Encyclopedia of Distance Learning (4 Volumes)

Encyclopedia of Distance Learning (4 Volumes)

Caroline Howard (HC Consulting, USA), Judith V. Boettcher (Designing for Learning, USA), Lorraine Justice (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong), Karen D. Schenk (K. D. Schenk and Associates Consulting, USA), Patricia L. Rogers (Bemidji State University, USA) and Gary A. Berg (California State University, USA)
Release Date: April, 2005|Copyright: © 2005 |Pages: 2418
ISBN13: 9781591405559|ISBN10: 1591405556|EISBN13: 9781591405542|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-555-9


The innovations in computer and communications technologies combined with on-going needs to deliver educational programs to students regardless of their physical locations, have lead to the innovation of distance education programs and technologies. To keep up with recent developments in both areas of technologies and techniques related to distance education programs, educators, administrators, and researchers are in constant needs of learning about issues, solutions, and challenges of these technologies.

The Encyclopedia of Distance Learning offers the most comprehensive coverage of the issues, concepts, trends, and technologies of distance learning. Over 400 international contributors from over 35 countries have provided extensive coverage of topics such as workforce training, accessing education, digital divide, and the evolution of distance and online education into a multibillion dollar enterprise. This 4-volume set encyclopedia is edited by leading international experts with multiple years of professional and academic experience in the field. With more than 2,000 terms and definitions and over 6,000 additional references, this authoritative 4-volume encyclopedia is considered the foremost reference source for the latest understanding, discoveries, and research in the field of distance learning. The Encyclopedia of Distance Learning (4 volume set) is an excellent source of comprehensive knowledge and literature on the topic of distance learning programs.

Topics Covered

The many academic areas covered in this publication include, but are not limited to:

  • Accreditation for distance learning programs
  • Administration and leadership of online learning
  • Best practices in distance learning technologies and applications
  • Best practices in instructional design
  • Best practices in virtual universities
  • Best use of adaptive technologies
  • Coverage of teaching issues and trends
  • Faculty, student and staff issues of online learning
  • International computer-based learning, pedagogy, theory and practices
  • International intellectual copyright issues
  • International issues in technology
  • International management practices
  • International public policy issues
  • New landscape of online learning and change processes
  • Online learning and teaching methodologies
  • Online learning as a supplement to classroom learning
  • Practices by geographical location
  • Technology and tools for building infrastructure for online learning
  • Tools and programs for special learners
  • University/corporate alliances in support of online learning

Reviews and Testimonials

"It will provide libraries with valuable resources and needed context to understand the constantly evolving world of distance learning."

– Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship, Vol. 11(4) 2006

Recommended for academic libraries and larger public libraries serving distance learning programs.

– Library Journal, March 15, 2006

The contributors to the work provide exceptionally inclusive research and reporting on the subject of distance learning, specifically as it applies to online learnng.

– Education Libraries Volume 28, No.2 Winter 2005

"This encyclopedia is an excellent reference tool for college, university, large public, or special libraries."

– CHOICE, October 2005, Vol. 43 No. 2

One of the main contributions of the Encyclopedia of Distance Learning is its extensive coverage of topics regarding distance learning.

– Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education (TOJDE), July 2005, Volume 6 (3)

...the Encyclopedia of Distance Learning may be valuable for academic collections serving students with high interest in distance education.

– Reference & User Services Quarterly 45(3)

These four volumes will, I predict, become a standard reference at a time of increased convergence of traditional and Internet-based teaching and learning. Collectively, they provide an extensive map of the field in 2005 and a snapshot of its increasingly complex parts.

– Journal of Distance Education

The material is all original and would be worth the price for an institution that deals with distance learning to any degree to have in their library.

– American Reference Books Annual (ARBA) online 2006

The four-volume set of the Encyclopedia of Distance Learning is full of quality work, knowledgeable contributions, and stimulation of ideas for research that is second to none.

– International Journal of Distance Education Technologies, Volume 3, Issue 4

"This is a truly global encyclopedia of computer-based distance learning, both in terms of the coverage of topics and in terms of contributors."

– Prof. Adams Bodomo, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

"This encyclopedia covers essentials of distance education, be its theory, pedagogy, management, technology, organization, finances, staff development or assessment. It shall serve the purpose of one stop reference source."

– Prof. Ramesh Sharma, Indira Gandhi National Open University, India

The Encyclopedia of Distance Learning is the most comprehensive source currently available on the topic.

– Prof. Ellen Cohn, University of Pittsburgh, USA

In these times of high connectivity, the knowledge sharing within this encyclopedia is its greatest strength. This collection of professional practice will serve as a useful tool for the distance education community and those wishing to join.

– Prof. Elspeth McKay, RMIT University, Australia

I have never seen such an elaborate presentation of all facets of distance learning applications and technologies in a single place.

– Veer Sain Batra, Canadian Pacific Ships, Canada

The Encyclopedia of Distance Learning gives a unique chance for educators worldwide to stay updated with recent developments in a wide range of issues related to distance learning, and serves as a great stimulus for new members to join the community of distance education.

– Prof. Victoria Tuzlukova, Rostov State Pedagogical University, Russia

"This is a commendable effort by the authors and the editors to have broken the ground in compiling this unique material at this time when Distance Education (DE) is becoming a global practice more especially in widening accessibility to education."

– Prof. Dele Braimoh, National University of Lesotho, Southern Africa

A comprehensive reference useable by academic researchers and practical managers alike.

– Prof. William Benjamin Martz, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, USA

The Encyclopedia of Distance Learning is a useful resource for distance educators, practitioners and learners, providing insights to all facets of distance learning applications and technologies.

– Dip. Inf. Arun Kumar Tripathi, Msc. Research Assistant, Department of Philosophy of Technology, Dresden University of Technology, Germany

The strengths of the Encyclopedia of Distance Learning are immediately obvious: 400 international contributors, 2,000 terms and definitions, 6,000 references. It is a major undertaking and praiseworthy accomplishment to assemble such a wide range of articles and authors on nearly every imaginable distance learning topic.

