Distance education vs teach yourself…

In reading for 601 Week 6, Keegan is cited in discussing the definition of distance education and how the role of the institution makes a big difference.  Does the institution take a significant role in planning and preparing courses, and providing students with support, or is the material presented and left for the student to teach themself? This is an interesting point.  I think originally I wanted to believe that “online classes” were simply the material being put out on the web, and I follow along, complete a few simple assignments, and then get a degree.  However, that does not fully encompass the definition of distance education, as that definition includes both teaching and learning.  As much as we as students would like to be left alone to do the work, get the grade and move on, we must admit that we still need instructor interaction.  In past courses where there was no interaction, I can say I got nothing out of them and don’t remember what I learned, if anything.  In newer classes, it seems universities are embracing the idea of a full spectrum learning environment and the instructors have embraced teaching from a distance.  This classroom should be treated no differently by the instructor, except to reinforce their presence due to the distance.  It does make a difference, and I think will help increase pass rates and retention over time.

Keegan was quoted from:

Rumble, G. (1989). On defining distance education. The American Journal of Distance Education, 3(2), 8-21.


3 thoughts on “Distance education vs teach yourself…

  1. Peter,
    You identify a critical element in distance education- that of tutor role- I can not over emphasize the key role tutors play as you correctly say, this classroom should not be treated differently.
    I wonder how the dynamics will change as Technology develops further!
    Thank you and God bless you,

  2. I agree that instructor participation/interaction can impact student success rates. Having an instructor who is active in facilitating discussions and checking in with students brings a sense of community to members of the class, I have experienced both types of instructors in distance education courses. Courses with instructors who encourage participation and deeper thinking really grab my attention more and get me thinking more.

    • I agree Stephanie! My husband is also enrolled in school and he hates it when his professor calls him out! But when he does, it makes him mad enough that he wants to prove him wrong and the get the work done asap! So there is something to the engagement technique!

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