Teacher Education Through Open and Distance Learning

Author(s) Robinson B. & Latchem C
Publisher London & New York: Routledge Falmer
Published 2003
Pages 243
ISBN 0415369568
Reviewed by Jay Deeble
King Alfred's College, Winchester
Review published 1 December 2004

This book is Volume Three of a series World Review of Distance Education and Open Learning. It is published on behalf of the Commonwealth of Learning, an international organisation established by Commonwealth governments in 1988. The purpose of the organisation is to create and widen opportunities for learning, through Commonwealth co-operation in distance education and open learning. It works closely with governments, colleges and universities with the overall aim of strengthening the capacities of Commonwealth member countries in developing the human resources required for their economic and social development.

In Chapters 1 and 2, Bernadette Robinson and Colin Latchem identify the changes and challenges facing teachers around the world and ask key questions about the role of open and distance learning. They review experience of using these learning formats within teacher education, training and professional development. In Chapter 3, Chai Hon-Chan and Hena Mukerjee critically examine policy-making and planning issues for distance learning programmes and identify strategic questions for translating policy into practice. In Chapter 4 Bob Moon and Bernadette Robinson concentrate on the use of open and distance learning in initial teacher training programmes, including key issues in planning, developing and implementing such programmes in higher education and in practical work and school experience. In Chapter 5 Helen Craig and Hilary Perraton consider the use of open and distance learning in Continuing Professional Development. In Chapter 6 Charles Potter and Mohammed Aslam explore the ideas of open and distance learning in non-formal and community education. They examine training for Learning for Life tutors in projects in India and Mongolia and seek to identify their successes. In Chapter 7 Tony Bush and Richard Charron examine the status, role, knowledge and skills of educational managers in open and distance learning in developed and developing countries. In Chapter 8 Adrian Kirkwood and Charles Joyner review the use of media and technologies, other than ICT, such as radio, television and film for open and distance learning.

In Chapter 9 Betty Collis and Insung Jung provide an analytic overview of how computers and computer communications are being used for teachers' training and professional development. Chapter 10, by Bernadette Robinson examines evaluation and quality of the effectiveness of open and distance learning. In Chapter 11 Joao Batista Oliveira and Francois Orivel provide a guide to costing distance learning, taking a step by step approach to planning costs and then determining the value added. Chapter 12 returns to the initial questions posed in chapter one and draws some conclusions .It is a useful summary of the book but does not supply any novel ideas.

I found individual chapters relevant to my work developing elearning within teacher education at a British higher education institution and will be able to recommend the odd chapter to colleagues, to help us consider factors in our distance programmes in the United Kingdom and our work in developing countries. At the moment we run no courses for which this book might be useful. Each chapter was interesting and posed questions about methodologies, which will be interesting to investigate. However I think that this is a book for the educator, specialising in working within the systems of education in the developing world.