– John Taylor, University of Northern Colorado, USA

Table of Contents and List of Contributors

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By Caroline Howard, Touro University International, USA

As we begin the 21st century, a rich array of digital technologies is enabling an explosion of programmatic and content options for online learning. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, “Telecommunications technologies are rapidly becoming core components of the instructional experience of students in the U.S.” (National Center for Education Statistics, 2002). Worldwide, educational institutions are adopting technologies supporting online learning and delivering entire online and distance courses and degrees. This same phenomenon is also driving the enhancement of classroom-based instruction.  Tracking and monitoring this process of evolution and deployment of innovative and transformational events can be overwhelming. We hope that this encyclopedia serves to assist in this challenge.

The Encyclopedia of Distance Learning brings together articles covering major arenas where online learning and technology are impacting education. These arenas span the educational landscape, including K-12 education, higher education, continuing education, and professional and technical training. The impact of online learning is diffuse, influencing teaching and learning in all contexts of online learning whether in blends of classroom and online or classroom-based. The articles reflect the latest research and theory on the many dimensions of online learning and technology while describing the range of phenomena and best practices for online learning programs and environments.

Submissions to this encyclopedia explore how K-12, higher education, and training institutions have moved past initial pilots and limited initiatives to broad-based programs using online learning and related technologies to provide high quality education for students, reducing the impact of time, space, distance and administrative barriers. Holistically, the articles describe how institutions are reshaping themselves to leverage the power of information technologies to accommodate more interactive relationships between students and institutions, between faculty/teachers and students and between institutions and societies. The aim of the encyclopedia is to address the needs of a broad audience of educators, trainers, administrators, librarians, human resource professionals, and instructional designers involved in all aspects of online learning.

This encyclopedia features a foreword from visionary Seymour Papert. In the early 1970s at MIT, Papert advanced the concept of the learner as an active participant in learning through his creation of LOGO and his development of the Constructivist approach based on the assertion that learning is most effective when the learner constructs meaning (Molnar, 1997). Using computer-driven LEGOS, he had his students define their problems and then, use tacit practical problem-solving skills to solve them. His approach evolved from a focus on “computer literacy”, an appreciation of computing, to “computer fluency” (Harel & Papert, 1991), the application of computers to solve real problems.

As mentioned in the Publisher’s Note to the Encyclopedia of Distance Learning, the editing of the encyclopedia was a collaborative effort of several expert professionals who were approached to provide this seminal work in the ever-changing, ever-growing world of distance learning at all levels. From my viewpoint the evolution of distance learning has covered very intentional and systematic steps which I will see as broken down in the following subtopics.

Migrating to Distance Learning

The first major focus in the evolution of distance learning pertains to fundamental developments and issues in the rapidly evolving technological and educational environments of the 21st century. Some of the articles in the encyclopedia consider the milieu of online learning and technology along with the prerequisites for effective program development. Some of these articles touch on systems models of educational processes, comparison of traditional and distance education, exploration of online learning growth trends, a comparative study of the diffusion of Web-based education in various countries, and a description of the manufacturing mode for online education.

As we consider the migration to distance learning, it is also important to reflect on the effect the changes create on traditional education paradigms in teaching, management and administration. Therefore, the articles in this encyclopedia relate how successful implementations of online learning and technology require planning and managing change, models for creating effective educational change involving technology, and change management issues such as faculty participation in distance education and case studies for implementing learning support systems.

In considering management and administration issues, you will find articles that describe support systems required for faculty and students as well as problems, success factors, and scalability issues in online learning. Similarly, institutions providing online learning programs must be fiscally responsible, maximizing revenues while minimizing costs while providing access to quality education. Considering successful elements for self-funding of e-learning programs, the articles dealing with the financial focus discuss how to generate revenue and the cost-effectiveness of online learning and technology, including new models for improving learning while reducing costs.

Developing the consensus, cooperation, culture and communities required for optimal online learning environments are also covered, presenting methodologies for building consensus using e-research—Delphi and Nominal Group Techniques—informal communication techniques, culture, interaction and faculty support of online learning.

Developing Effective Online Learning

The second phase of the adoption and acceptance of distance learning is the development of effective programs. A variety of articles are presented in this encyclopedia that provides guidance on using online learning and technology to deliver a quality educational experience. Entries outline the fundamental concepts that must be considered to implement effective online learning and technology, teaching and learning paradigms (the learner-centered paradigm and the constructivist approach) that are a particularly good fit for capabilities of the online environment, suggestions of learning activities that leverage the use of teams and information rich environments, and adaptive learning frameworks in Web-based learning and collaborative learning in a contribution-oriented pedagogy.

Guidance on strategies for designing and continuing successful online education are addressed through articles that present contextual designs of online learning technologies, multimedia instruction, and specific applications including WebExcellence in mental skills education, an interactive e-lab system, and speech/text alignment benefits Web-based language learning.

Articles describe an array of technologies and tools that can be used to facilitate the design and delivery of online learning and distance education such as the role of technology in online learning, Web-based synchronized multimedia lecturing, tablet PCs as online learning tools, collaborative technologies, multimedia lecturing, tools and models, text-only techniques, XML-based technologies to developing online courses, a Web-based distance learning system using cooperative agents, use an e-card for authoring, hypermedia for distance education, and required physical enhancements for Internet courses.

From the student perspective, issues are presented on how to best design online learning programs, respecting diverse talents and ways of learning, measurement of learning styles, stress, workload, Web access and legal issues, culture, interaction, and trust.

One important online learning trend—collaboration is covered in numerous entries. Articles describing collaborative and cooperative learning, group leadership in online collaborative learning, issues in collaborative learning, observations of practice, and support for collaborative authentic activities are presented in detail.

One of the effects of the more democratic environment of online courses is that the roles of faculty and students shift. The role of the teacher shifts to more of a mentor and/or moderator and the role of the student becomes more active participant and contributor. These roles are detailed as well as how to bring out the best in virtual teams and how methods of computer mediated communication affect student outcomes.

Educational Venues

No matter the venue of online learning, support for distance education programs is a major indicator of their success. Articles addressing the influences of technologies and anonymity in the classroom, participatory evaluation, student benefits, perceptions of classroom-based online learning, and scaffolding online with classroom-based instruction can be found within this encyclopedia. You’ll find some articles focusing on K-12 levels, including administering a virtual school, designing distributed learning, and implementing integrated activities for the elementary curriculum.

In the higher education realm, you find articles on the “new space” for the university in the digital age, university transformation, and overview of the role of virtual organizations in post-graduate education as well as innovations in Web-enhanced learning at traditional universities and strategies to increase accessibility and usability.

