Distance Education: A Call for Papers
by TC Record - March 03, 2002
A Call for Papers for a Special Issue of the Teachers College Record and TCRecord.org
Teachers College Record announces a call for papers for a special issue devoted to Distance Education. The growing demand for education at all levels and in all areas has combined with a wave of new communications and computing developments to create a renaissance in educational opportunities offered at a distance. These developments raise new opportunities as well as new challenges for educators, for students, and for educational policy makers. Papers on all aspects of distance education are welcome. Papers that address the following perspectives are particularly encouraged.
THE LEARNING PERSPECTIVE
Learning should be at the heart of any educational enterprise. Distance Education promises an unprecedented expansion in learning opportunities not only because it can break down the barriers of time and space that isolate learners from educational opportunities, but also because it increasingly relies on technological tools and environments that have the capacity to expand the modes of instruction to suit the needs of diverse learners in quite different circumstances. Only serious investigations into the emerging models of online learning and the impact on student cognitive and affective development will reveal which approaches are most effective. These and other inquiries into the learning impact of distance education are essential for progress in the field.
THE TEACHING PERSPECTIVE
Distance education raises special concerns for professional educators who typically practice a holistic integrated approach to teaching and who rely upon the ability to develop a personal connection with students to achieve their goals. In some circumstances distance education arrangements can require educators to rely on complex instructional teams that segment the work of teaching into more specialized tasks such as content development and instructional design. At the same time distance education can create new barriers to establishing close working relationships between teachers and students. A special challenge connected to teaching and distance education concerns the additional effort required when instruction is shifted to meet the needs of students at a distance. Inquiries into the ways in which distance education arrangements challenge traditional teaching conditions as well as explorations of the ways in which new approaches might allow traditional teaching conditions to be maintained might contribute important insights for the further development of distance education.
THE TECHNOLOGY PERSPECTIVE
A great deal of the current interest and activity in distance education stems from the possibilities of improving the distance education experience for both teachers and students through the use of new communications and computing technologies. These new technologies are evolving quickly in response both to technological progress and to the reactions of early adopters. Such technologies can influence the design of instruction by facilitating some approaches and frustrating others with important implications for the overall quality of the educational experience. Recent technical developments, the interaction of technological and educational possibilities, and the future of technology to support distance education are among the topics that merit attention.
THE ORGANIZATIONAL PERSPECTIVE
Distance education has grown rapidly as a component of existing educational organizations, including colleges and universities, corporate and institutional environments, and K-12 schools. Such growth has raised a host of new issues such as how distance education can be equated with existing offerings in terms of faculty workload and student course credits, whether distance education programs should be integrated with existing programs or stand alone, how educators can be prepared to become effective working at a distance from their students, and whether existing review processes can guarantee the quality of distance education offerings. These and other organizational and management concerns merit careful examination.
THE POLICY PERSPECTIVE
Distance Education raises a host of questions for policy makers. Issues concerning the governance of efforts that span governmental and institutional boundaries, the general regulatory and accreditation environment, the use of public and private funds to initiate distance learning efforts, the costs of distance learning, the rise of new educational organizations, alliances, or networks, the ownership of intellectual property, and the overall distribution of distance learning opportunities all deserve serious attention.
THE HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
Distance Education has a long history, perhaps most notably in the form of correspondence study. These earlier efforts at educating at a distance may carry important lessons for current and future initiatives to develop and improve distance education options.
As always, TCR welcomes a full range of theoretical and methodological approaches. Submissions may take a variety of forms including articles presenting new empirical work in this area; theoretical essays on this topic; commentaries from practitioners, policymakers or researchers working in this area; or forms that take advantage of online publishing possibilities such as interactivity, and dataset sharing. Papers that combine well-developed conceptual frameworks with careful empirical work are particularly appreciated. TCR anticipates both print and online publication in this area. Authors should indicate any preference when submitting their work. Authors should also indicate that a submission is intended for consideration for the special issue on distance education. Review of papers will begin immediately; for full consideration please submit papers for this special issue by October 1, 2002.