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The Open University of Tanzania (OUT)

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1 The Open University of Tanzania (OUT)

2 ODC 022: Philosophy and Scope of Distance Education and Open Learning
Course Description Course Objectives Part 1: Distance Education and Open Learning Lecture 1: The Need for Distance Education and Open Learning Lecture 2: The Distinction Between Distance Education and Open Learning

3 Part 2: Philosophy in Distance Education and
Open Learning Lecture 3: Introduction to Philosophy Lecture 4: The Need for a Philosophy of Distance Education and Open Learning Lecture 5: Philosophical Underpinnings of

4 Part 3: Theories in Distance Education and
Open Learning Lecture 6: Theoretical Approaches in Distance Education and Open Learning Part 4: Scope of Distance Education and Open Learning Lecture 7: Scope of Distance Education and Lecture 8: Programmes offered by CoL and other ODL Institutions

5 Part 5: Managing Distance Education and Open
Learning Lecture 9: Conditions for Successful Distance Education and Open Learning Programmes Lecture 10: Features of a Well Managed ODL Institution

6 Course Description ODL combines the principles of learner centeredness; lifelong learning; flexibility of learning provision; the removal of barriers to educational access; the recognition for credit of prior learning experience; the provision of learner support; the maintenance of rigorous quality assurance over the design of learning materials and support system, to ensure learners’ success.

7 Course Objectives Account for the adoption of distance education and open learning as a delivery mode for educational and training programmes. Discuss the theories underlying the organization and use of distance education and open learning. Outline the scope of distance education and open learning delivery mode.

8 Course Objectives cont….
Identify ideal conditions for effective and successful distance education and open learning programmes.

9 Part 1: Distance Education and Open Learning
Lecture 1: The Need for Distance Education and Open Learning We employ this delivery mode in order to: (i) Widen access to education and training. (ii) Promote quality and effective learning. (iii) Deliver education and training on the basis of equality and equity.

10 In order to widen access to educational and training opportunities, distance education and open learning relies on the following principles: - Lifelong learning. - Flexibility of learning provision. - Removal of barriers to educational access. - Recognition of credit of prior learning experience.

11 Promotion of quality and effective learning depends on the following principles:
- Learner centeredness - Provision of learner support - Construction of learning programmes with the expectation that learners can succeed in their learning. - Maintenance of rigorous quality assurance over the design of learning materials.

12 Lecture 2: Delivery of Education on the Basis of
Equality and Equity Equality in education is about creating a fair society, where all the members have equal opportunities to meet their educational and training needs. Equity in education is about creating a fair society, where all the members achieve equal benefits from available educational and training opportunities.

13 ODL can promote equality in education as it employs the principles of learner centeredness; lifelong learning; flexibility of learning provision; the removal of barriers to educational access; the recognition for credit of prior learning experience and the provision of learner support, in instructional delivery. It promotes equity in education through the provision of learner support and maintenance of rigorous quality assurance over the design of learning materials and support system.

14 Contrary to popular expectations, distance education is not necessarily a vehicle of democratic provision of education. Use of “programmed media” such as texts (similar to this one), broadcasts, audio and video cassettes, computer based instruction, etc; results in a closed system in which communication is one way (from the teacher to the student).

15 Use of dialogic media such as letters, telephone conversations, electronic mail and computer conferences where both tutors and students have an opportunity to share ideas results in an open system in which communication is two-way. The extent to which a distance education programme is “open” is determined by its “dialogue” and “structure” features.

16 “Dialogue” describes the extent to which learners and tutors are able to communicate.
“Structure” is a measure of the responsiveness of the educational programme to learners’ individual needs. Programmed media are less dialogic than dialogic media like letters, telephone conversations, electronic mail and computer conferences.

17 In a highly structured educational programme, the objectives and the methods to be used are determined for the learner and are not flexible.  In a programme which is less structured and dialogue is easy, interaction between the tutor and learner permits very personal and individual learning and teaching. Distance education is aimed at a mass audience and isolated learners unable to refer to libraries and discuss with peers and tutors.

18 Distance education does not become a vehicle for totalitarian control of education, when the following measures are taken: (i) Provide to students opportunities to negotiate the learning objectives (module and course choice; alternative pathways through materials; project work /case study, etc). (ii) Balance the manufacturing aspects of distance education (packaging and delivery of study materials) and its service aspects (learning).

19 Both measures can be promoted through tutoring and counselling.
The philosophy of distance education and open learning recognizes individual characteristics as the basis of a learner centred education system. However, the manufacturing industry approach, is at variance with the basic philosophy of distance education and open learning which is learner centred.

