will post material to this blog for you to read and reflect on and we will pose questions based on some of the material.  The purpose of this blog for this class is that you will regularly read the posts, consider the content posted and questions asked in a critical and reflective manner, and of course comment on the material by posting a comment.