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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Faculty Support Systems

Faculty Support Systems
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Author(s): Jason D. Baker (Regent University, USA) and Robert J. Schihl (Regent University, USA)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 5
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.ch144


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One factor that has led institutions to develop online learning programs is the perception that they have lower production costs than campus-based courses, particularly as the numbers of students increase. Hülsmann (2004) noted that this view was a significant tenet in the argument supporting distance learning in developing nations. Specifically, he described the common belief that “distance education is able to deal with large numbers more cost-effectively than traditional education, and has proved to do so also in developing countries” (Introduction section, paragraph 3). To one extent, this is a valid viewpoint. Unlike earlier distance education approaches, such as print-based correspondence courses and full-motion videoconferencing, online learning doesn’t require the purchase of high-cost specialized equipment such as videoconferencing rooms or publishing systems. Although there are numerous examples of institutions spending far more per course than traditional programs—NYUonline was rumored to have spent upwards of $1 million per course (Maeroff, 2003)— a motivated instructor can create and publish components of a Web-based course on a personal computer and then upload the materials to a free Web hosting service and instantly teach online to students anywhere in the world. The relative ease of creating Web-based materials, however, can mask larger challenges that face online education providers. Providing effective online faculty support is one area that can be easily overlooked with such a myopic view of online course development.

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