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The challenge of introducing distance education as an instructional innovation in conventional institutions

Tau, O.S.; Ntloedibe-Kuswani, G.S.

Abstract:
The introduction of distance education comes as a radical innovation and a major instructional change, especially in conventional institutions.  It is ‘radical’ in the sense that it is a challenge to many characteristics of conventional institutions such as structures, rewards, norms, resources, policies and teaching strategies.  However, some institutions introduce distance education, not because they are ready for change, but because of political pressure to increase access.  This might compromise the quality of distance education as it is introduced in an environment that is not ready to embrace it.  Abedor and Sachs (1984) observed that distance education as a ‘radical innovation’ calls for a high degree of readiness, especially from conventional institutions that have already developed their own cultures of doing things. They suggest that for any major instructional change to take place in an institution it requires considerable staff and organizational development (or preparation), before adoption can be possible.  Thus, the aim of this paper is to discuss the importance of conducting front-end analysis by institutions that plan to introduce distance education, in order to establish their readiness including re-focusing the reasons and benefits of such a move.  The paper will use examples and experiences from the University of Botswana to illustrate how the level of readiness can promote or hinder efforts to introduce distance education, thereby affecting its quality.

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Title of Paper: The challenge of introducing distance education as an instructional innovation in conventional institutions
Conference Name: 22nd ICDE World Conference on Distance Education, Promoting Quality in Distance, Flexible and ICT-based Education
Conference Date: 2006-09-03
Conference Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Published as Proceedings: no


Date:2006
Document Type:Conference Paper (Peer Reviewed)
Subject Area:Teaching and Learning
Country:International
Keywords:Distance Education, University of Botswana, Innovation, Models, Quality


File Size:81 KB
Rights:Permission to reproduce this paper was granted by the authors
Date Added:06 July 2007


2006, Tau, O.S.; Ntloedibe-Kuswani, G.S. The challenge of introducing distance education as an instructional innovation in conventional institutions, Presented at the 22nd ICDE World Conference on Distance Education, 3-6 September 2006.