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Distance Education Concerns

Identify/describe an issue of concern in Distance Education. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of a specific synchronous OR asynchronous technology in addressing this concern (e.g. live conferencing , discussion groups, learning management systems, blogs, wikis, podcasts,, video lectures, textual or/and audio chat, etc.).

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The ultimate goal in distance education is to deliver an educational product devoid of the frills and potential exasperation of technology. In an ideal situation the screen disappears and the distance education student has the same classroom experience as a student sitting in the room with the instructor. Much like a good referee in a basketball game is invisible to the fan; a well designed distance education system places the technology in the background rather than the forefront of each class.

When discussing synchronous, asynchronous or a blended delivery of both systems there are different strengths and weakness associated with each one.

The live conference, interactive discussion group and chat sessions all occur in the synchronous realm. While this is perhaps the best delivery system for some students since it preserves the traditional classroom setting albeit in a distance situation its drawbacks are myriad.

The first major obstacle in synchronous delivery is to get the students in the class at the same time. With three time zones in the United States alone and 21 more worldwide, an asynchronous class can be conveniently set in the late morning or early afternoon for one group but in the middle of the night for other students. Additional scheduling problems come in adjusting bell schedules to match when students take distance education as a supplement within a traditional school day. Only the state of Utah has unified bell schedules across their state to allow simultaneously delivery to each student regardless of ...

Solution Summary

The ultimate goal in distance education is to deliver an educational product devoid of the frills and potential exasperation of technology. In an ideal situation the screen disappears and the distance education student has the same classroom experience as a student sitting in the room with the instructor. Much like a good referee in a basketball game is invisible to the fan; a well designed distance education system places the technology in the background rather than the forefront of each class.

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