20 Tuition and counselling, individualize mass produced course materials and encourage students to make sense of knowledge and information on their own terms. However, they should not be time tabled and structured in a manner which undermines access and dialogue. Video conferencing , face-to-face, correspondence, telephone and computer-based tuition and counseling significantly promote access and dialogue.

21 Time tabled media - broadcasts, audio-conferencing, fact-to-face tutorials and formal invigilated examinations, reduce openness as they introduce an element of pacing into a distance education programme. Drop-out rates in paced programmes (like this one) are lower than in unpaced programmes. For weak students, the open door may become the “spinning door”. After “spinning” the students around, they are thrown out as push-outs or drop-outs (Avoid this group).

22 Lecture 3: The Distinction – Distance Education and Open Learning
These are not opposing concepts. They only deal with two different issues. Distance education deals with the means of education provision (media/technologies). Open learning deals with the objective of education provision (massification of access on the basis of equality and equity).

23 Open learning is normally described in terms of the following 5 criteria:
(i) Access related criteria (ii) Place and pace of study criteria (iii) Means criteria (iv) Content and assessment criteria (v) Support services criteria Assess the level of openness of any familiar Distance Education/ODL Institution, in terms of these criteria.

24 Part 2: Philosophy of Distance Education and Open Learning
Lecture 4: Introduction to Philosophy Philosophy from Greek words – “philo” meaning love and “sophia”meaning wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to raise fundamental questions on human existence and nature. Philosophy pursues true and better knowledge.

25 It teaches us how to judge rightly the nature of the truth and knowledge.
Philosophy teaches us the need to keep on investigating further the existing body of knowledge, in order to improve it and perfect our practices. Hence, the need to understand and investigate further, the philosophy or theoretical foundations of distance education and open learning.

26 Normally, theories provide us with tentative but debatable answers or knowledge. Hence, the need to continuously investigate existing knowledge in order to improve and perfect our practices. Initially, philosophy was the mother of all sciences (scientia emenentia). It attempted to answer questions in all disciplines - arts, sciences and religion.

27 From the time of the Scientific Revolutions during the Renaissance, the role of philosophy changed from that of answering questions to that of asking questions. As a question – posing discipline, its questions aimed at verifying the accuracy of answers provided by other disciplines – arts, social sciences, natural sciences, humanities, religion, etc. Philosophy of ODL, raises fundamental questions on ODL.

28 Four categories of questions are raised on issues related to reality, truth, value and reasoning:
(i) Is the practice real? (ii) Is the knowledge true? (iii) What is the value of distance education and open learning? (iv) Are the knowledge and practice in distance education and open learning rational?

29 Each of the four questions is handled by a specific branch of philosophy.
Metaphysics deals with questions of reality. The nature of truth and knowledge falls under Epistemology. Axiology deals with questions of value including ethics and aesthetics. Logic studies principles and methods of correct reasoning and hence valid findings.

30 Lecture 5: Philosophical Underpinnings of ODL
Philosophies are normally categorized into two broad areas - traditional philosophies and modern philosophies. Traditional philosophies consist of Idealism and Realism. Pragmatism, Existentialism, Marxism and Analytical Philosophy make up modern philosophies.

31 Under idealism, the most important goal of education is the development of the intellect or the sharpening of the mind in order to capture the objective truth that is in the universe waiting to be discovered. As the truth is eternal and unchanging, the purpose of school under idealism is to maintain the status quo by transmitting accumulated knowledge from one generation to another.

32 For realism, the purpose of education is to help human beings discover how the world works so that they can live in harmony with it and as a consequence attain happiness. Religion, philosophy and the social sciences are central to an idealist curriculum; physical sciences are basic in a realist curriculum. Both schools of traditional philosophy maintain that the universe contains objective truth that is waiting to be discovered.

33 Truth and value are eternal and unchanging.
Similarly, both schools see the role of school in the conservative terms of transmitting accumulated knowledge from one generation to another. In spite of their differences, both schools of traditional philosophy subscribe to a static and absolute view of reality, knowledge and values (This is a contradiction of the basic principles of philosophy. Do you agree? Study Slide No.25).

34 Educational theories of traditional philosophy include perennialism, essentialism and behaviourism.
The Nature and Thrust of Modern Philosophies Modern philosophies consist of Pragmatism, Existentialism, Marxism and Analytical Philosophy. Pragmatism advocates high respect for the individual rather than the society; puts emphasis on science, and is receptive to change.

