Distance education management entails overseeing a distance education department or program, or managing those people and programs delivering distance education instruction. Other designations for similar positions may include director or program manager of distance learning, assistant project or program director, or coordinator of online instruction. Regardless of the title, the position carries significant administrative or supervisory responsibility. The distance education manager also fills a quality control role as he or she ensures that the educational department and personnel are professional, the product delivery is efficient, and the product itself is comprehensive and valuable to the students.
There are two main forms of distance education management, which are delivering distance education or directly managing distance education programs. The former addresses how to get the educational product to the students; the latter requires overseeing the educational programs themselves. The distance education manager may also perform a combination of both duties.
One aspect of distance education management, delivering distance education, may also include the preliminary step of working with instructional designers and subject matter experts (SME) to create courses for distance education. The next step would involve managing the technical aspects for delivery of the distance education courses through the school’s content management system (CMS) or learning management system (LMS). Another responsibility of the delivery component of distance education management typically includes oversight of the daily operations of delivering the program, along with evaluation of relevant program-related activities, to maintain the expected level of efficiency and effectiveness.
Similarly, distance education management of the programs themselves may require initiation and creation of specific programs and courses with a team of educators. The distance education manager may also need to oversee off-campus educational centers, and ascertain that all online access connections are functional and performing optimally. In addition, the distance education director may need to obtain and maintain partnerships with interested stakeholders and investors.
In either case, distance education management is an admirable career choice. Anyone who desires to serve as a distance education manager must typically possess, at minimum, a master of education (M.Ed.) degree, or master of distance education degree, in the specialized area of distance education/e-learning policy and management. A person who pursues this field contributes to the educational goals and successes of eager adult learners. Lifelong learning is a winning situation for all involved.
Online learning — whether through virtual classrooms, web-based seminars, or a combination of courses via computers and distance education by correspondence — is prolific in the 21st century. Busy adult learners who desire to pursue their first college degrees, or to return to school for advanced degrees or ongoing training, have numerous options through distance-education teaching. Location typically doesn’t matter, as long as students have Internet access and can meet the admissions requirements for the particular schools or distance education programs under consideration.