Some articles deal with training/continuing education. These articles describe computer-supported network-based learning environments for the workplace and the e-learning industry that supports these educational settings.

Ensuring the Future

As the phenomenon of distance learning becomes more widely adopted, quality considerations take on more importance. Frameworks for evaluating distance and elearning will help you evaluate distributed cooperative learning in online distance learning, open learning environments, and training. Various aspects of evaluating student performance and outcomes are introduced.

The future of teaching and learning technologies depends on a great many factors, such as implementation effectiveness, managerial excellence and general acceptance by the end users. For the novice to this field, the Encyclopedia of Distance Learning is intended to serve as a mechanism to jumpstart your introduction to a concept whose potential is limitless. To those who are already involved in some aspect of the field of distance learning, you will find like and opposing viewpoints, new perspectives and possibly suggestions intended not only to serve as a reference to your already accumulated knowledge but also to trigger your thoughts and contributions to this educational revolution.


  • Harel, I., & Papert, S. (Eds.). (1991). Constructionism. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corp.
  • Molnar, A. (1997, June). Computers in education: A brief history. T.H.E. Journal, 24(11). Retrieved September 1, 2004, from http://www.thejournal.com/magazine/vault/A1681B.cfm
  • National Center for Education Statistics (2002, July). Teaching with technology: Use of telecommunications technology by post secondary instructional faculty and staff. Retrieved August 11, 2003, from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2002161http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp? pubid=2002161

    By Patricia L. Rogers, Bemidji State University, USA

    Thinking About the TILDE

    It is probably safe to assume that anyone reading any part of this book grew up with encyclopedias. We have memories of looking up places, dates, or exotic animals and reading the short descriptions and explanations for each item (maybe even copying the entries down on ruled newsprint, but that’s another story!). If the encyclopedia was well done, we became curious and wanted to know more than what was presented in the entries. The volumes of a great encyclopedia, particularly one that spans the field of distance learning and teaching, must be more than a reference resource, more than a compilation or simple collection of entries. So how do we capture the full range of issues, ideas, practical applications, strategies, theories, and concerns associated with distance learning?

    As I gathered articles and invited authors to contribute to this important encyclopedia on distance learning, I needed a metaphor, some sort of model for thinking about distance learning, teaching, and the technologies that support this environment. I chose the TILDE, not only as a convenient acronym, but also for its unique features as a “…dual, if not split-minded character” (Korpela, 1998, p. 3). The TILDE, besides its use as a diacritical mark for many languages, was originally an ASCII character for the overline. Korpela tells us that “the originally intended primary use as overline is probably completely forgotten, partly because the glyph of the character is tilde-like (“wave”), not a straight overline. But in the early days of computing, when bits were expensive and bytes cost fortunes, people took the tilde into all kinds of uses. Just because it was there, in the keyboards and character code” (p. 3).

    The TILDE as an acronym works very well for thinking about the kinds of articles I wanted to include in this encyclopedia: Technology, Instruction (teaching), Learning, Design, and Evaluation. Each of these categories encompasses a range of both media applications and various aspects of teaching, learning, and program improvement. While it may seem that we can discuss each of these as separate entities, the reality of online distance learning has merged all aspects of teaching (professor and instructor, support services, interactivity, design, evaluation, technology) and learning (usability, access, interactivity, design, evaluation, technology). Indeed, online distance learning is a manifestation of a true reform/shift in education since societies began educating the masses and not just the elite. More on that to follow.

    Online Distance Learning: A True Paradigm Shift

    The promise of various technologies to “revolutionize” education has never quite met such lofty expectations, that is, until today. Online distance learning, REAL learning not just glorified electronic correspondence courses, has changed forever the face of education:

    As I sit in my comfortable home office, a loft overlooking a lake in the North Woods. I am on my computer chatting in realtime with instant messaging built into my course management system. The student is having trouble visualizing a model. We open the white board and I draw the ideas. She responds with some modifications, and suddenly understands. While I wait for her changes, I track the progress of some of the members of the class who appear to be struggling. I send a private email to a fellow who has just posted a great discussion topic, but who rarely participates in the other topics. I ask him if he would check a related posting and comment, letting him know I am aware of his participation and am giving him a gentle nudge. The cell phone rings, another student with a quick question that seemed easier to ask using voice rather than typing. We resolve the issue and have a laugh over a funny typo in my last post. Meanwhile, the student using the white board has her “aha” moment, thanks me briefly, and signs off. I continue to monitor my email and instant messages while grading the last assignments. I’ll go to the office on campus tomorrow to meet with two students who are ready to start their final thesis work. Next week, I am at a conference though my students will still “see” me everyday in class and can call me on the cell phone if they have any immediate questions.

    There is an old joke about bringing back three people from 100 years ago: a blacksmith, a surgeon, and a teacher into the 21st century. The blacksmith would be amazed at the advances in metal working and would be hard pressed to recognize the computer-controlled robots that create everything from cars to memory chips (and probably more than a few horseshoes as well). The surgeon would be far out of his league in the operating room and would not recognize the various monitoring devices much less grasp how he could perform surgery on a patient in Fargo while operating from a room in Paris (see for example: http://dir.salon.com/health/col/bob/2000/01/31/telemedicine/index.html).

    The teacher, however, would have very little trouble recognizing the rows of desks, use of books, rules of order and even teaching to the (standardized) test!

    That punchline has lately lost its punch. No teacher from 100 years ago would recognize my home office as described above as any kind of classroom, much less one that is interactive and vibrant with learning. Like the surgeon and the blacksmith, the tools I now use for teaching are far beyond mere modifications of previous tools. That is, I have not just upgraded my chalkboard for PowerPoint slides. I am now using interactive modeling, Flash animation, and multiple media to provide several access points to learning. I don’t just teach a class in whole group session, I am actually providing more one-on-one time than I can possibly provide in my face-to-face classroom on campus.

    What happened to previous “revolutionary” educational media? Why did things like educational TV, film and video, or even programmed learning fail to profoundly change education in the way online and distance learning technologies have changed education? I contend that the answer lies in the intent of the use of such media. The intent seems to have been to “teacher-proof” education and learning. To make learning into units of delivered knowledge, which by the way, is very easy to match to a standardized test: deliver facts -> test facts. The fear, and it seems now that it was not a well founded fear, was that educational TV would replace teachers. What happened was that teachers actually had to deliver more in terms of supplementing and modifying curriculum to meet the needs of their learners.

