Practices and Innovations of Open, Distance and Online Education in China and the United States
In the more than 100 years since the British used correspondence instruction in shorthand courses, the development and evolution of information technologies has enabled the rapid development of global distance learning opportunities. Using information technologies for distance education has created an environment worldwide for the development these learning opportunities in countries and regions with features, models and innovations unique to their own needs.
Distance education in the United States of America has developed rapidly in the last two decades. And online distance education based using the Internet as the primary means of delivery is being deployed within all disciplines and majors of higher education institutions of the United States. This has contributed to meeting the diverse needs of learners from students in class to professionals and workers off-campus who need to be better at their jobs. The Central Agricultural Broadcast and Television School (CABTS) and its system have been using radio, television and network medias in an integrated manner in the past 30 years to provide convenient and close-to-home learning opportunities to large number of farmers and rural residents, which has enhanced their knowledge base and skills of farm production.
Since CABTS and the American Distance Education Consortium (ADEC) and its member universities in the United States established a collaborative relationship in 2008, together they have undertaken series of cooperative activities including on-line course design and development and the implementation of on-line education, including the development of a series of prototype bilingual online learning modules that are unique in the world.
In August 2014, CABTS and ADEC co-hosted an International Conference on China-US Open and Distance Education. At the Conference, the US participants introduced practices and experience in the development and implementation of on-line agricultural courses, the selection of learning management platforms, evaluation of on-line courses, supportive service and quality assurance; the Chinese participants presented on the practices and experience in the selection of educational tools, the training of vocational farmers, interactive learning and active learning, the development of on-line learning modules. The 20 papers included in this book were selected from the all 34 papers submitted to the Conference. It is hoped that those who are involved in distance education (especially in the areas of agriculture and natural resources) might find the papers inspiring and helpful to their daily work both in terms of theoretical research and practical activities.