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Issues & Questions in Distance Education
Susan Connell
Fall 2004

  • Garrison (2000) questions whether distance education theory HAS kept up with technological advances, but looking towards the future, one might ponder whether theory actually CAN ever keep up with advances.
  • Garrison (2000) notes that Wedemeyer (1971) advocates freedom of choice for learners which brings up a number of questions including:
    • How will learners know what they need to know?
    • Given greater freedom of choice, will learners choose everything that is essential or just what is expedient or fun?
    • How will cultural differences impact learners' choices?
    • How can courses be designed to accommodate different learning options without sacrificing content?
    • How can learners following different paths to the same general end be evaluated fairly and with some level of consistency?
  • In both theoretical and practical terms, what can be done to demonstrate to both institutions and individuals that distance education can provde learning opportunities with results similar to traditional education?

Garrison, R. (2000). "Theoretical Challenges for Distance Education in the 21st Century: A shift from Structural to Transactional Issues." International Review of Research inOpen and Distance Learning 1(1): 1-14.

Wedemeyer, C. A. (1971). Independent Study. Encyclopedia of Education IV. R. Deighton. New York, McMillan: 548-557.


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© 2003, 2004 Susan Connell, Educational Technology Student at San Diego State University