Distance Education: Definition and Glossary of Terms

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Distance Education:
Definition and Glossary of Terms, 2nd Edition
2006

Lee Ayers Schlosser
Associate Professor
Southern Oregon University
and
Michael Simonson
Program Professor
Nova Southeastern University
Table of Contents
Preface3
Defining Distance Education4
Emerging Definitions12
A Brief History of Distance Education13
Correspondence Study14
Electronic Communications19
Distance Teaching Universities23
Theory and Distance Education25
The Need for Theory26
Theory of Independent Study—Charles Wedemeyer31
Theory of Independent Study—Michael Moore33
Theory of Industrialization of Teaching—Otto Peters35
Theory of Interaction and Communication—Börje Holmberg42 Andragogy—Malcolm Knowles48
A Synthesis of Theories—Hilary Perraton50
Equivalency Theory: An American Theory of Distance Education53 A Theoretical Framework for Distance Education—Desmond Keegan56 Summary60
References65
Additional Readings70
Glossary of Terms74

Preface3
Defining Distance Education4
Emerging Definitions12
A Brief History of Distance Education13
Correspondence Study14
Electronic Communications19
Distance Teaching Universities23
Theory and Distance Education25
The Need for Theory26
Theory of Independent Study—Charles Wedemeyer31
Theory of Independent Study—Michael Moore33
Theory of Industrialization of Teaching—Otto Peters35
Theory of Interaction and Communication—Börje Holmberg42 Andragogy—Malcolm Knowles48
A Synthesis of Theories—Hilary Perraton50
Equivalency Theory: An American Theory of Distance Education53 A Theoretical Framework for Distance Education—Desmond Keegan56 Summary60
References65
Additional Readings70
Glossary of Terms74

Preface
Distance Education has become a major topic of interest in the field of educational communications and technology. In response to this interest, the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) published the first edition of Distance Education: Definition and Glossary of Terms in 2002.

The second edition of this monograph was begun in 2005. While the definition of distance education was changed only slightly, the glossary of terms was updated significantly under the supervision of Joann Flick and members of AECT’s Division of Distance Learning. The definition offered in this second edition is based on background work published in Teaching and Learning at a Distance: Foundations of Distance Education, 3rd. Edition (2006).

Defining Distance Education

Distance education is defined as institution-based, formal education where the learning group is separated, and where interactive telecommunications systems are used to connect learners, resources, and instructors (Simonson, 2006). Four main components comprise this definition (Figure 1). First is the concept that distance education is institutionally-based. This is what differentiates distance education from self-study. Whereas the institution referred to in this definition could be a traditional educational school or college, increasingly there are emerging nontraditional institutions that offer education to students at a distance. Businesses, companies, and corporations are offering instruction at a distance. Many educators and trainers are advocating the accreditation of institutions that offer distance education to add credibility, improve quality, and eliminate diploma mills.

The second component of the definition of distance education is the concept of separation of the teacher and student. Most often, separation is thought of in geographic terms—teachers are in one location and students in another. Also implied by the definition is the separation of teachers and students in time. Asynchronous distance education means that instruction is offered and students access it at separate times, or anytime it is convenient to them. Finally, intellectual separation of teachers and learners is...
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