Preliminary book review: An Introduction to Distance Education

Tony Bates, Weblog, Apr 20, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Excellent summary and review of a book that strikes me as an epitaph for distance education. This is very much not what the authors - a collection of mostly Canadian contributors - had in mind. But the overall theme of the book sweeps from traditional distance education through a transitional period toward a "unified approach" - the latter being, to me, code for the collapse of distance education into either traditional or online learning (for example: "a discussion of the underlying pedagogical possibilities of technologies that increasingly tie together physical worlds"). It's telling that the work is a traditional book, and hence unavailable to me online, which makes reading it problematic. I can't think authors will be writing, and publishing exclusively on paper, about distance education for very much longer into the future.
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