Distance Learning and Higher Education
Summary: Systems for educating students at a distance (using various combinations of technology -- printed materials, telephone, television, computer, and other media) have become common in various countries over the past 25 years. The British Open University, one of the first and most successful of these systems, has allowed over one million students to obtain a higher education since 1970, with some 150,000 students currently enrolled; 5% of all first degrees in the UK are granted by the OU. Several dozen similar systems around the world have, when well planned and efficiently operated, increased access to higher education for many who otherwise would never have had that opportunity. But distance education is not a panacea, nor is it without costs of its own. Accumulated experience to date suggests that there are a number of factors that must be taken into account for distance education programs to succeed.
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