    The demand on teachers being even more knowledgeable increased and the need for more teachers grew.

    As one who researches and practices online distance learning, I believe the growth in instructional management systems (IMS), new interactive objects and shared objects, the push for seamless integration of systems and coding standards has more to do with recognizing and supporting teaching and learning, than it does in teacher-proofing instruction. That is, the teacher-designer (Rogers, 2002) and the learners are the focus of the new technologies, rather than a program-controlled delivery system. The curriculum is important in terms of the desired competencies learners seek, but it is the teacher-designer and, increasingly, the learners who control and shape the learning environment independently and unbound by any particular technology or pre-programmed curriculum. It all boils down to learner needs, sound teaching, and appropriate instructional design, working with the characteristics of the variety of multiple media available to online learners to create an accessible and interactive environment for learning.

    The revolution is not only in being freed from the classroom, it is also being freed from time! Today, neither teachers nor learners are bound by time. I have taught classes with students in Japan, Minnesota, Canada, and Colorado simultaneously and even had these students working in several small groups. Time no longer hinders communication or progress.

    Such freedom is only possible when all aspects of true interactive distance learning are working together, what I have established here under the acronym of the TILDE: Technology, Instruction (teaching), Learning, Design, and Evaluation. All participants and the supporting media have to be present to create the kind of rich teaching and learning environment needed to make revolutionary 21st century learning possible.

    The next revolution will occur through two different aspects of e-learning: (a) changing policies and practices that are still time and institution bound and (b) in changing the way we think about learning in this new environment.

    In the P-K-12 world, time questions will take the form of asking what it really means to move from fifth grade to sixth, or what a graduating senior should know. How long should a school “year” really be in terms of sound pedagogy and not a throwback to our agrarian roots. Who provides the courses? In higher education, we will also question what an academic year really is, and how we should think about a two-year vs. four-year degrees, etc. Are we about teaching competencies or marking seat time? Are we interested in graduating more qualified people in, say, health care, from any one particular institution or can we work collectively to ensure a high graduation rate of highly skilled health care workers? If funding were not dependent on enrollment counts (FTE), would we really care who ultimately grants the degree?

    These questions are being asked today, but the answers have not evolved beyond those encountered by our time-traveling teacher from 100 years ago: use standardized tests (most often focused only on factual knowledge and word recall) to determine knowledge gains and points in time on the academic calendar to “move on” to the next grade or to graduate out of school altogether. Or, in the case of higher education, remain competitive with other institutions as a result of funding policies that reward headcounts over collaborative programming.

    The second aspect, changing the way we think about learning, is addressed in the next section.

    The Curriculum is the Curriculum is the Curriculum?

    Distance learning, specifically in its online form, tends to be a bit “split-minded” like the TILDE. That is, more traditional face-to-face (F2F) instruction is still perceived to be somehow better than distance learning. The assumption is the curriculum is somehow changed in non-F2F instruction. And the quality of distance learning is always in question, with the assumption being that quality is present only in the F2F version of the course, thus setting up a false dichotomy. My response to all of this is always to say quality is quality. Let me paraphrase Gertrude Stein: the curriculum is the curriculum is the curriculum! Or is it?

    One of the entries in this volume is contributed by Donald Norris who has captured the essence of the e-learning revolution in education. At one point, Norris says:

    When it comes to online learning, we have set our sights too low, by far. We have largely digitized our existing approaches to learning – paving the cow paths, as it were. Most practices have focused on existing learning relationships and experiences, rather than on new experiences and value propositions that could be created for students, faculty, staff, and other stakeholders. Many institutions have failed to see e-learning infrastructures as part of emerging institutional and system-wide infrastructures that fuse academic and administrative processes, experiences, and value propositions. And many institutions have so far failed to create enterprise-wide strategies for leveraging these resources in new ways. Moreover, we have nurtured individual innovations with a lower case “i” rather than the systemic, enterprise-wide innovations that can truly leverage the potential value from enterprise resources, relationships, and practices. We must raise our sights and broaden our aspirations.

    Norris is calling for teacher designers and indeed the whole educational community to move beyond simply reformatting what we already do! So, yes, we may make strong arguments about our on-ground curriculum and our online curriculum being the same BUT at the same time we may be short-changing our learners by limiting ourselves to replication of the onground experience. This is a very different way of thinking about e-learning, particularly in terms of the demands of competency-based learning that is the heart of most higher education programs. It certainly flies in the face of P-K-12 realities of state and federal mandated standards-based testing!

    But Norris and many of the other authors in this volume have also touched on the interrelationship of the various people, applications, and policies encompassed by the concept of the TILDE. Norris calls it the “electricity grid”. Lindsay, Williams, and Howell do not give the interrelationship a name but do identify the emerging need for a more systemic approach to education through the analysis of current trends. Jo Paoletti discusses online learning communities. These authors and others throughout the four volumes of this encyclopedia set provide strong evidence of the changing nature of distance learning and an awareness of the interrelationship among TILDE applications and practices.

    The Future of Distance Learning (is it all E-Learning?)

    Recently, a mildly controversial article was published on the demise of elearning and innovations in distance learning titled “Thwarted Innovations: What Happened to e-Learning and Why” (Zemsky & Massy, 2004). Carole Twigg (2004) took up the challenge by pointing out the large number of flaws in the research methodology, the highly charged language, and the danger of this type of publication:

    Because of the way it’s written, this report will be used to attack online learning in a variety of settings. The Miami Herald’s recent headline says it all: ‘Study Debunks Value of Online Learning.” It will be used as a weapon by those in higher education who refuse to acknowledge, in the report’s own words, “that there is a need to substantially improve educational quality, especially for undergraduates…” (Twigg, 2004, p. 21)

    The odd thing about all of this is that distance learning and increasingly the online distance learning known in education and in business training circles collectively as “elearning,” is exactly what learners seek or even demand! Learners in the past had to rely on correspondence courses, later television courses, and now internet-based courses to attain certifications, post-secondary educational options (PSEO), secondary specialty courses in remote areas, company training, and full degrees. The whole history of distance learning is about access to education.

