566 Barriers Encountered in Establishing Effective Distance Education Programs

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  • 1Dept. of Plant & Soil Science, Texas Tech Univ., Lubbock, TX 79409; 2College of Agr. Sci. & Natural Resources, Texas Tech Univ., Lubbock, TX 79409;3 Texas A&M Univ Res. & Ext. Center, Dallas, TX 75252

Distance education is an area of rapid expansion in higher education today. Unfortunately, the development of distance education efforts, like all new programming, is fraught with numerous barriers. Frequently, technological advances precede internal policies necessary to support these activities, and because of the nature of distance education, concerns over expense, workload, intellectual property, conflict of interest and teaching methodology may impede progress. Funding distance education efforts also requires long-term vision and commitment. It is essential that a clear vision, including identification of existing needs and benefits, be developed before equipment and personnel are secured. Finally, some distance education efforts by their nature involve collaboration between other institutions of higher education. These schools may view participation in these programs as opportunities for their advancement or possible encroachment on their educational market. Establishing strong relationships is essential for ultimate success. At Texas Tech Univ., the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources along with the Dept. of Plant and Soil Science have committed to the development and implementation of distance education as an educational tool providing enrichment and access to high-quality programming for its on campus and place-bound students. Some of the success stories as well as the frustrations behind these efforts will be discussed.

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