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Instructional Development for Distance Education


Students taking university-level courses through distance education have special needs, primarily because of their isolation from immediate contacts with instructors and special facilities. Developing instructional methods to meet these needs is important if the quality of distance education is to be high. Schools established solely to provide distance education, such as Britain's Open University or Canada's Athabasca University, are committed to instructional development and the adequate training of instructors. But schools that provide a conventional, campus-based program and a distance program too often treat the distance program as merely an inferior version of the traditional program and give only token recognition to the special needs of the students. The University of Waterloo in Ontario offers distance education to 6,000 of its 25,000 students and has a small office of instructional development. This office has worked with other campus offices and departments on several projects, including conducting a major research study of program students, organizing workshops for both students and teachers, developing study skills materials for students, and consulting on preparation of an instrument for evaluating distance education. Still incomplete but in process is an effort to improve course design for distance education. (PGD)


Knapper, C. Instructional Development for Distance Education. Retrieved February 26, 2021 from .

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