    If we set aside for-profit educational institutions for a moment (though to some extent, ALL educational institutions have to be concerned with some margin of profit or they do not grow!), we know that the cost of offering online distance learning can be high. I am talking about well-designed, interactive courses and programs, not stand alone or self-paced electrified correspondence courses. The cost of development, maintenance, and personnel is large. This can be relieved somewhat once support services and most of the development is complete. Most indirect costs can be lowered and even certain direct costs, such as work-for-hire development, can be dropped once a course or program is up and running. And yet, the cost of building and growing such programs can induce fear and reluctance in many administrators and faculty.

    Now let us put the for-profit institutions back in the mix. If, as suggested by the Zemsky and Massy report, elearning is in a downward spiral, why would such institutions wish to continue to grow? For one thing, the teaching function of educational institutions is profitable. This is the center of any institution of learning. Who are we if we do not teach? Are we community centers or libraries? Are we technical support points or resource rooms? Elearning is another way to allow greater access to the teaching function of an educational institution. It becomes a required mode, particularly when an institution is faced with population declines in rural areas or when there is a massive shortage of skilled workers in high needs areas such as health care, special education, mathematics, and science and technology. For-profit, public, and private educational institutions respond to these needs and issues in a variety of ways, including the creation of TILDE environments.

    So, what is the future of this new shift in education? Specifically, what is the future of elearning? Twigg responded to this line of questioning in the context of looking at the survey questions from Zemsky and Massy’s report:

    The survey questions about direct usage are confusing enough because e-learning is never clearly defined, but things really get rolling when faculty are asked to predict e-learning’s future. What are we talking about here: e-learning, e-learning products, e-learning software, e-learning activities, e-learning courses, e-learning initiatives? All of these phrases and more are used. Look at this question: “What is the capacity of e-learning to serve new markets?” What the heck does this mean? I think they meant to ask whether online courses and programs would attract adult students to the institution (or to higher education?) who would or could not enroll on campus. Or perhaps they meant to ask whether using information technology on campus would attract traditional age students to UT-Austin who might otherwise have gone elsewhere. Then again, maybe they meant to ask the faculty’s opinion about the University of Phoenix’s use of online programs to serve new markets. Frankly, I don’t know what they were trying to ask. (Twigg, 2004, p. 11)

    The questions, seemingly so straightforward, are difficult to pin down. Remember the TILDE? If we try to ask questions about learning in this new environment the same way we did 100 years ago, we will always end our conversations in confusion. We get mired in the extreme interconnectedness of teaching, learning, technology, sound instructional design, and evaluation. Simply substituting “distance learning” or “alternative programming” or “open university” does not clarify what it is that a complex learning environment such as online distance learning or elearning can include. Clearly, it is time to stop “paving the cow paths” and begin to think of distance learning in all of its forms in new terms. Let us ask different questions, questions that encompass and acknowledge the interrelatedness of technologies with teaching and learning and access to new knowledge.


  • Korpela, J. (1998, October 17). “versus ". Message posted to http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3627ac95.66099519%40news.cs.hut.fi
  • Lindsay, N.K., Williams, P.B., & Howell, S.L. (2005). Academic, economic, and technological trends affecting distance education. In P. Rogers (Ed.), The encyclopedia of distance learning: Vol. 1. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing.
  • Norris, D. (2005). Driving systemic change with e-learning. In P. Rogers (Ed.), The encyclopedia of distance learning: Vol. 2. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Reference.
  • Rogers, P.L. (Ed.). (2002). Designing instruction for technology-enhanced learning. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing. Retrieved from http://www.idea-group.com/books/details.asp?id=274
  • Twigg, C.A. (2004, July 4). THE CAT VIEWPOINT: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The Learning Marketspace, Article 1. Retrieved September 4, 2004, from http://www.center.rpi.edu/LForum/LM/July04.html
  • Zemsky, R., & Massy, W. (2004). Thwarted innovation: What happened to e-learning and why. Final Report for the Weatherstation project of the Learning Alliance: University of Pennsylvania in Cooperation with the Thomson Corporation.

    EDITOR'S NOTES By Gary A. Berg, California State University Channel Islands, USA

    Writing an encyclopedia on any subject is an extraordinary conceit, particularly on a subject as new and amorphous as computer-based learning on an international scale. The word “encyclopedia” is defined by the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language as “a book or set of books containing many articles arranged in alphabetical order which deal either with the whole of human knowledge or with a particular part of it” (Encyclopedia, 2004). The French encyclopedia was one of the principal works of the Enlightenment. Inspired by the success of E. Chambers’ British Cyclopaedia, Denis Diderot partly wrote and edited the 17 volumes that were published between 1751 and 1765. Later, other books were added for a total of 35. The Encyclopédie attracted articles from many important thinkers of the time, including Rousseau and Voltaire who inspired a movement of “encyclopedists.” Faced with persecution and censorship, members of this movement had a widespread influence on progressive thought leading up to the French Revolution. Interestingly enough, the notoriety of the Encyclopédie was due, in part, to many highly controversial articles, especially on religious, political, and economic topics. In other words, in contemporary terms, the authors did not attempt to be “objective” but rather to counter the predominant religious (anti-rationalist) point of view.

    It is important to understand the context of the encyclopedia movement wherein it was felt that it was best to keep knowledge secret, especially the practical or “mechanical arts” as they were known. It was in this climate that Diderot attempted to publish a systematic description of civilization’s knowledge, thus promoting a new ideology of wide and open dissemination of knowledge. The Encyclopedia Movement was itself very much interested in publishing as a subject. In fact, Diderot’s Encyclopedie includes ninety entries related to typography, a hundred and eighty to printing, a hundred twenty to bookbinding, and sixty to the manufacture of the paper used in books of the time period (Barber, 1973). This shows how important this influential group felt that book printing itself was as a subject. In many ways Diderot and the encyclopedist mission parallels the contemporary challenge—we are still trying to understand how to increase the dissemination of our collective knowledge of the world in a free and open manner. In much the same manner as the encyclopedists, this Encyclopedia of Distance Learning is often focused on the issue of information reproduction and dissemination itself. Printing represented to the intellectuals of 18th century Europe the hope of the future, as computers do to scholars today—the historical convergence of tele-communications, data-communications, and various media (moving images, still photography, sound, animation, etc.) into one remarkable machine. The question this book seeks to answer in a very eclectic and multi-sided way is: How can the knowledge of civilization be spread throughout the world with the use of the personal computer?

