Challenges and Issues in Distance Education

Visual Education Technologies are expanding throughout the country, especially within the education and government sectors. This has required educators and trainers to examine numerous issues that contribute to the success or failure of visual communications, also known as videoconferencing. Considerations, such as: room design, classroom management, scheduling, training, trouble shooting equipment, and cost/benefit tradeoffs must be considered.

Without well thought-out planning, schools and government entities will experience the “white elephant syndrome”. You know, it just becomes another piece of equipment that sits there and collects dust. Just locate your equipment in one teacher’s classroom and it becomes identified with that teacher only. Locate it where everyone has access to it and provide the hands-on professional development and watch its usage grow.

Those of you that embrace the existing and emerging technologies into teaching and learning know of the numerous benefits. The integration of multi-media into video communications enhances dynamic presentations and utilizes both the verbal and auditory strengths of viewers from host and remote locations.

Distance Education is about change and the roles of instructors and administrators are different compared to traditional classroom instruction. Some instructors are very reluctant to give up their physical presence with students and having to prepare materials without being initially involved in interaction with students. There are also significant changes within schools and training organizations. With distance education, schools must identify suitable space for a designated distance learning classroom. Because there is no geographic boundary, organizations will be more focused on content and geographic expansion. This is being seen with Universities that are now offering classes at school sites throughout the country. This also means that all educational providers need to rethink their marketing strategies.

The following two pages identify the major issues and challenges that institutions and organizations are facing. Although you may have gone through the planning and preparation for this technology enhancement, you may benefit from a few things that have been identified by teachers, trainers and administrators over the past four years.

Planning

Operations

Site Facilitator

Management and Policy Issues

Technology Adoption and Training

Instructional Issues