Challenges in Implementing
Distance Learning Programs

Instructional Challenges

  1. What topics lend themselves to distance education?

  2. How can we create a community of online learners?

  3. How do we maximize student-teacher, student-student interaction online?

  4. How can we select and use synchronous and asynchronous tools to facilitate the interaction essential for learning?

  5. How do we prepare students to get technologically prepared for distance training?

  6. How do we accommodate different learning styles and age ranges?

  7. How does the choice of technology affect learning? Does it affect the distant student's sense of satisfaction with the course?

  8. How do we avoid not letting the technology interfere with quality education?

  9. What training do students/instructors need to implement distance education effectively?

  10. What credentials do distance learning instructors need?

  11. What are appropriate training models for distance learning?

  12. Does technology help move us from a teacher-centered model to a learner-centered model of education?

  13. How will changes in our on-campus learning environments impact upon our distance education delivery systems and methods?

  14. What assumptions do we make vis-a-vis traditional education? What should be questioned?

  15. How do we set appropriate expectations for student work?

  16. How do we adapt in a new environment (beyond training issues)?

Management Challenges

  1. What training do faculty members need to be successful in online teaching?

  2. How do we provide equal access to distance learning?

  3. How do we address the technological haves and have-nots issue?

  4. How do we successfully implement a fee model for distance education?

  5. What funding models should we adapt to support distance learning course development (cost-benefit analysis)?

  6. How do we determine when to initiate distance education programs?

  7. How do we educate the decision makers on technology support?

  8. How do we ascertain the goals of distance learning (efficiency, broad standards, access to quality education, reaching broader group of learners)?

  9. How can we support the delivery of online education (e.g., registration, advising, library and laboratory facilities)?

  10. What intellectual properties/copyright issues must be addressed?

  11. How do we deal with the system when it fails?

  12. How do we address privacy issues?

  13. How do we keep from replicating other institutions or publishers distance learning efforts?

  14. How do we address the respectability/image of distance education issue?

  15. How do we address working across other departments in distance education programs?

  16. How do we develop balance in distance learning workloads compared to traditional workloads in clinical settings?

  17. What is the relationship of online education to residential campus education?

  18. What is the relationship between publicly funded and privately funded distance education?

  19. How do we market distance education in a changing marketplace?

  20. How do faculty attitudes towards distance learning impact developing distance education programs?

  21. What incentives do faculty members need in order to commit to teaching online courses?

Assessment Challenges

  1. How do we monitor/authenticate student performance in distance learning?

  2. How do we assess effectiveness of online learning?

  3. What are the decision criteria for selecting appropriate distance learning technology?

  4. How do we assure that distance learning tools are interoperable?

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