    Far from aspiring to be the last word on the use of computers in education internationally, this volume strives to be one of the first words or sentences—the beginning. This book is truly an international endeavor and, fittingly, could not have been written without computers and the Internet. The writing process has been fascinating because of the experience of working with talented scholars throughout the world. In this regard, it is important to make explicit from the start the cultural perspectives and bias inherent in this project and the individual articles. First, the book is written in English and thereby begins by excluding many scholars who do not write in this language. Second, each scholar speaks from a specific cultural point of view. Whilethere is certainly generalized and standard international knowledge about computer-based learning in this book, the perceptions and perspectives vary greatly by region. Rather than trying to homogenize a universal perspective, the editor has sought to preserve these unique perspectives maintaining international conventions used by authors, which are often nationally based (particularly British versus American standard usage). Consequently, readers will find throughout a presentation on a specific topic from a particular scholar in a specific region of the world at this point in time. Finally, it should be noted that in the process of evaluating manuscripts using an international editorial advisory group dialogues over perspectives were constant. Especially evident were culturally-based representations of the history of technological innovations, and religious and political perspectives. More subtlety, often a scholar’s specific cultural bias or tendency expressed itself in a foreground-background phenomenon which was evident in what was emphasized as important, and less so.

    Overall, there is a telescoping effect throughout the book, sometimes within individual articles wherein at times the reader is positioned far back surveying a field, at other moments zooming in closely on a very specific issue or topic. In this way, articles throughout this volume dance back and forth from general to specific. For example, in the article “Interactivity: Interaction in Web-based Learning,” Adams Bodomo moves from a general discussion of the theory of educational interactivity to the specific strategy for use in an online course. Often as one thumbs through this book one finds particular topics treated in overview by one scholar, and then in depth by another.

    In general, this comprehensive encyclopedia divides itself into broad categories covering distance learning issues by geographical region, pedagogy, technology, management, and global issues. What follows is my perception of primary topical areas covered in this reference.

    Practices by Geographic Region

    The scope and variety of distance and computer-based learning worldwide, as both an editor and contributor, was impressive. First, demand for higher education worldwide is clearly leading to distance learning solutions for both economic and political reasons. The size of the demand and the institutional response internationally is awe-inspiring. At China Central Radio & TV University (CCRTVU), for example the total number of undergraduates is 690,000 including 150,000 students admitted without entrance examinations.

    The recurring theme of growing demand for access to education is seen everywhere internationally, with computer-based learning viewed as at least a partial solution. According to Petek Askar, Turkey’s demand for higher education will double in three years—a demand to which the current educational system cannot respond effectively. Therefore, distance education could be a solution to this problem if barriers such as regulations and accreditations, technological infrastructure, shortage of experts in distance education and perceived characteristics of distance education are effectively dealt with. As Kinshuk and Shareef point out in their entry on the Maldives Islands, distance education is seen as an appealing alternative to traditional face-to-face education in many countries with low population density because it can provide education from a central location without having to invest heavily to develop infrastructure. At the same time, such smaller and more dispersed populations cannot approach distance learning in the same way that the larger mega-universities do.

    The enormous mega-universities around the world often share similarities in mission and management, but employ different pedagogical approaches as they strive to meet the demand for higher education. At the Open University in Israel, Zippy Erlich writes about a computer-mediated communication (CMC) approach where various technologies are used to emphasize student-student and student-instructor communication. According to Ramesh C. Sharma in his article on computer-based learning in India, that region has faced the challenges of lack of financial resources, rapid technological and social changes, and the increasing globalization and commercialization of education. The transition to an Open University system was part of an effort to democratize higher education. Pedagogically it utilizes a variety of media such as radio, television, computer and Internet as a part of instructional strategies because of their resources and unique history.

    Although not always based in institutions of higher education, there is a very long history of the use of various forms of distance learning for religious purposes, a practice which continues today throughout the world. According to Rogers and Howell, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Baha’i, Jewish, and Christian organizations are all experimenting with distance and computer-based learning for various reasons and to different extents. They point out the way that religious, economic, and political factors influence the specific ways distance learning is used by religious institutions.

    Adrienne A. Reynolds describes how educational technology plays a key role as a tool used in education in Middle Eastern countries. The status of women, according to Islamic tenets, is high in terms of guaranteed individual human rights and freedoms, but many cultural and societal traditions prevent women from assuming roles found in the Western world. For example, in Saudi Arabia, social norms and strict interpretations of Islam prevent the free association and interaction between men and women who are unrelated. This practice carries over to the educational system where male instructors are not permitted to teach female students face-to-face. Educational technologies and institutions (such Zayed University, the Institute for Technological Innovation, the IT Educational Project, Internet University in Dubai) are beginning to address these somewhat unique regional needs with the use of computer-based learning.


    Pedagogical approaches to distance learning are advancing on various fronts at the same time internationally. Some of the old discussions are continuing—the debate about constructivist versus behaviorist approaches to computer-based learning, as well as on asynchronous versus synchronous formats. Tiong Kung-Ming and Sim Khoon-Seng report on the trend toward hybrid systems that use both approaches. Certainly, one can see this occurring in a large way in many countries such as the United States.

    Another clear area of interest internationally is in the possibility of adapting computer-based systems to user preferences and learning styles, with dreams of an adaptive tutor. Kinshuk and Lin discuss individual differences in cognitive processing and the potential of student learning preference modeling. More generally, Yoram Eshet describes the five major cognitive skills that comprise digital literacy: photo-visual, reproduction, branching, information, and socio-emotional thinking skills. He suggests that these five digital thinking skills exist in every learner, but differ in degree from person to person.

    Some commentators internationally point to particular classroom strategies to enhance online learning. Scholars appear to be reexamining traditional and innovative practices used in face-to-face classrooms to see how they might be used in distance learning configurations. For instance, Roisin Donnelly argues that problem-based learning can be more effectively accomplished online because of collaborative possibilities outside the classroom. Betty Collis and Jef Moonen suggest a contribution-oriented pedagogical approach in which students find, create, submit, and/or share resources using a Web-based course-support environment, a model that is particularly valuable in forms of distance and computer-based learning.

