The Foundations of American Distance Education: A Century of Collegiate Correspondence Study
Watkins, Barbara L.
Wright, Stephen J.
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company
Copyright 1991, National University Continuing Education Association
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A century after correspondence study began in the United States, the Independent Study Division of the National Continuing Education Association has launched an ambitious project to record the history, achievements, ideas, issues, and research pertinent to practitioners, faculties, and students in distance education. The publication of The Foundations of American Distance Education: A Century of Collegiate Correspondence Study offers the profession an opportunity to gain a sense of perspective on the past, as well as on the present, that will help prepare to meet future challenges. Within this field, it has been common to cite two periods of historic development, each of which was connected to the publication of a book that had important consequences. The first is Bittner and Mallory's University Teaching by Mail (1933), which describes the origins of the field and the integration of correspondence study into American universities, and the second is Wedemeyer and Childs' New Perspectives in University Correspondence Study (1961), which assesses the incorporation of new technologies. In addition, the two volumes of the Brandenburg Memorial Essays on Correspondence Instruction (1963 and 1966), which were products of a distance education "summit" seminar in the early 1960s, prompted a new professionalism. Correspondence study practitioners began to take a modest pride in their own profession, and to insist upon steadily raising the professional level of their own scholarship and teaching. It is my hope that this new volume will have a similar influence on the profession. The past century of correspondence instruction has been a remarkable period of growth and challenge. Present demands are equally enormous: integration of more sophisticated media in instruction and management, improvement of testing and evaluation, and meeting the educational needs of an increasingly diverse population. In the past century the proliferation of the correspondence study /independent study I distance education movement has generated educational change throughout the world. Today researchers and practitioners bring into the field new concepts, perceptions, and scholarship, as well as new teaching-learning models. The lessons of the past emphasize that much hard work, innovation, and initiative are necessary to keep pace with the challenges of the times. The articles in this volume provide opportunities for reflection, practical information, and guidance for independent study' s second century.
The Foundations of American Distance Education: A Century of Collegiate Correspondence Study. The Eisenhower Era. Lawrence, Kan.: University of Kansas, 1991.
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