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2011 Distance Education Survey Results by ITC

2011 Distance Education Survey Results by ITC

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Published by Kangdon Lee
2011 distance education survey results by ITC (Instructional Technology Council)
2011 distance education survey results by ITC (Instructional Technology Council)

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Published by: Kangdon Lee on Apr 11, 2012
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Trends in Learning: Tracking The impacT of Learning aT communiTy coLLeges
2011DISTANCE EDUCATION SURVEY RESULTS
m 2012
 
ITC 2011DISTANCE EDUCATION SURVEY RESULTS
2
ITC 2011DISTANCE EDUCATION SURVEY RESULTS
IN FOCUS:THE YEAR IN REVIEW 
2011
THE GREAT RECESSION CONTINUES
Most states and campuses have adjusted to doing more with less as the effects of the Great Recessionhave lingered into 2011. The economic downturn has impacted higher education as a whole, and distanceeducation programs have suffered, especially in the areas of budget and staffing. Colleges have lacked thefunding to address the chronic problems of student retention, course quality, ADA compliance, faculty training,student preparedness and accreditation-based assessment.
Moving to the Cloud
 After years of talking about cloud computing, the past year has seen an explosion in the actual deploymentand usage of cloud-based solutions. Most importantly, cloud-based solutions have accelerated the shifttoward the use of shared applications and mobile devices for accessing content. A growing number oflearning management system platforms are now cloud-based, providing colleges with an alternative tocorporate-based models.
Shifting to Mobile deviCeS
Cloud computing, enhanced wireless network capacities, and growing interest among students and staff havechallenged distance educators to find ways to make higher education fit on increasingly smaller mobile devices.Courses that are available on smartphones and tablet computers can make higher educational opportunitiesmore accessible and flexible. This trend has prompted educators to examine what constitutes educationalcontent and student learning, and to find better ways to package and deliver these materials to students.
the future of the learning ManageMent SySteM
 A growing chorus has questioned the future of the learning management system (LMS), claiming it is a datedrelic of the past. They express frustration with the corporate mentality many LMS owners have exhibited,which has resulted in mergers, consolidations and “end of life” decisions.Cloud computing offers an alternative platform that can give educators greater control over their virtuallearning environment. Many campuses are looking to save on licensing costs, especially during the recenteconomic downturn, and have switched to open source solutions like Moodle and Sakai.On the other hand, the LMS offers educators a one-stop solution for offering online courses—a package thatresponds to myriad expectations, such as ADA compliance, financial aid, student assessment, reporting andtracking, student authentication and technical support.
regional aCCreditation
In the fall of 2011, the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC) developed the
InterregionalGuidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education (Online Learning)
. These guidelines are designedto help institutions plan for distance education programming and to provide an assessment frameworkfor institutions already involved in distance education. All of the regional higher education accrediting
 
Trends in Learning:Tracking The impacT of Learning aT communiTy coLLeges
3
organizations in the United States have adopted and endorsed these guidelines, which are intended for use byaccreditation evaluation teams. The interregional guidelines replace the C-RAC
Statement of Best Practicesfor Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs
, which the Middle States Commission on HigherEducation published in 2002, and are intended to be used in conjunction with the relevant standards andpolicies of each accreditor.To view the guidelines, visit www.msche.org/publications/Guidelines-for-the-Evaluation-of-Distance-Education-Programs.pdf
open eduCational reSourCeS
“Open Educational Resources (OER) are materials used to support education that may be freely accessed,reused, modified and shared by anyone,” writes Stephen Downes, senior researcher at the National ResearchUniversity of Canada. The proliferation of smartphones, tablet computers, eBooks, other technology tools,and high-speed Internet access has given students the ability to access high-quality learning materials at nocost. Meanwhile, K-12 schools, states, and the federal government view OERs as a tool to help save preciousfinancial resources, as students balk at the ever-increasing cost of textbooks.The publishing community is looking for successful models that can make this trend toward OERs financiallysustainable. Additional resources and information about OERs are available from the OpenCourseWareConsortium, Creative Commons, Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources, OpenCourse Library, Saylor Foundation, Kaleidoscope Project, OpenLearn and SCORE.
inCreaSing federal engageMent 
Not surprisingly, the federal and state government’s interest in distance education has intensified, as studentdemand and enrollment in distance education has increased. Congress reauthorizes the Higher Education Act of 1965 every four to six years, so distance educators need to pay close attention to any new regulationsCongress may attempt to put in place by 2014. Some key issues include:
•StateAuthorizationforInstitutionsOfferingDistanceEducationtoOut-of-StateStudents
If an institution is offering postsecondary education through distance or correspondence educationto students in a State in which it is not physically located, the institution must meet any Staterequirements for it to be legally offering postsecondary distance or correspondence education inthat State. We are further providing that an institution must be able to document upon request by theDepartment that it has the applicable State approval.—Oct. 29, 2010 Amendments to the Higher Education Act ProgramIntegrity Issues, State Authorization, Section §600.9.The Department of Education proposed this regulation in accordance with Congress’ reauthorization ofthe Higher Education Act, also called the Higher Education Opportunities Act in 2008. However, on July12, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia struck down this controversial part of theregulations, stating the Department did not follow proper procedures when it issued this rule in October2010. The Department appealed the court decision on September 8, 2011. Unfortunately, the Senate isunlikely to follow the House of Representative’s February 28, 2012 vote to repeal the state authorizationlegislation, so distance educators must wait to see if the Department’s appeal will succeed.

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