    Some scholars are looking to altogether new approaches. For instance, Andrew Laghos and Panayiotis Zaphiris argue that the Internet and the World Wide Web provide delivery methods that create language learning opportunities unimaginable a few decades ago. They describe their use of participatory design for the development of an online Modern Greek language course, a design approach that focuses on the intended user of the service or product, and advocates the active involvement of users throughout the design process. Nicoletta Sala argues that a fundamental shift is occurring in education as a result of the increasing use of computers and their technology, what she calls a “cultural revolution” in teaching and learning. She promotes active “learning by doing” approaches that are assisted by the use of computers.

    Even some of the older approaches such as programmed instruction based on behaviourism are seen as resurging because of new technology. Belinda Davis Lazarus argues that as technology advances, programmed instruction will continue to serve as a cost effective method that facilitates learning.


    International perspectives on technology concentrate particularly on how technology might be applied to the field of education. Chris Houser and Patricia Thornton in their article suggest that mobile devices such as laptop computers, PDAs, and cell phones offer many features (Web pages, email, textual noting, video cameras) useful for learning both inside and outside classroom—single, easily mastered devices that can be useful in a variety of educational settings. These devices can enable collaborative problem-solving by providing easy, face-to-face sharing of data through IR beaming or distance sharing through email and Web interfaces. For learners who require repetitive practice for skills development, mobile devices offer a personal tool that can be used anytime, anywhere, for quick review. Because they cost less and are more portable than desktop computers, mobile devices have the potential to bring the power of a computer to every learner.

    C. C. Ko, Ben M. Chen and C. D. Cheng describe current methods for use of Web-based laboratories. They point out that such laboratories provide a more immersive experience and work well for collaborative research involving the sharing of expensive facilities. As computer hardware and robotics become more powerful and less expensive, the possibility of controlling a robot remotely to carry out experiments from a safe distance will become more commonplace.

    Questions of how to assess the educational effectiveness of computer-based software applications used are repeatedly raised. According to Michael Shaughnessy, educational software is evaluated typically now with key factors focused on student, teacher, designer, and environmental perspectives. Overall, technological issues, while clearly important, are perhaps not as discussed as how to use the new tools in educational environments.


    The management of computer-based educational programs is a key issue because of the vast size, complexity, and economics of their parent institutions internationally. Although there is great variety in the way institutions are managed worldwide, there are some common patterns of method and on-going concerns.

    Some scholars use descriptive approaches to categorize what is occurring internationally on an institutional level with computer-based learning. Sarah Guri-Rosenblit notes five major models for the use of distance learning in a university setting: single-mode, dual- and mixed-mode, extensions, consortia-type ventures, and virtual technology-based universities. She concludes that they will continue to operate using primarily an industrial model producing economies of scale for large numbers of students at low marginal costs. This research is of particular interest to those in countries where the Open University model has yet to be embraced.

    One primary issue of importance internationally is how to make distance learning methods scalable and thus financially stable. In “Ten Scalability Factors in Distance Education” by Laws and Howell and Lindsay, the authors argue that institutions should appropriately scale distance education enrollments to reduce costs, and protect course and program quality in ways that specific to their organizations. These scholars claim that each institution’s level of scalability is determined by the interrelationship of ten factors or variables including: interaction; learning levels; student class standing; faculty tenure or continuing status; completion rates; cohort vs. non-cohort; degree vs. non-degree seeking programs; market type; tuition costs; and profitability. These variables can be weighed to better understand scalability notions. In another article, Ally points out practical problems such as how to reduce the time to produce computer-based materials and suggests the use of intelligent agents to assist with scalability issues.

    Another important focus internationally is on quality assurance and ways of improving online learning’s overall effectiveness. In the entry on the Sloan Consortium, we see an attempt to systematize online quality issues and to create a larger dialogue on this issue.

    Faculty issues vary greatly by country and region because of different traditions, governance structures, and political systems. According to Shaw, a shift in the paradigm of teaching is occurring and faculty need to be flexible, acquire new skills, and appreciate the many advantages of distance learning.

    The use of technology in the management of distance learning institutions is also a recurring theme. Diane Chapman discusses learning management systems made necessary because of the tremendous growth of e-learning and the need for tools that present, organize, and deliver instruction in ways that are easily accessible and cost effective.

    Global Issues

    What does open or distance learning mean? Sarah Guri-Rosenblit argues that confusion still reigns among scholars as to the meaning of open and distance learning. She points to the essence of all distance teaching universities internationally reflecting a concern with widening access to higher education, and that the large mega-university programs are universally products of governmental planning needing to find a way to serve large numbers of students lower costs. Open entry or admission practices are linked in some of these programs to open access, and Guri-Rosenblit points out that the first course then often becomes in practical terms the admissions test for those students. However, only a handful of the approximately thirty distance teaching universities worldwide have an open admission policy. She notes further that one of the primary deficiencies of the large Open Universities is control over the curriculum—standardization is a both strength and a weakness economically and pedagogically.

    One clear impact of the increased use of computer-based learning is the encouragement of cross-cultural learning and the mixing of different nationalities and cultures within individual classrooms. In “Collaboration Among Multicultural Virtual Teams: Issues, Challenges, Strategies,” the authors (Cagiltay et al.) point out that little research has been conducted to systematically investigate the dialectic between culture and computer-mediated communication (CMC). They point out importantly that if used poorly, distance learning can homogenize different views rather than take advantage of the inherently complex learning experience. Similarly in “Teaching Culture and Communication,” Kirk St. Amant emphasizes that cultural groups can have different perspectives on how to communicate online. Furthermore, often non-English speaking students find their research activities restricted by native languages. As a result, these students are often cut off from important cultural perspectives that have been presented in other languages. St. Amant notes that to participate effectively in the growing global community, better understanding is needed on how cultural factors can affect online interactions. By using materials created by different cultures, instructors increase the chances that students will become more productive members of an international online community.


    Copyright issues are clearly of utmost importance on the international scale. In “Copyright with an International Perspective for Academics” the authors point that human society depends on second-hand knowledge—knowledge usually comes from some other sources. On some level, very little is really original. From a non-western point of view, enforcement of copyright might be seen as a way of maintaining power structures. In this context, one cannot help but think of the background of Diderot’s work where those in power during the 18th century in Europe did not want to disseminate their secret knowledge.

