Factor patterns that foster or impede distance education in Washington State community and technical colleges Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/6h440w36z

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  • This study was conducted to develop a holistic understanding of distance education by identifying factors and patterns of factors that foster or impede distance education. The Washington State Community and Technical College System provided the context for the investigation of four primary questions: 1. What is the community and technical college perception of distance education? 2. What factors affect the development of distance education? 3. Which factors and factor patterns foster distance education? 4. Which factors and factor patterns impede distance education? A literature review revealed three major themes related to this study: (a) change and transformation in higher education, (b) technology and learning, and (c) distance education. Further understanding of the context for this study was derived from a review of the history of distance education in Washington State. Data were collected from interviews, documents, and participant field observations. Interviews were conducted with one administrator and one practitioner from four community colleges and one technical college. The four community colleges were stratified by location and distance education history. Constant comparative data analysis generated four hypotheses from this study: 1. The five major factors that affect the development of distance education in community and technical colleges are: (a) institutional leadership, (b) technology, (c) support, (d) faculty and department acceptance, and (e) funding. 2. These five major factors are dynamically and interdependently linked to create a "whole" that is greater than the sum of its parts. 3. Distance education in community and technical colleges is advanced by coordinating and balancing these factors, rather than by focusing exclusively on any single factor. 4. Factors that have the potential to foster or impede distance education in the future, but little effect in 1997 include: (a) intellectual property, (b) governance, (c) contracts, (d) policies, and (e) accreditation. This study generated findings with implications for community and technical college distance education leadership, management, and practice. Additional research is warranted. It is recommended that statistical analysis of factors, validated by a modified Delphi panel, be conducted.
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