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Agreeing to Disagree: Definitions of Distance Education

Shannon M. Johnson, M.E.T.

University of Maryland University College

Shannon M. Johnson
OMDE 601 Section 9020
May 31, 2015
Assignment 1

Agreeing to Disagree: Definitions of Distance Education

For many years there has been little agreement amongst researchers of exactly how to
define distance education. The only aspect everyone seems to agree on, is that the students and
teachers are separated by distance (Schulte, 2011, p. 35).

Commented [DJO1]: Your citation indicates a direct quote no

quotation marks?

In 1840, Sir Issac Pitman, the inventor of shorthand, was the first use distance education
to deliver learning materials to students (Matthews, 1999). In the years since, distance education
has evolved from correspondence courses delivered by the postal service to the Internet being
todays preferred method of delivery (Moore & Kearsley, 2012, p. 23-43).

Commented [DJO2]: In text, you only list the page number (s)
if it is a direct quote. Same issue in paragraph 1. Please see APA.

Michael G. Moore and Greg Kearsley suggest in their book Distance Education: A
Systems View of Online Learning (2012) , Distance Education is teaching and planned learning
in which teaching normally occurs in a different place from learning, requiring communication
through technologies as well as special institutional organization (p. 2). This is a thorough

Commented [DJO3]: This is the correct way to use quotation

marks and include the page number. Good work.

definition and discusses three main areas: organization of learning, audience, and method of
In most cases, todays learner signs into a learning management system to access their
courses. These courses have been designed by administration and field subject matter experts.
Following the design, the courses are developed by curriculum developers and instructional
designers. Every step is carefully planned and organized to ensure the best outcomes for the
students (Naidu, 2014, p. 268).

Commented [DJO4]: The assignment focus is for you to select

one definition from the literature and to discuss how it aligns with
your own views of distance education. I cannot determine which
definition you have selected you r have cited a number.

Shannon M. Johnson
OMDE 601 Section 9020
May 31, 2015
Assignment 1

Once the student accesses the course, it is facilitated by an instructor. Usually on a

weekly basis, based off a written agenda, the student is responsible for accessing the course,
reading materials, and submitting homework assignments within the learning management
system. All of this interaction has been pre-planned and is conducted over an Internet
connection. The teacher and student could be separated by a campus or they could be on
different continents.
Students use distance education as a way to earn their degree for many different reasons.
During the early stages of distance education, correspondence courses served a population of
students who for various reasons were not able to be in the same place at the same time as their
teacher, this remains the same today.
Moore and Kearsleys definition discusses requiring communication through
technologies. When looking at the definition, one must also think about the technologies used

Commented [DJO5]: If this verbatim words, you must include

the year and page number. It appears as quoted material yes?

in the delivery of coursework. Today there are many methods of delivery for distance education
and emergent technologies seem to multiply each year.
One drawback to the Moore and Kearsley definition is the lack of consideration for those
that do not have technologies readily available. Naidu discusses technologies in distance
education that could possibly exclude individuals that do not have reliable access to Internet
(Naidu, 2014, p. 266 - 267).

Commented [DJO6]: But is this really a defining characteristic

of a DE definition?

Shannon M. Johnson
OMDE 601 Section 9020
May 31, 2015
Assignment 1
In the 175 years since the inception of distance education there has been many changes in
the field, but yet it has held onto its founding idea to provide learning to students that are
separated by distance from their instructors. Theorists and researchers to this point have not
agreed on any one standard definition and they might not arrive at a conclusion anytime soon.
However, distance education will continue to evolve and if they came up with one definition by
the time everyone agrees, something will change and theyll have to start over again!
Your essay has some strong writing in places, however, you were unclear regarding which
definition was your primary definition from the literature; and you did not discuss how
this aligns or doesnt with your own definition of distance education. This was the primary
focus of the assignment. You describe many facets of modern distance education but very
little of your paper describes your definition and your own views.

Shannon M. Johnson
OMDE 601 Section 9020
May 31, 2015
Assignment 1

Matthews, D. (1999, September). The origins of distance education and its use in the United
States. The Journal. Retrieved from https://www.questia.com/read/1G1-56182883/theorigins-of-distance-education-and-its-use-in-the
Moore, M. G., & Kearsley, G. (2012). Distance Education: A Systems View of Online Learning
(3 ed.). Belmont: Wadsworth.
Naidu, S. (2014). Looking back, looking forward: the invention and reinvention of distance
education. Distance Education, 35(3), 263-270. doi:10.1080/01587919.2014.961671
Schulte, M. (2011). The Foundations of Technology DIstance Education: A Review of the
Literature to 2001. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 59(1), 34-44.
Commented [DJO7]: Nice work via APA referencing Shannon.
Please review citations for directly quoted material. See my
comments early in your paper.

Shannon M. Johnson
OMDE 601 Section 9020
May 31, 2015
Assignment 1