Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Regulatory Frameworks for Distance Education

The first talk after lunch at CCA-EDUCAUSE Australasia 2011 in Sydney is "Regulatory Frameworks for Distance Education in the Asia/Pacific Region" by Stephen Marshall, Victoria University of Wellington. This was the result of a small research project on what is happening in the region. Organisations involved included DeHub, INQAAHE. Issues included social inclusion, role of commercial providers, international providers and open universities. Other issues are the provision of Internet access and copyright.

What I found interesting was that there was no mention of the role of professional and industry bodies. These provide a form of international regulation, sometimes with and sometimes without government endorsement. An example is the ACS which sets standards for IT education in Australia and is part of international bodies settings standards.
A consortium of DE Hub, the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA), The International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE), and the Australasian Council on Open, Distance and ELearning (ACODE) is undertaking a pilot review of formal and informal literature of regulatory frameworks for distance education (DE) in the Southwest Pacific/South East Asia Region. The existing laws, policies, rules and regulations related to distance and online education in the region will be collated and posted in an open source database. The frameworks of countries within the region will be compared for similarities and differences, in particular, highlighting those elements that hinder development in distance education. The comparative analysis will be discussed in the context of other recent research into regulation of distance education. Case studies will provide examples of distance and online education regulatory practice currently extant within the region. The outcomes of the project will be disseminated using an open source content management system published on the ICDE website and linked to the websites of the collaborative partners i.e. DE Hub, AUQA, INQAAHE and ACODE to ensure convenient access for the various stakeholders with an interest in regulatory frameworks for distance education. This will provide a portable, scalable resource. Deliverables will include a final report providing a contextual overview of distance education in the region and outlining the project and analytical results, and a database of the regulatory frameworks for distance education in the region.

From: Regulatory Frameworks for Distance Education, International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), 2010

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