Book Review: Online Distance Education: Towards a Research Agenda

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DeVries, Irwin
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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)
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As seen by Otto Peters in his foreword to this substantial volume, the early days of correspondence-based distance education garnered little attention from researchers. As distance education became more widely adopted and researched, a prevalent theme involved comparisons of distance education with traditional face-to-face methods, mostly in attempts to prove the equivalence of the two. While such studies were fraught with methodological challenges, they arose in response to the perceived need for this new kid on the block to prove its legitimacy to an often skeptical academic constituency. // It is impossible in this short review to represent the breadth and depth of the chapters in this volume. Suffice it to say at this point that there is a cornucopia of recommendations for research agendas or projects throughout the chapters. Journal editors as well as faculty, who research and teach in online distance education, may find that this book increases their awareness of the research gaps. Further, combining topics or questions from the different areas has the potential to inspire entirely new lines of research. // This volume is an eye-opener, and it should be on the desk or device of every distance education researcher and student, particularly since the online PDF version is free for download. I think it’s safe to say that it will serve the field of online distance education studies well for many years to come.
Distance Education, Online Learning, Research
Journal of Learning for Development;vol. 3, no. 3