|Title||The Death of Distance: The Birth of the Global Higher Education Economy|
Distance Education Centre
University of Southern Queensland
There appears to be a general consensus that we have entered the information age and that we are on the verge of the information economy. There is widespread acknowledgement of the view that education must be a critical driving force in the emergence of the information economy, but there is also widespread skepticism as to whether education systems will be able to overcome their traditional inertia and respond to the challenge of the knowledge-based revolution. Whereas the process of education has remained relatively unscathed for many centuries, it will not be exempt from the current forces of technological development and globalization.
Will the death of distance lead to the demise of distance education? What does all this mean for distance education institutions and ICDE? Such questions have no immediately obvious answers. Predicting the exact nature of the specific impact of technological change on education and other aspects of society has always been something of a risky business, as history demonstrates.
|Title||The Dynamics of Quality Assurance in On-Line Distance Education|
|Author||Molly Corbett Broad
The University of North Carolina, USA
The social and economic importance of higher education has long been recognized throughout the world. However, the rapid advance of technology continues to transform the global economy into a knowledge economy, further emphasizing the essential role higher education plays in the economic viability of individuals, companies, and countries. As higher education's stature grows, we should keep in mind that its increasing importance offers both opportunities and pitfalls. To capitalize on the former while avoiding the latter, we must understand where higher education stands in relation to the rest of the world and the "knowledge revolution."
Like its global counterparts, the American higher education sector is struggling to navigate a sea of change that has stimulated broad interest in distance education. The explosion of computing and telecommunications technologies has generated particular interest in distance education enabled by information technology (IT). The dynamics of this increasing interest can be understood through:
|Title||Developing Countries and the Future of Distance and Open Learning in the Twenty-first Century|
The Open University of Hong Kong
First, it is becoming almost impossible to mention education and development in developing countries without distance and open learning immediately coming to everyone's lips. It has become, if you like, the anthem of comprehensive national development. One sometimes wonders how the world, especially the developing world, has survived without distance and open education the way we know it today, given the tremendous role it has played in the recent past in all countries of the world. I shall return to this issue later.
Second, distance and open education is undergoing phenomenal transformation in all parts of the world. Contemporary developments have shown that distance and open education has now become a household fashion in almost every part of the globe. It is even more significant that the so-called traditional universities which have all along contributed to deriding this innovative and practical form of mass education are now emerging as the major players in its provision even though it will not be out of place to say that their major motivation may not be congruent with the one which the typical open and distance education providers have been associated with. It will not be too long before all universities in the world take their queue in search of their part of the global pie of distance and open education.
Third, the opportunity to share my thoughts with you today is also significant because I am next in line to host the ICDE-SCOP meeting in 1999. Hong Kong is looking forward to welcoming all of you and to share with you our experience in what we would like to regard as a successful experiment in using the most cost effective and broad based mode of education to catch the majority of the masses who yearn for education both for personal and national development. It is true to say that but for distance and open learning, the majority of these people would never have had the opportunity of higher education. In this sense distance education is not only a champion of education for all, it has also provided a level playing field for all who wish to participate. In the developing countries therefore, at least as far as the developing countries of Asia are concerned, we can confidently say that we have mastered how to take the distance out of education for anyone who is interested. Indeed as I will mention later, the 'distance' aspect of education has been redefined in Hong Kong.
These abstracts were prepared by David Grant, using text from the articles as presented by the authors.