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Quality assurance in distance education: The challenges to be addressed


Integration of technology in all forms ofeducation has narrowed down the gap between theon- and off-campus students and has resulted inthe use of the more broad-based term`distributed learning'. Consequently, distancelearning is seen as a subset of distributedlearning, focusing on students who may beseparated in time and space from their peersand the instructor. The new forms and meaningsit is acquiring, its convergence withtraditional learning and its global impact poseseveral challenges. It has caused a seriousconcern to the governments and the qualityassurance agencies all over the world about thesafety of the national systems, legitimacy ofthe providers, protecting the public from fakeproviders, quality of the offerings etc. thecommon element being `concern for quality'.Many quality assurance agencies have respondedto this need and there is considerable dialogueabout ensuring quality in distance education.Some think that quality assurance practices fordistance education are essentially the same asthose used for traditional education. Othersargue that distance education testsconventional assumptions and hence the presentmechanisms of quality assurance are notadequate to ensure the quality of distanceeducation. This paper highlights the aspects ofdistance education that deviate so markedlyfrom what has been practiced for hundreds ofyears and argues that quality assurance ofdistance education has to be approacheddifferently.

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Stella, A., Gnanam, A. Quality assurance in distance education: The challenges to be addressed. Higher Education 47, 143–160 (2004).

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  • distance education
  • distributed learning
  • e-learning
  • new forms of learning
  • on-line learning
  • quality assurance of/challenges of