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Management Governance and Structure
Systems Development

Why should distance education be developed as a system?

Because distance education depends on the effective use of communications technologies, it is best managed as a system. In a distance education system the use of all human and technological resources is planned. Within the system are subsystems, the most important of which are the design subsystem and those for instruction and learner support, evaluation, and production.

Only a certain number of courses can be designed, produced, and delivered in a given year. So there must be a systematic way to select the right courses, to bring together the right people in design teams, to organize their work so that it fits in with the output of publishing, broadcasting, and telecommunications divisions, and to control and coordinate the many tasks required to produce a course of high quality, on time, and at acceptable cost.

Every course is planned to relate to every other course, every piece of every course is designed to fit with every other piece, and every technology is used in harmony with all the others. The topics an instructor discusses with students fit with the illustrations in the study guide. The learner support personnel have access to specialists in the organization to deal with the issues arising at each step of a course. And so on.

More on system development
Resources on system development (external links)
  • Gajaraj Dhanarajan, "Setting up Open Universities". Paper presented at the British Council Seminar on Quality Assurance in Open Learning in Higher Education. Available at: Link established with permission.

  • Michael Moore, "Is teaching like flying? A total systems view of distance education". Available at Permission to link granted.

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