Open and Distance Education in the Asia Pacific Region

June 21, 2001

This timely publication is a must for practitioners of open and distance education in the Asia Pacific region.

Written and edited by experts in the field, Open and Distance Education in the Asia Pacific Region is a new collection in a single volume of up-to-date and authoritative papers on the rapidly changing face of open and distance education (ODE) in 20 countries and regions in the Asia Pacific and beyond.

Individual chapters written by experts and professionals in the field of ODE offer a country-by-country exposZ of ODE as seen by the people who have a leading role in the development and implementation of aspects of the ODE systems in their own countries.

Once largely considered inferior in quality to the long-established formal campus-based fixed-location systems of education, ODE is part of a now widely recognized discipline attested to by its rapidly growing popularity and its millions of graduates.

Asia is now regarded as the home of distance education and has the largest number of what are known as ‘mega-universities’ in the world, each with student population of more than a hundred thousand. The Pacific Rim countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States have enviable records of open and distance learning development and provision. In combination, therefore, they comprise a wealth of information, statistics and data about the largest ODE systems in the world. The similarities of the two regions are as intriguing as the differences among their countries.

The chapters address key issues such as the significant developments in ODE in the Asia Pacific region during the 1990s, the factors that will determine the nature and rate of growth for ODE in the next decade, and the policies and strategic initiatives of importance to leaders of ODE in the region.

Also considered are technological innovation, methods of programme delivery, institutional forms and styles, cross-national collaboration, learning outcome measurements, regional economic development and the effects of the economic downturn of the late 1990s, and the degree to which technology and the changing demands for manpower are affecting ODE provision and accessibility in the region.

Taken as a whole the papers reveal the strengths and the weaknesses of ODE in the region as well as the formidable challenges that the institutions are facing, in particular, of increasing, ensuring and maintaining the quality of the education itself in the increasingly commercial and fiercely competitive world of education.

ODE practitioners, researchers, managers and students will all benefit from reading this publication. It is the latest and most up-to-date book on the subject, and, as such, is an invaluable source of information to all those in the field of higher education.

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