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Module 5:
What programs, projects or resources are available and why are they important?




Topic A: Professional Organizations








In this module, you will review professional organizations, recognize acronyms, promote networking opportunities and leadership initiatives in developing a distance education program. The list includes worldwide public, private, non-profit and commercial organizations and associations related to distance education.  These initiatives vary in terms of size, have different relationships with government, business, other organizations, and with the learners themselves.  The organizations, consortiums, and associations included in this module were selected due to their relationships, services, and resources they provide to distance education programs in the California Community Colleges.


As the information revolution grows at an unprecedented rate, faculty, administrators, boards of trustees and accrediting agencies are literally overwhelmed by the problem of how to keep pace. Distance learning faculty, learners, administrative and technical staff have distinct roles and responsibilities that are different from traditional on-campus environments.  Readily accessible and informed administrators, staff and technical support are essential. As instructional delivery systems advance, more comprehensive resources and structures are needed to support high quality learning and communication processes.   Critical to the success of distance learning is the ability to use and share a wide variety of materials to enhance the educational experience.

One of the stages in the process of developing and implementing effective distance education is the procurement and preparation of the resources necessary to meet the distance education goals.  In support of the design and delivery of quality courses, institutions are responsible for providing training and resources for instructors. All distance education faculty members require training aligned with their needs in pedagogical and technical skills, including distance learning course organization, planning, teaching and assessment strategies.  . Instructors need continual access to the physical resources and human support that will enable development of high quality teaching materials.

Partnerships with other colleges, universities, libraries and publishers may extend your resources and services beyond the geographic boundaries of a campus. Important elements of a distance learning program may be supplied by consortial partners or outsourced to other organizations, including contractors.  Criteria for selecting consortial partners and contractors, and the means to monitor and evaluate their work, are important aspects of the program plan.  In considering consortial agreements, attention is given to issues such as assuring that enhancing serve to students is a primary consideration and that incentives do not compromise the integrity of the institution or of the educational program.

For example, did you know that any institution offering distance education is expected to meet the requirements of its own regional accrediting body and may be guided by WICHE Principles?

Do you know what WICHE or WCET is?

WCET - the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications, founded by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education in 1989, is a membership-supported organization open to providers and users of educational telecommunications.

WICHE, the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education, ( was created to facilitate resource sharing among the higher education systems of the West. WICHE has implemented a number of regional activities to accomplish its objectives.


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