VOL. 07, NO. 4; JULY


Simulation of computers in distance education

Diane Singleton


The goal of this paper has been to investigate current developments in the use of computer simulations in distance education. Seven research projects have been discussed to ascertain whether computer simulation may constitute a viable component in distance education. The tools utilized by these research projects for the development of computer simulations included Java applets, Asymetrix ToolBook© authoring software, virtual reality and video teleconferencing. For the purpose of this paper, discussion of these research projects has focused on the design methodologies employed rather than the specific development tools. Further, while a variety of media were presented for “delivery of computer simulations”, a comprehensive inventory of delivery options was not attempted (Evans, & Fan, November 4, 2002).

Education from afar: the impact of goal orientation, motivational beliefs and strategies

Amos Duncan 


The primary purpose of this study was to investigate course satisfaction, goal orientations, and motivational beliefs and strategies of students enrolled in print and online independent study courses. Completion rates for online high school courses have been approximately twice that for print high school courses for several of the last fiscal years. One of the first steps in understanding why was to develop student characteristic profiles for those enrolled.

A total of 160 university and high school students enrolled in print and online versions of the same independent study courses were surveyed. Factor and discriminant analyses were conducted to evaluate the survey data collected and develop prediction equations for those enrolling in online versus print-based courses. The analysis was somewhat successful in predicting group membership for university and high school course enrollments based on three factor scores. The discriminant function analysis at the high school level approached significant differences between groups for the third factor, which consisted of several self-handicapping items. Many institutions are beginning to offer entire degree or high school diploma programs online; the implications of examining these topics extend worldwide due to these trends.

University of London online teaching: building on the heritage

Saul Brewer


This paper outlines the long established tradition of distance learning at the University of London. It then focuses on one of the newer distance learning programs at the University, an MA in Applied Educational Leadership and Management which is being taught via the Institute of Education, University of London through a Virtual Learning Environment. This MA is available to international practitioners engaged in leading and managing educational institutions.

Adding lockers to house construction: the difference of courses and a degree

Sonia Hopkins


The house analogy has been useful: it clarifies some relationships while it obfuscates others, as most metaphors tend to do (Lakoff and Johnson, 1980). If an online degree program is truly like a house, then the metaphor will make our understanding of online education clearer and richer and help generate relationships that tweak our old knowledge into new twists and turns. But analogies also beguile us into ignoring what does not fit as we focus on the new and engaging. So we are wise to be cautious: the house may be a prison, the place of unhappy childhoods or worse, or a too-high mortgage that bankrupts our future happiness. It is best to wear our metaphors lightly.

But if our house analogy has been helpful, it is because we value our homes and our educational accomplishments. A cupboard, however useful, is not as useful alone as it would be if it were mounted to a wall of a two-story, three-bedroom home with a garage and basement.