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Is Distance Education the Meteor and Are Faculty the Dinosaurs?

by Chris Cumo

DEWEY DEFALCO, ASSISTANT to the Director of Distance Learning and Lead Faculty for Distance Learning at Jones College in Jacksonville, Florida, knows that some faculty dislike distance education. DeFalco sees this opposition as the natural inter-generational struggle over an emerging technology. The opponents are older, technophobic professors on the verge of retirement. Their departure will open opportunities for younger, technologically savvy faculty–the cadre of faculty who will shape the future of higher education.

However, there are signs that distance education might not be a springboard for a new generation of faculty. Instead, distance education may provide colleges and universities the option of running their empires without faculty. Faculty, on the other hand, no matter how receptive to distance education, may find colleges and universities no longer need their services. This transition to a faculty-free zone may sound alarmist, but there are signs of an incipient move in this direction.

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Distance education exacerbates this absence of solidarity. Adjuncts who teach from their PCs at home have little contact with other faculty. Aside from occasional contact with a department chair, adjuncts who teach on-line are on their own.

The most obvious sign is that distance education weakens faculty by

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From the Archive

  • A review of Online Student Skills and Strategies Handbook

    by Evelyn Beck While most of the burgeoning number of books about distance education focus on instruction, this text is clearly aimed at students. Its purpose is similar to books like E-Learning Companion: A Student’s Guide to Online Success by Ryan Watkins and Michael Corry (Houghton Mifflin, 2004) though Online Student Skills and Strategies Handbook […]

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  • On-Line Degrees: How Employers View Them

    by Evelyn Beck HOW ARE EMPLOYERS judging the value of the courses we’re teaching on-line? What do they think of candidates whose entire degree was earned via the Internet? The results of a number of recent studies are mixed, with many business professionals uneasy about the quality of on-line learning but a majority of academics convinced […]

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Recently Commented

  • AdjunctNation Editorial Team: @Jeffr thanks for pointing out the distinction.
  • Jeffr: Note that adjunct faculty are considered to be on a “term” basis and receives no protection except...
  • Scott: I believe Sami is correct in that this no reasonable assurance language will allow adjuncts continuing access...
  • Nancy West-Diangelo: It’s as if we’ve lost the ability to listen critically. If the point of the work we...
  • Freddi-Jo Bruschke: An excellent description of this editorial.