Assuring Quality and Fostering Improvement 1

Authored by: Patricia M. O'Brien

Handbook of Distance Education

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415897648
eBook ISBN: 9780203803738
Adobe ISBN: 9781136635571


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This chapter describes the role of accreditation in assuring the quality of distance education offered by colleges and universities. The chapter focuses primarily on the efforts of the regional accrediting associations in the United States, although the work of specialized accreditors is also acknowledged. Following a brief historical overview of accreditation, the chapter describes the early work of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) to assess distance education programs, then goes on to review how the regional associations developed an approach to the review of distance education and to describe the current practice of the regional associations. The chapter concludes with a few remarks about the impact of federal regulations on accreditors’ review of distance education.

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