Components of a Distance Education System
by Lisa M. Blaschke
Essay Assignment 3
OMDE602 Distance Education Systems, Section 9040
April 20, 2003

INTRODUCTION

    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 

Organization Management

    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

    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)

Learner Management

    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

    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)

SUMMARY

    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.

References:

    Converso, J.A., Schaffer, S.P. & Guerra, I.J. (1999, October). Distributed learning environment: Major functions, implementation, and continuous improvement. Florida State University: Learning Systems Institute. Retrieved April 11, 2003 from the E*Subscribe MDUSA Database.

    Daniel, J. & Snowden, B.L. (1981). The management of small open universities. In M. Prentz & M. Neil, Education of adults at a distance (pp. 217-226). London: Kogan Page.

    Dodd, J. (n.d.). Activity scheduling. In A. Kaye & G. Rumble, Distance teaching for higher education (pp. 73-88). London: Croom Helm.

    Friedman, Z. (n.d.). Systems for student administration (pp. 123-140). Retrieved January 18, 2003 from Course Content CD, OMDE602.

    Keegan, D. (1996). Foundations of distance education. London: Routledge.

    Kovel-Jarboe, P. (1990). Organization and administration of distance education. In M. Moore, Contemporary issues in American distance education (pp. 22-29). Oxford: Pergamon.

    Models of instructional design and course development. (n.d.). Instructional design and course development at UMUC. Retrieved April 14, 2003 from Course Content, OMDE602.

    Moore, M.G. & Kearsley, G. (1996). Distance education: A systems view. United States of America: Wadsworth Publishing Company.

    Reid, J. (1996). Managing learning support. In F. Lockwood, Open and distance learning today (pp. 265-275). London: Routledge.

    Rumble, G. (1992).  The management of distance learning systems. Paris: UNESCO.

    Rubin, E. (no date). Critical questions to ask regarding the design and development of instructional materials, 35 paras. Instructional design and course development at UMUC. Retrieved April 14, 2003 from Course Content, OMDE602.

    SAP higher education and research solution map. (2003). Retrieved April 11, 2003 from http://www.sap.com/businessmaps/13D431AF73054671A2452B2E7A49F59E/.

    Schiffman, S. (1986). Instructional systems design: Five views of the field. Journal of Instructional Development, 9(3), 14-21.

    Schrieber, D. (1998). Instructional design in distance training. In D. Schrieber and Z. Berge (Eds.), Distance training (pp. 37-65). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    Skrzeszewski, S. (1999). Community learning networks: Using technology to enable lifelong learning. FID Review, 1(2/3), 62-67.

    Spitzer, D.R. (1991, August). Training technology: How to design successful systems: Part one. Educational Technology, 20 paragraphs.

    Systems approach to designing online learning activities: UMUC/Bell Atlantic virtual resource site for teaching with technology, 51 paras. (1996-2002). Retrieved January 18, 2003 from http://www.umuc.edu/virtualteaching/module1/systems.html.

    Tait, A. (1996). Student support in open and distance learning. In F. Lockwood, Open and distance learning today (pp. 141-149). London: Routledge.

    Tate, O. (1986). Monitoring and evaluating the performance of a distance education institution. Epistolodidaktika (pp. 77-103). Retrieved January 18, 2003 from Course Content CD, OMDE602.