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Digital Divide

Digital Divide
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Author(s): Christiane Reilly (Bemidji State University, USA)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 4
Source title: Encyclopedia of Distance Learning, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Patricia L. Rogers (Bemidji State University, USA), Gary A. Berg (California State University Channel Islands (Retired), USA), Judith V. Boettcher (Designing for Learning, USA), Caroline Howard (HC Consulting, USA), Lorraine Justice (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong) and Karen D. Schenk (K. D. Schenk and Associates Consulting, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch090

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Abstract

Distance education (DE) is a reality. Pop-up advertisements of online master’s degree programs appear with regularity on the Internet, and distance education courses are marketed via television, radio, and the printed media. It seems as though the options of receiving an education are expanding all around us. While DE indeed appears to reform education at a rapid speed, it is important to slow down and take a careful look at the issues DE presents to learners, to the market of education, and to society at large. Looking at DE from an educator’s perspective alone is not sufficient, as the effects of technology are interwoven with our economic, political, and sociological dimensions. While in today’s world the trend is toward specialization, it is a generalist’s view or multiple perspectives that are necessary in order to evaluate the effects of the digital divide. So from a sociological perspective, the question looms: Does distance education promise to widen or narrow the digital divide?

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