Impact of distance independent education

Howard Besser, Maria Stella Bonn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Distance independent learning has the potential for a fundamental and beneficial transformation of higher education. By combining the best aspects of our present university and college systems with the opportunities offered by recent developments in communications and information technology, distance independent learning could lead to high quality, highly individualized instruction and the creation of intellectual communities that transcend the limitations of time and space. This potential infuses the rhetoric of the proponents of distance independent learning. But much of the rhetoric around distance education is misleading and fails to articulate the potential negative effects of widespread adoption of these new instructional delivery vehicles. In this article, the authors examine the motivations behind proponents of distance education, as well as the potential impact of distance learning upon instructors and students. They also raise questions as to curricular subjects and pedagogical styles that may not be appropriate for this type of instructional delivery. The authors emphasize that the educational community must consider not just the benefits but the non-monetary costs of relying on distance independent educational delivery. Educators must not see distance education as a universal innovation applicable to all types of instructional situations, but must carefully analyze the appropriateness of distance independent learning to various types of instructional situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)880-883
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Society for Information Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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