You are on page 1of 14


Teaching and Learning at a Distance: A Summary of Modules Two to Five Elizabeth Klammer Texas Tech University

SUMMARY OF PART ONE OF TEACHING AND LEARNING Abstract This paper summarizes the key points of chapters one, two, three and four of Teaching and Learning at a Distance, Foundations of Distance Education. These chapters were the

requirements for distance learning modules 2-5 in EDIT: Foundations of Distance Learning. The history and framework of distance learning leads to the definition of modern distance learning. This paper will address the technologies and internet tools needed for asynchronous and synchronous communication in distance learning.

SUMMARY OF PART ONE OF TEACHING AND LEARNING Teaching and Learning at a Distance: A Summary of Modules Two to Five

Distance learning came from humble beginnings like a slow trickle from a small stream, and over time becomes a raging river moving with white waters that one must maneuver through safely. Experiencing an internet distance learning course can feel like the a white water rafting trip, an exciting adventure. The stream is widening and quickening, this is a summary of part one of the textbook for EDIT 5370. Definitions and History of Distance Learning Distance learning has a variety of definitions that involve the geographical distance between student and teacher and the many pedagogies of learning. The delivery mode of instruction can be can be delivered in print, voice, video or a variety of computer programs. One must look at the student to be served and how the education can be implemented. Dan Coldeway is the author of a framework design that explains the four ways in which distance learning is conducted. (Simonson, p. 9) 1. Same-place, same-time education 2. Different-time, same-place education 3. Same-time, different-place 4. Different-time, different-place From the early days of mail ordered secretarial courses in the 1800's to the early days of 1930's detective pulp fiction we have had long distance education. When our veterans returned from World War II the need for new jobs emerged and created a large industry of mail order instruction across the United States and Canada. (Williamson, 2009) The United States has been a late participant in Global Distance Education due to the past self sufficient attitudes of independent school districts. Simply stated, we were self contained and

SUMMARY OF PART ONE OF TEACHING AND LEARNING limited in our view. We had distance learning for our own communities and did television

courses and moved into computer course with the attitude that "America is the best." Now in the 21st century, we see that the world truly is flattening and shrinking. With better telecommunication networks and computers, it is imperative that we join the world. Technology is becoming cheaper and easier to use. In the fall of 2011, approximately 6.7 million of all students enrolled in postsecondary education took an online course for credit (Lederman, 2013). Below is a short history of how the world around us, moved forward as a necessity to improve its people.

China, 1970's- radio and satellite television creates university system to educate large populations. In 2007, Due to strong economic factors, China increases long distance education due to the demand for higher education.

Turkey,1981-long distance post secondary a possibility due to economic need for educated work force.

Hong Kong,1989-distance learning created to educate large population. 2005opens University of Hong Kong to service China and Southeast Asia with long distance education.-

Africa,2004-due to limited economic resources and need for educated population. Long Distance education is created in order to give educational opportunities.

In the fall of 2011, approximately one-third or more than 6.7 million American post secondary students enrolled in a course using distance learning. ( Ledermen, 2013)



In 2012, Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds was published and millions of educators were introduced using distance learning for global collaboration.(Lindsay, 2013)

Learning the Theories Behind Distance Learning. The term theory indicates that an explanation and a suggestions for continued study and a development of distance learning theoretical foundation. (Garrison, 2000) This foundation is ever changing with the new creations of asynchronous and synchronous communications. Listed below are condensed definitions for the major theories behind distance learning. Theory of Independent Study-Charles Wedemeyer Charles Wedemeyer is credited for the concept of ' independent study' is student centered and rejected the rigidness of the traditional classroom. He believed in personalizing and individualizing instruction. Theory of Independent Study and Theory of Transactional Distance- Michael Moore Michael Moore's theory of independent study focuses on the learner's autonomy or independence and the distance between student and teacher. Transactional Distance is defined as the theory of cognitive space between instructors and learners in an education setting. This distance my determine the students feelings of isolation. (Simonson, 2013) Theory of Industrialization of Teaching- Otto Peters Peters' theory has a strong analogy to "German Efficiency" in industry. The theory has terms that relate to reduction of power, time and money and creates a work force to develop a product. The product being the student. Theory of Interaction and Communication-Borje Holmberg


