Perhaps the greatest appeal of distance education for learners and instructors is the flexibility it offers. As an instructor of a course delivered via distance, you will have the opportunity to teach a university credit course without the necessity of coming to campus. Distance courses have been developed and designed by a team of people, including an expert in the subject matter. Instructors are assigned to a Instructional Designer/Project Manager who will help answer any questions related to the course, and will help guide you through the distance education process.
If your course is online, access to the course website will be provided to you in advance so that you can become familiar with the content and navigation. Although distance education implies some separation of distance between learners and the instructor, you and your learners may be located across the campus or across the world from one another. In fact, many UBC students taking courses by distance also study on campus.
Distance education provides options in terms of where and when people learn. Learners may study independently, with your guidance via telephone and email and written comments accompanying assignment grading. Alternatively, learners may study online, communicating with you and fellow students in your online classroom.
Distance education courses are delivered in various formats, such as:
- Online with opportunity for collaboration and interaction with other learners and instructor: not independent study.
- Print materials: independent study with instructional guidance.
- Print materials: with teleconference meetings between instructors and learners.
- Print materials: including supplementary learning materials such as videotape, audiotape, CD-ROM.
- Print materials: with a web component for online discussion with other learners and instructor.
- Fieldwork/labs, clinical component.
Typically, instructional support for courses delivered via distance is available in two formats:
- Online – learners and instructors communicate using email and/or online discussion forums and assignments are submitted by mail, email or through an electronic drop box in the course website.
- Telephone – learners and instructors communicate by phone and assignments are submitted by mail.
The Instructor Support section will provide you with information about procedures specific to the delivery of distance education and some resources available to you. If you are a first time distance education instructor, you will want to read through this section and refer to it often.