Delivery Mechanisms

AuthorRebecca Purdom - Greg Brandes - Karen Westwood
Delivery Mechanism
This discussion will focus on the models for delivering distance education. The delivery model discussion
can lead to partisanship between those advocating the “synchronous” model, which more closely
resembles traditional, in-class instruction, and those advocating the “asynchronous” approach, which
untethers the pedagogy from the necessities of being “all together” with an instructor at the same time. In
reality, both approaches have strengths and challenges, and in practice are often blended into a “hybrid”
approach. The key feature of good distance instruction is designing pedagogy that can effectively use the
medium to help students achieve superior educational outcomes, and no particular methodology has a
monopoly on this approach.
This chapter addresses:
Delivery models: synchronous and asynchronous. What are the strengths and operational
considerations of offering synchronous and asynchronous education?
Comparative Pedagogy: How do pedagogical practices differ between distance learning and
residential programs? How do synchronous and asynchronous pedagogy differ and complement
one another?
Hybrid or blended learning. How can distance learning and in-person teaching techniques or
tools be deployed in concert to produce better student outcomes?
Staffing for distance learning program design. How do the design and delivery of online courses
differ from residential course development and teaching? What particular personnel and skill sets
are required to launch and maintain an online program?
Delivery Models: Synchronous Model
Synchronous distance learning occurs at a given time, while participants occupy different spaces.
Experimented with by schools since the 1970s invention of interactive television, new technological
advances make the development of live, real-time interaction between faculty and students useful and
exciting. Free platforms like Skype and Google Hangouts as well as a growing number of well-designed
cloud-based and generally affordable proprietary video conferencing systems give faculty and students
the ability to interact in ways similar to a live, classroom space. A host of sophisticated virtual teaching
platforms have also begun to emerge, at varying price levels, but few are much cheaper than earlier
custom developed options.
Proprietary systems add valuable online classroom components, such as
presentation slides, screen sharing, digital whiteboards, quizzes, polling, shared documents, chat
windows, recorded “lecture capture” and multiple breakout rooms for small group work. The invention of
These include Blackboard Collaborate, Adobe Connect, Cisco WebEx, Vidyo, Zoom, Vantage Point and Kaplan’s Indigo.

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