June 1, 2011

Philosophy of Distance Education


It is my belief that distance learning can be one of the most exciting and challenging fields at any institution of higher education. To be successful in developing content meaningful for the students, faculty, and staff, one is required to possess three strong attributes: technological mastery, strong communication ability, and development expertise within learning environments. I know I can bring these abilities to your university.

Technological mastery envelops more than just knowledge of the present hardware and software. It requires the ability to seek new technologies, which will assist and advance the student, faculty, and institutional goals. It also involves the ability to evaluate appropriate technologies and decide upon their relevance and value to those goals. Actively seeking technology and information keeps an institution at the highest academic level. The active peer relationships that I currently possess and those I will actively seek to develop in the future allow me the ability to see what other institutions implement and make sure to meet or stay ahead of all technical trends.

The ability to communicate effectively is the most important attribute to success in any environment, especially distance learning environments. The ability to clearly state issues and systematic resolutions to students and faculty alike improves their attitude toward the institution. Active communication includes more than just when things go wrong; it is also about communicating when things go right. Communication of current activities and future endeavors keeps the university community focused and encourages buy-in to the institutional goals. It gives the faculty, students, and staff a feeling of support and belonging to the institution and aids in student retention.

It is important that all members supporting distance education understand development. This includes everyone from the president and chancellor to the student workers. The development of online courses and compressed video require understanding student needs, pedagogical beliefs, and faculty competencies. Student needs include ADA compliance, ease of use, and reliability of content and design. Understanding the importance of teaching and learning styles makes development more understandable, usable, and reliable. Distance learning necessitates a partnership between the faculty who possess content expertise and instructional designers, who possess the technical expertise. This marriage of these specialist fields produces a harmonious partnership that keeps the entire university family together and happy. Development also includes to ability to foresee future needs for the department to meet the institution’s expected goals.

While these three attributes may seem simplistic, it can be difficult to find someone with the right mix of these qualities. I embrace these ideals when making daily decisions and developing long-term goals in distance learning for administration, faculty, staff, and students. Implementation of these goals will insure success for the institution today, tomorrow, and always.