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《China Distance Education》 2005-01
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The Assessment of Modern Distance Education

Ji Yanli and Chen Geng  
Since 1999, China's Ministry of Education has given approval to 67 higher education institutes to provide distance education on a pilot basis. It is time for us to assess the effectiveness of these pilot projects in order to learn from experience and pave the way for future development. This paper first examines the purpose of the assessment. It should be borne in mind that different institutes have different missions. They have participated in the pilot project for different periods of time and the IT adopted is also very different. Therefore, to devise a uniform standard for the summative assessment of different higher education institutes is very difficult. Diagnostic and formative assessments are most suitable. This paper then puts forward a number of principles for the assessment: the assessment should facilitate the development of online learning; the criteria for assessment should be scientific; the means for assessment should be in line with the latest developments; and the assessment should be based on facts. Lastly, this paper discusses the various areas for assessment. Online education is different from conventional education in that it emphasizes students' autonomous learning. More importantly, teachers and learners experience physical separation in distance education. Therefore, the concept of quality is different in conventional and distance contexts. The factors to be considered include: objectives, technical support, teaching resources and learning support services. In the evaluation process, professional assessors should be involved to provide impartial views. These assessors may include educational administrators, university professors and experts on evaluation and assessment. By doing this, the validity and reliability of this assessment exercise can be enhanced, which is beneficial to the development of distance education.
【CateGory Index】: G434
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