Components of a Distance Education System
by Lisa M. Blaschke
Essay Assignment 3
OMDE602 Distance Education Systems, Section 9040
April 20, 2003
The distance education system described in this paper consists of five major components: organization management, human resources management, course management, learner management, and leadership. Listed within each component are the primary processes that occur within the component. Processes listed within a component are based on primary ownership of the process, as processes can involve one or more components and can occur across the system.
DISTANCE EDUCATION SYSTEM COMPONENTS
According to Kovel-Jarboe (1990), the key to the existence of a distance education program is structure, organization, and administration. The organization management component's primary role is to provide the structure for organizing and administrating the distance education system. Processes include:
(Moore & Kearsley, 1996; SAP higher education and research solution map, 2003; Daniel & Snowden, 1981; Rumble, 1992)
Human Resources Management
The human resources system component supports the recruitment, training, evaluation, professional development, and administration of personnel within the distance education system. Processes include:
(Moore & Kearsley, 1996; SAP higher education and research solution map, 2003; Rumble, 1992; Converso, Schaffer, & Guerra, 1999; Tait, 1996)
Course management consists of the planning, design, development, production, delivery, assessment, and archiving processes. Processes include:
(Moore & Kearsley, 1996; Rumble, 1992; Keegan, 1996; SAP higher education and research solution map, 2003; Converso et al., 1999; Models of instructional design and course development, n.d.; Rubin, n.d.; Spitzer, 1991; Systems approach to designing, 1996-2002; Schiffman, 1986)
The learner management component contains the activities that create the two-way communication link between the learner and the institution (Keegan 1996). Processes include:
(SAP higher education and research solution map, 2003; Moore & Kearsley, 1996; Keegan, 1996; Converso et al., 1999; Rumble, 1992; Friedman, n.d.)
Leadership, or governance, of the distance education system is crucial to its success as an organization. This component, defined by Keegan (1996) as the decision-making and control system, is responsible for the organization as a whole, its vision, and its direction and should be led by leaders who have a "deep concern for both production and people" (Daniel & Snowden, 1981, p. 224). Processes include:
(SAP higher education and research solution map, 2003; Moore and Kearsley, 1996; Rumble, 1992; Daniel & Snowden, 1981)
In addition to the five components of organization management, human resources management, course management, learner management, and leadership, the success of the distance education organization is also dependent upon "communication and data linkages that allow for a useful as well as an open and timely flow of information among all subsystems and with the learner and learning facilities" (Converso et al., 1999, p 3). This continual communication of information among the components of the distance education system is critical to ensure effective and efficient functioning of the system.
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