Training Instructor

In: Other Topics

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Current Issues

Principles of Good Practice for Distance Learning Programs by Barbara Krauth
Barbara Krauth (barbkrauth@wiche.edu) is a Research Assistant at WICHE and is involved in the Balancing Quality and Access program of the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications.

T

1 This project is supported by the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE).

6

CAUSE/EFFECT Spring 1996

he Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications (WCET), a program of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), is at the forefront of a growing movement to develop guidelines for evaluating distance learning programs. The Western Cooperative’s project, Balancing Quality and Access: Reducing State Policy Barriers to Electronically Delivered Higher Education,1 is only one of several efforts under way to develop “standards” or “principles” for higher education programs delivered via telecommunications. The project’s overall goal is to encourage the interstate delivery of high quality education programs via electronic means to students in the Western states. At its heart are two questions: what does “quality” mean, and how can it be addressed? The quality question is being asked by a variety of interested parties, for up to now there has been nothing to guide the review of electronically offered programs from any relevant perspective. That is, neither state agencies responsible for approving higher education programs, the regional accrediting associations, institutions involved in developing programs for delivery at a distance, nor students curious about whether they might pursue their educational goals via telecommunications have had any way to judge the quality of programs delivered by technology. A number of regional and national organizations are now involved in efforts to develop standards for distance learning…...

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