Generation Distance Education
Perspectives on Distance Education Readings II
From its humble beginnings in correspondence courses televised
content, the spread of broadband Internet availability and
emergence of educational technology have brought distance
education into the mainstream. With this new prominence come
new competitive challenges as well as new opportunities for
growth of a global nature. Evans and Nation (2003) cite Wedemeyer
(1981) to remind us that we must use these new technological
powers for good - as a means and not an end in the development
of the next generation of DE.
note that DE "is a product of modernity" (p.
785) while computer and communications technologies have "fostered
a 'disrespect' for time and distance" (p. 783) that extend
boundaries and promote globalization for education as well
as other endeavors. However, they are quick to point out that
researchers and practitioners often ignore lessons of the
past in trying to create a new paradigm for distance education.
When viewed in the context of globalization, it is more important
than ever to maintain sight of factors beyond education including
the "economic, political, and social context within which
teaching and learning occur (p. 787).
section seems to be written from a Commonwealth perspective
that reflects a historical elitism in regard to higher education.
In Britain, and perhaps other Commonwealth countries, the
concept of higher education beyond privileged classes is
relatively new, making the authors' observations more relevant
in this context. In some ways, the globalization of DE is
just amplification of what is more common in America where
individuals of all classes and cultures have had access
to higher education for several generations. And we are
still debating the best ways to deal with the social, economic
and political contexts that impact learning. Because these
interrelated issues are more prominent (in some cases, necessarily
exaggerated) in a global perspective it is more important
than ever to consider these aspects when researching DE.
Factors such as poverty, freedom of expression, class divisions,
societal gender roles and similar fields can have a huge
impact on any DE endeavor, and must be taken into consideration
when developing the next generation of DE theory and practice.
Evans, T., & Nation, D. (2003). Globalization and the
Reinvention of Distance Education. In M. G. Moore & W.
G. Anderson (Eds.), Handbook of Distance Education (pp. 777-792).
Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.