History of Distance Learning Professional Associations

History of Distance Learning Professional Associations

Irene Chen (University of Houston Downtown, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch153
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Abstract

Most of the distance-learning professional associations were founded in the 1990s, at a time when most Internet backbone speeds were T1 or slower. Although scientists in universities, corporate, and military used the Internet for supercomputing capabilities, the predominant academic application was electronic mail. The public was generally unaware of the Internet’s existence. The explosive growth of information and telecommunications has combined to strengthen and diversify the options for school, skills development, technical and professional training, postsecondary credit courses, and special interests. New associations are established everyday to promote innovative educational strategies, as well as ways to leverage technology to provide new ways of learning online. Each strategy suggested has some measure of support among the professional associations’ participants, and represents a way to improve opportunities for distance education, and training: 1. Developing strategic alliances to support and encourage project-oriented coalitions amongst members as the need and opportunity arise. 2. Recommending standards of quality 3. Institution promotion under a common logo within the region and beyond 4. Identifying support markets that are currently unserved. 5. Sharing technological and human resources for development and delivery 6. Conducting applied research and development of distance-education technology and instructional design. 7. Developing and maintaining a system to provide a central source of current and relevant information on courses and programs, the credit transfer system, and student assistance programs.
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Introduction And Background

Most of the distance-learning professional associations were founded in the 1990s, at a time when most Internet backbone speeds were T1 or slower. Although scientists in universities, corporate, and military used the Internet for supercomputing capabilities, the predominant academic application was electronic mail. The public was generally unaware of the Internet’s existence.

The explosive growth of information and telecommunications has combined to strengthen and diversify the options for school, skills development, technical and professional training, postsecondary credit courses, and special interests. New associations are established everyday to promote innovative educational strategies, as well as ways to leverage technology to provide new ways of learning online. Each strategy suggested has some measure of support among the professional associations’ participants, and represents a way to improve opportunities for distance education, and training:

  • 1.

    Developing strategic alliances to support and encourage project-oriented coalitions amongst members as the need and opportunity arise.

  • 2.

    Recommending standards of quality

  • 3.

    Institution promotion under a common logo within the region and beyond

  • 4.

    Identifying support markets that are currently unserved.

  • 5.

    Sharing technological and human resources for development and delivery

  • 6.

    Conducting applied research and development of distance-education technology and instructional design.

  • 7.

    Developing and maintaining a system to provide a central source of current and relevant information on courses and programs, the credit transfer system, and student assistance programs.

Key Terms in this Chapter

EDUCAUSE: EDUCOM and CAUSE were consolidated in July 1998 with a mission to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology. The membership of EDUCAUSE is open to institutions of higher education, corporations serving the higher education information technology market, and other related associations and organizations. Its programs include professional development activities, print and electronic publications, strategic policy initiatives, research, awards for leadership and exemplary practices, and other online information services. As of spring, 2007, the EDUCAUSE membership has grown to more than 2,100 colleges, universities, and educational organizations, including 200 corporations, with 16,500 active members. EDUCAUSE has major offices in Boulder, Colorado, and Washington, D.C. It hosts conferences, seminars, and institutes.

COL or Commonwealth of Learning: The Commonwealth of Learning (COL, http://www.col.org/) is an intergovernmental organization hosted in Canada by the government of Canada with headquarters located in the Province of British Columbia. It was created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to encourage the development and sharing of open learning/distance education knowledge, resources, and technologies. As of spring 2006, COL’s partners include other Commonwealth agencies, members of the UN System (UNESCO, UNICEF, UNIFEM, UNDP, and the World Bank), national and regional distance-education associations, and industry.

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