Holmberg's theory is student centered and involves direct dialogue with the student. The development of a personal caring relationship between teacher and student creates an environment of trust and respect. This theory has behaviorist overtones due to the positive reinforcement of learning pleasure. Andragogy- Malcom Knowles Knowles work focuses on distance learning and the adult as the student. The adult learner needs to know the purpose of the lesson, the expectations and kinds of assessments. Teacher instruction should recognize adult individuals different backgrounds and levels of experience. The respect, needs and dignity of the learner is held with high importance. A Synthesis of Existing Theories- Hilary Perraton This is a composite of existing theories in distance education which focuses on how distance learning can be used to maximize education, increase dialog and teaching methods. Perraton lists the advantages of distance learning and how it can reach out economically. A multimedia program is preferable and teaching materials that have a systems approach is suggested. Equivalency Theory: An American Theory of Distance Education-Simonson and Schlosser The heart of this theory is the word equivalency. The distant learners come from different environments and it is the responsibility of the distance educator to "level the playing field". It is their responsibility to design curriculum equal to all students. Students are learning at different times, places and having different experiences. (Simonson, Schlosser and Hanson,1999) A Theoretical Framework for Distance Education-Desmond Keegan Keegan's framework sees distance education as an industrialized form of education and is a distinct form of education. Keegan points out that education requires a shared experience

SUMMARY OF PART ONE OF TEACHING AND LEARNING between teacher and learner. He believes there is a difference between distance instruction and distance education. Successful distance education brings the teacher and the student into a learning interaction.

Fordism, Neo-Fordism, Post Fordism: A Theoretical Debate Fordism is coined for the industrialist Henry Ford, the founder of mass production. The three theories focuses on the labor force and the economics of distance learning. The Fordism theory encompasses the ideals of increased production to justify expenses. It is fully centralized and has a single mode. The neo-Fordist has more flexibility and it too is centralized. The postFordist theory has three variables: product, innovation process variability and labor responsibility. (Simonson, 2013) This theory focuses on the consumer rather than the product. The neo-Fordist is considered to be constructivism theory. "Constructivist believes that the individual gives meaning to the world through experience. This means that teaching needs to be flexible and repect the learner as an individual. ( Simonson, 2013) In the debate of which theory is the best, it cannot be truly determined due to the ever changing socio-economic views and technological advances. The main theme in all of the theories is that the educator must meet the needs of the distance students. Research on Distance Education Research that is not grounded in theory is wasteful.(Moore, 1991) Researchers are looking at many variables that can be analyzed. Examples include the student's perceptions of distance learning, the interaction between teacher and student and the course delivery. Researchers must be careful on their reporting and have had reviewers make misconceptions about their work. The most famous being "students in online learning conditions performed better". (Kulik, Bangert, &

SUMMARY OF PART ONE OF TEACHING AND LEARNING Williams, 1983). It is believed that these students have more learning time, advantage of materials and the support of collaboration. They could not be truly compared to the traditional classroom student. (Simonson, 2013) In 1987, the discipline of studying and researching the distance education was pioneered by Borje Holmberg. Holmbergs theory of distance education is considered a communications

theory. Communication between the instructor and student is vital to the success of the learning. Holmberg formed his theory that distance education will support student motivation. This is done by making the learning pleasurable and make the study relevant to the individual student and their needs. There is also confusion in the study of distance learning research on the mode of statistical analysis that is taking place in the study. Laura Hauser describes this current evolution and concerns of the statistical research conducted on distance education. She reviewed 382 articles from the four major distance education journals during 2005 to 2012 to determine whether the majority of the articles used qualitative, quantitative or triangulation(mixed methods) for results. Hauser stated there was confusion on the part of coding for type of statistical method due to articles stating that they were quantitative, but did not perform any statistical analysis and other stating they were qualitative, but did not offering any descriptive format. The importance of this article reflects the difficulty of quality in qualitative methods in distance learning. This article suggests that qualitative research is more difficult than quantitative. (Hauser, 2013) Interaction of Student and Distance Education Technology There have been studies conducted concerning the equivalency of instruction and achievement of onsite versus the distance learner. William E. Souder stated that the traditional

