Distance education in an era of eLearning: challenges and opportunities for a campus-focused institution

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Journal Article
Higher Education Research and Development, 2010, 29 (1), pp. 15 - 28
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The growth of eLearning technologies has blurred the boundaries of educational modes to a point where distance education programs can be offered without drawing particular notice on campus. The experience of distance education staff working in campus-focused universities and their perceptions of their chances of successfully planning and teaching by distance should inform evaluation of a universityâs quality framework. In this case study, we report on the experience of distance educators at an Australian campus-focused university. We identify organisational structure and culture as critical success factors for quality in distance education, with technology a, perhaps surprisingly, minor consideration. While the eLearning era has opened the door to a distance education cottage industry, eLearning strategy has failed to comprehensively prepare the way for the issues unique to distance education. The paper recommends that campus-focused universities must protect their reputation by systematically assuring the quality of their (inevitable) distance offerings.
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