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Observation of Instruction via Distance Learning: The Need for a New Evaluation Paradigm

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Mid-South Educational Research Association Annual Meeting,


The evaluation of instruction via distance learning at the high school and college level offers special challenges, particularly the evaluation of one-way video--two-way audio instructional programs. The role of the teacher is radically changed and teaching strategies and course design are particularly important in a distance leaning environment. Students must be prepared to assume more responsibility for their own learning since, usually, there is no opportunity for immediate clarification as in a normal classroom setting. The beginning of the class is particularly important in setting the stage for learning. Teachers also need to plan for as much student interaction as possible. Effective teaching includes intentional use of modeling behaviors and illustrations or demonstrations. Teachers must also make opportunities for checking student understanding at the most opportune time often accomplished via telephone or computer. In television instruction, the effective use of time must be evaluated differently, with more extended wait times when questioning distance students. Communication in a distance format minimizes the nonverbal component and raises the potential for erroneous interpretation. Independent practice to extend content is particularly important in the distance learning environment but is more difficult to incorporate into the lesson. Well-researched criteria are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of distance learning instruction. (Contains 38 references.) (DB)


Malone, B.G., Malm, L.D., Nay, F.W., Oliver, B.E., Saunders, N.G. & Thompson, J.C. (1997). Observation of Instruction via Distance Learning: The Need for a New Evaluation Paradigm. Presented at Mid-South Educational Research Association Annual Meeting 1997. Retrieved April 23, 2021 from .

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