SUMMARY OF PART ONE OF TEACHING AND LEARNING student and the distance learner had different perceptions on the importance and quality of the student/teacher interaction in distance learning. Distance learners tend to bond more with their

instructor and their classmates. (Simonson, 2013) In Teaching and Learning at a Distance, there are examples of research on perceived interactions and attitudes towards distance learning. All had a common strand: teachers using a variety of methods to elicit student-teacher interaction. However, it is unclear if this had an effect on success in the course. Barriers to Distance Learning Change is never easy for some individuals and the emergence of distance learning has caused increased anxiety in some institutions and individuals to " join the 21st century". Researchers are investigating the barriers or resistance to distance education. Time and money tend to be the two main themes among the lists of barriers against distance education. Teachers feel that they do not have the time to learn new technology or have time for adequate training. Administration does not want to pay for the technology or the professional development of the teachers. Fear would be the underlying factor. The fear of the unknown, the fear of failure is a

strong barrier that prevents growth. The Delivery of Distance Education Distance learning can be divided into synchronous or asynchronous delivery types. Synchronous means that the teacher and the student communicate with each other in "real time". Asynchronous means "without synchronous" , it does not take place at the time. Examples of synchronous include videoconferencing, audio-conferencing, or internet chat. Asynchronous may include videotape, DVD, CD-ROM, broadcast video, audio files, podcasts and email correspondence. Using Technology to Communicate



The delivery types can be described by the direction of the video and audio signals. The diagram below shows one-way video; two-way video; on way audio; and two-way audio. (

Chapter four of the textbook gives the instructor advice on how to develop an successful distance learning or "e-course". Avoid putting worksheets online and then saying you are teaching. There should be a purpose for what the instructor puts on the website. Make clear the expectations of the class. Maintain communications with students. Plan course outcomes. Develop appropriate assessment tools that reflect course outcomes. Utilize the internet web resources in the curriculum Incorporate adult learning strategies and be flexible to the needs of your adult learners

SUMMARY OF PART ONE OF TEACHING AND LEARNING Extend course readings to include outside text material Train students to use the course website.


As new technologies are being developed, distance learning innovations are being created. There is not a clear consensus of a "best method" for teaching at a distance. Part one of the textbook frames the theories behind the research on distance learning and reinforces the importance of the learner in distance education. Meeting the needs of the individual is the highest priority. All learners can learn, if they are taught in a method that promotes learning.



A Teacher's Guide to Distance Learning. (2009) Produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology,College of Education, University of South Florida. Retrieved: October 15, 2012 from Garrison, R. (2000). Theoretical Challenges for Distance Education in the 21st Century: A shift from structural to transactional issues. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Larning, 1(1). Retrieved October 13, 2013, from Hauser, Laura.(2013) "Qualitative Research in Distance Education: An analysis of Journal Literature 2005-2012." The American Journal of Distance Education 27, 155-164. Kulik, James A.; Bangert, Robert L.; Williams, George W. Effects of computer-based teaching on secondary school students. Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol 75(1), Feb 1983, 19-26. doi: 10.1037/00220663.75.1.19 Lederman, D. (n.d.). Inside Higher Ed.. Growth for Online Learning. Retrieved October 13, 2013, from Moore, G. M. (1991). Distance Education Theory. The American Journal of Distance Education, 5 (3), 1-6 Kulik, James A.; Bangert, Robert L.; Williams, George W. Effects of computer-based teaching on secondary school students. Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol 75(1), Feb 1983, 19-26. doi: 10.1037/00220663.75.1.19

SUMMARY OF PART ONE OF TEACHING AND LEARNING Simonson, M., Schlosser, C.,& Hanson, D. (1999). Theory and Distance Education: A New Discussion. The American Journal of Distance Education.13. Retrieved October 12, 2013, from


Souder, W. E. (1993). The effectiveness of traditional vs. satellite delivery in three management of technology master's degree programs. The American Journal of Distance Education, 7(1), 37-53.

Williamson, J. (2009, February 11). Distance - Online Degrees & Courses, Online Colleges & Universities, Accredited Online Degree Programs. History of Distance Education. Retrieved October 15, 2013, from