Distance Education in transit? #EDENchat #EDENchatUS

What will distance education look like in the future?
Distance education has been with us for a long time. Some would argue that the first instance of distance education occurred in the first century, when Saul of Tarsus, otherwise known as the Apostle Paul, sent letters of instruction (epistles) by courier to the fledgling Christian church scattered across Asia Minor and Southern Europe. More formally, distance education has existed since the early, primitive but quite effective correspondence courses of Sir Isaac Pitman, who used the developing technology of the time, the uniform penny postal service to support his endeavours. This was in 1840, and correspondence courses became the dominant form of distance education for several decades. The subsequent introduction of new technologies such as the telephone, radio and television, and satellite telecommunication ensured that distance education became more accessible to many around the globe. The advent of the Web, along with wider access to computers, smartphones and other personal technologies, has transformed distance education to the point that anyone can now access free learning through MOOCs and other online forms of content delivery.

What will be the future of distance education? Will it be subsumed into online learning, blended learning or e-learning, or will it survive as a separate discipline? What new skills and knowledge do distance educators require today in the contexts of unprecedented technology development? What does it take to be a distance educator, and how does this differ from conventional (or contiguous) educators?  Can conventional pedagogy be adapted to distance education, or is a complete transformation of pedagogy required for learning at a distance to be successful? All these and other allied questions will be discussed when #EDENChat joins forces with the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) for a one hour special online Twitter chat on Wednesday 11th November, at 20.00 GMT (21.00 CET/15.00 ET) where we will also use the hashtag #EDENchatUS.

Please join us on Twitter to discuss the future of distance education. All previous #EDENchat transcripts can be found on the EDEN Website here.

Photo by Ed Yourdon on Flickr

Creative Commons License
Distance Education in transit? #EDENchat #EDENchatUS by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


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