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With the prevalence of digital technologies and the Internet, online and distance learning programs are rapidly expanding. Institutions of higher learning that offer online programs are facing the challenges of increasing student enrollments, growing global opportunities, implementing new technologies, responding to workplace demands, but at the same time maintaining quality. Many of these institutions are creating or adopting quality statements, standards, or criteria regarding their Web-based distance learning programs. However, there seems to be no common understanding about the terminology or the methodology of quality. Consequently, "quality assurance" of online and distance learning has become a subject of increasing importance in both researchers’ and practitioners’ communities. This book provides a selective collection of contemporary open access journal articles on quality assurance of online and distance learning from the perspective of major stakeholders: Administrators, Developers, Researchers, and Evaluators. Although much of this research differ in various aspects, when viewed together it begins to provide a more comprehensive and general framework of quality assurance, which can be applied in most organizational situations and programs.
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Dr. Rocco Paolucci is director and founder of the Interlearning Company, LLC., a research, information services, and publishing firm, whose mission is to explore the use of online technologies for "open" e-learning. He has many years of experience in education and training in the traditional classroom, as well as online and distance learning. In the academic sector, he served as Associate Professor and Chairman of the Information Science and Technology undergraduate program, and Director of the Instructional Systems graduate program at Cabrini College (Radnor, PA). In the private sector, he was a systems engineer for AT&T Bell Laboratories, and project manager for Bell Atlantic Corp. (now Verizon, Inc.). He has authored and co-authored numerous research articles on the topics of instructional technology, educational multimedia and hypermedia, and online and distance learning. He has the following degrees: Doctor of Education in Instructional Technology from Widener University, Master of Science in Information Science from Drexel University, Master of Science in Applied Mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Bachelor of Science with Honors in Electrical Engineering from Drexel University.
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