    “Openness” or “access” is the essence of the computer-based learning movement internationally. This emphasis can be seen in small specific ways in the research literature on computer interface design. More generally, these user-centered design approaches are aligned with the focus on providing broader access to education for underserved populations. For instance, Zaphiris and Kurniawan argue that application of user-centered design accommodates older users. Finally, it is hoped that this volume contributes to the widening access to information about the evolving and important field of computer-based education.


  • Barber, G.G. (Ed.). (1973). Book making in Diderot’s Encyclopedie. Westmead, UK: Gregg International Publishers Limited.
  • Encyclopedia. (2004). The Cambridge encyclopedia of language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Encyclopedie. Britannica concise encyclopedia. Retrieved July 6, 2004, from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service from http://www.britannica.com/ebc/article?eu=389010

    Author(s)/Editor(s) Biography

    Caroline Howard (PhD) is an author, editor, consultant, and educator. She is an independent academic. Prior to becoming online faculty, she was on the faculty of Emory University's Goizueta Business School and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Caroline holds an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in management information systems from the University of California - Irvine where she received honors for her teaching and research. She has published a number of articles on technology and learning. Her books include the first and 2nd editions of the Encyclopedia of Distance Learning (2005 and 2009), Winning the Net Game: Becoming Profitable Now that the Web Rules have Changed (Entrepreneur Press, 2002), The Design and Management of Effective Distance Learning Programs (2002), and Distance Learning and University Effectiveness: Changing Educational Paradigms for Online Learning (2005).
    Judith Boettcher Ph. D., is a consultant and author in the areas of designing for learning, faculty development, and the future trends of technology in teaching and learning. Dr. Boettcher is also a Lecturer at the University of Florida in Distance, Continuing, and Executive Education. Prof. Boettcher has consulted with a wide range of major universities and organizations; has been a Syllabus Scholar since 1996; and serves on a number of editorial and academic advisory boards. Dr. Boettcher has been involved with the leading edge implementation of technologies for online and distance instruction for over 25 years; and has authored and edited many articles and books on these topics.
    Lorraine Justice Ph. D., is currently at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Dr. Justice has served in higher education for the past fifteen years, teaching in the areas of industrial design and human computer interface design. She has published and presented her work worldwide on topics such as interface design. She assists educational institutions worldwide with curriculum development. Dr. Justice was responsible for organizing the First China-USA Industrial Design Conference in Beijing, and the First Doctoral Education in Design Conference in Ohio. Dr. Justice was recently made a Fellow of the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA). She has twice served on the Business Week/IDSA IDEA jury for best products and is a jurist for international paper competitions.
    Karen D. Schenk Ph. D., is a professor of Information Systems at the University of Redlands, California, and North Carolina State University, teaching courses in Information Technology and Systems Design. Her research has focused on distance education, lifelong learning, decision support systems and human-computer interfaces. She is currently Senior Partner of K. D. Schenk and Associates Consulting, working with companies on decision support systems development and IT internal customer relationships. Prof. Schenk is the co-editor of two books “The Design & Management of Effective Distance Learning Programs”, 2002, Information Science Publishing, and the book “Distance Learning and University Effectiveness”, 2004, Information Science Publishing.
    Patricia L. Rogers, PhD, is currently the Interim Dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Ecology and the School of Graduate Studies at Bemidji State University. Recently, she was the Dean of the School of Education and Graduate Studies at Valley City State University. Dr. Rogers has doctoral preparation in both Art Education and Instructional Systems and Technology from the University of Minnesota. Recently, she was a Professor and graduate program coordinator at Bemidji State University in the department of Professional Education. She is a member of the Minnesota Commissioner of Education's Online Learning Advisory Council and is currently the past-CHAIR of the Minnesota Online Council. Dr. Rogers is a Getty Fellow (1996 Dissertation Fellowship from the Getty Center for Arts in Education) and a Fulbright Scholar (2000-2001) working on designing distance-learning programs in Iceland (Iceland University of Education: Kennarahaskola Islands). She consults internationally on e- learning, is the author of several articles on instructional technology, and regularly presents at technology and education conferences. She was the keynote speaker at UT 2001, a technology and education conference held in Reykjavik, Iceland, and presented follow-up research at The Learning Conference in London, England July 2003 and the Hawaii International Conference on Education in January 2004. Recent work includes the publication of an edited book: -Designing Instruction for Technology-Enhanced Learning (2002),- and is an editor of the Encyclopedia of Distance Learning Teaching, and Technology Applications published in 2005. A second edition is in process.
    Gary A. Berg, PhD, is founding Dean of Extended Education at California State University Channel Islands and author of numerous articles on current issues in higher education, educational technology, and media studies, as well as five books including Why Distance Learning? and Lessons from the Edge: For-Profit and Nontraditional Higher Education in America. In addition to a doctoral degree in Higher Education from Claremont Graduate University, he has an MFA in Film and Television from UCLA. Previous to CSUCI, Berg headed continuing education divisions at Chapman University and the California School of Professional Psychology, as well as professional training programs at the Directors Guild of America.

    Editorial Board

    Stephen R. Acker
    The Ohio State University, USA

    Shelley Bibeau
    Saint Paul Technical College, USA

    Adams B. Bodomo
    The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

    Nicholas Bowskill
    University of Sheffield, UK

    Don Descy
    Minnesota State University, USA

    Richard Discenza
    University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, USA

    Donald P. Ely
    Syracuse University, USA

    Sarah Guri-Rosenblit
    Open University, Israel

    Scott L. Howell
    Brigham Young University, USA

    Massey University, New Zealand

    Bernard J. Luskin
    Fielding Graduate University, USA

    Ben Martz
    University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, USA

    Lynda Milne
    Minnesota State Colleges and University, USA

    Som Naidu
    University of Melbourne, Australia

    Shannon (Avery) Nelson
    Bemidji State University, USA

    Yoram Neumann
    Touro International University, USA

    Janet K. Poley
    University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA

    Allen Schmieder
    JDL Technologies, USA

    R C Sharma
    Indira Gandhi National Open University, India

    Murray Turoff
    New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA

    Panayiotis Zaphiris
    City University, UK