Overview for Researchers

The section of the website site is intended for anyone interested in research on distance learning, online learning, or distance education in developing countries. It is not just for research scientists - it is also for students, teachers and other practitioners of distant learning.

With "lifelong" and "learning" at the centre of education programs, the role of teachers is to serve as facilitators of learning, not deliverers of education. But some are concerned about the intrusive effects of Western curricula and pedagogies which, through globalization, have been imported into developing counries with little accommodation to indigenous culture and learning. However, there is a major change in the way in which the social world is viewed. There has been a move away from the pursuit of uniformity to an acceptance of difference; from seeking to control to seeking to empower; and from an expectation of predictability to seeing change as unpredictable.

Read more about these topics by clicking on the relevant links.

ICT, Education and Development


Regional economies and communities are facing increasing economic, social and cultural hardship in many parts of the world as economies adjust to the demands of the new orders of the information society. One potential enhancement comes from the increased social, cultural and economic capital which comes from harnessing ICT products and services. But paradoxically, a disadvantage comes from the power that ICT has to take commerce, service provision and governance away from communities that have been unable to bridge the digital divide. Education has a major role to play in resolving this paradox, but education itself is affected by the paradox. Unless ICT becomes part of both the delivery and content of education, the disadvantage will deepen and development will suffer.

This website seeks to raise for discussion some of the ways in which ICT can be used for both education and development. For more on this, I recommend visiting the websites listed under "Site Partners" and also reading:
Closing the Digital Divide: Transforming Regional Economies and Communities with Information Technology;
Encyclopedia of Developing Regional Communities with Information and Communication Technology
; and,
Using Community Informatics to Transform Regions

Free Research Courses

Empirical Research Methods

Open and Free: Jan - Jun 09

This course bridges the gap between the mathematical foundations of regression and its practical application.

OLI project, Carnegie Mellon

Qualitative Research: Design and Methods

This seminar has already taken place, but the materials are still available free of charge. It explored the development and application of qualitative research designs and methods in political analysis. It considered a broad array of approaches, from exploratory narratives to focused-comparison case studies, for investigating plausible alternative hypotheses. The focus was on analysis, not data collection.

MIT Open Courseware.




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Online Learning More Effective

A report released recently by the U.S. Department of Education, which analyzed 46 studies comparing online learning to face-to-face education, concludes that the former is more effective - at least at university level.