35 Existentialism strongly rejects the traditional philosophy approach to education which recognizes the existence of a source of objective and authoritative truth about metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. Individuals are responsible for determining for themselves what is “true or false; right or wrong; beautiful or ugly”. Education should aim at educating the whole person not just the mind. Emphasis placed on the humanities rather than the sciences.

36 The Marxist philosophy conceives education as an ideological institution of the State which in turn is an instrument of the dominant and ruling class. When the State is under the control of the labouring classes - workers and peasants, education can assume the progressive role of constructing and defending an advanced but egalitarian society. Marxist philosophy does not subscribe to idealism as it denies the existence of God.

37 Reconstructionism views education as a means to reconstruct the society.
As the school/college is attended virtually by all the youth, it can easily be used as a means to shape the attitudes and values of each generation. The curriculum advocated by reconstructionists emphasizes the social sciences - history, political science, economics, psychology and philosophy and not the natural/hard sciences.

38 Its main thrust is the development of individual self-realisation and freedom through cognitive and intellectual activities Its aim is to liberate people from the restrictions, limitations and controls of society. Reconstructionists argue that in order to survive, the world needs more good people and not more specialists. Can you identify basic differences between traditional and modern philosophies?

39 Part 3: Theories in Distance Education and Open Learning
Lecture 6: Theoretical Approaches in Distance Education and Open Learning Distance education has benefited greatly from existing theories on education. They have influenced the methods of preparing and delivering instructional materials as well as the handling of assignments.

40 Skinner’s stimulus – response theory has been applied to learning in shaping the learning objectives. Roth Kopf’s Model advocates asking questions in the text in order to facilitate learning. Ausubel’s Advance Organizer Model advocates that students acquire knowledge with the aid of a well-structured presentation.  Egan’s Structural Communication Model states that materials should be presented in small doses (chunks).

41 Bruner’s Discovery Learning Model advocates the use of a problem solving approach when teaching new concepts. It requires: (i)Specifying learning experiences that learners have to go through. (ii)Relating the body of knowledge to the level of the learners. (iii)Sequencing information so that it can easily be digested. Carl Rogers’ Model stresses the need to facilitate knowledge rather than teach it.

42 Gagne’s General Teaching Model stresses instructional sequencing.
Materials should be presented in a logical order. Writers should progress from simple to complex concepts. Holmberg’s Theory of Guided Didactic Conversation states that materials should be presented in a guided conversation. Tutors comments on assignments should be positive and instructional.

43 Part 4: Scope of Distance Education and Open Learning
Lecture 7: Scope of Distance Education and Open Learning Curricula of any academic discipline are developed on specific philosophical foundations. Distance education and open learning may be compared to a vehicle which delivers curricula contents to learners.

44 The actual process of delivery is facilitated by media like print, broadcast, recorded, face to face sessions, ICTs, etc. The use of several media in delivering programmes empowers distance education and open learning with the capacity of delivering effectively any conceivable education and training programme. Its scope (coverage) is, therefore, indefinite (Read Lectures 7 – 8 (ODC 023) and ODC 023).

45 Part 5: Managing Distance Education and Open Learning
Lecture 9: Conditions for Successful Distance Education and Open Learning Programmes The secret behind the success of any venture is good management. Management is an activity of analysing and directing the responsibilities of those who handle the different elements from which goods and services are produced and delivered to clients.

46 A distance education and open learning institution produces goods and provides services simultaneously. Goods produced include course manual, study guides, audio and video cassettes, charts, maps, etc. Services provided include enrolment, tutoring, marking, counselling and guidance, examinations, records management, graduation ceremonies, etc.

47 To ensure effective production of goods and provision of services, right decisions must made in five management areas: (i) Process, (ii) Capacity, (iii) Inventory, (iv) Workforce and (v)Quality. What kind of decisions are made in these management areas? Find out from the Lecture.

48 Lecture 10: Features of a Well Managed ODL Institution
It must have clear policies and procedures.  It must set up an open joint planning and resource allocation process which can operate within a realistic time and resource frame.  It provides professional rewards for all staff. It sees distance education and open learning as an industry in which the clients are the students and which needs, therefore, to be illuminated by good management principles.

49 Recognizes that it is accountable and that the quality of its educational offerings comes under close scrutiny by its funders. The criteria require a government policy on promotion and funding of distance education and open learning. A mechanism for building and maintaining standards and quality in distance education and open learning.

50 Thank You For Your Attention
THE END Thank You For Your Attention


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