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By the end of this unit, you will be able to

  • demonstrate an understanding of what open and distance learning is.
  • define your role as a course writer for open and distance learning.
  • follow the procedures of course development in your course writing for open and distance learning.

What is Open and Distance Learning?

It is important that we define what we mean by the terms 'Open and Distance Learning'(ODL) first before we continue to go any further in this course. The traditional or face to face mode of teaching and learning has been around for centuries. ODL has evolved in the past century starting off in the form of 'correspondence courses'. The main difference with ODL and Traditional modes of teaching and learning is that learners are removed in time and place during the teaching and learning process. Put simply, in ODL, learners learn at home or anywhere outside the classroom, without direct instruction from teachers or instructors.

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  1. Can you list one example of ODL in your country?
  2. List one advantage and one disadvantage for learners studying through ODL.

Your Role as an ODL Course Writer

As an ODL course writer, you have got to be a subject matter expert (SME) and a full time lecturer or academic. You are not used to having external learners and may assume that preparing learning materials will be easy since you know your subject well. Maybe it will be easy, maybe it won't! It all depends on how you go about tackling the task at hand. Your role now is to produce three drafts of the course materials in consultation with your instructional designer (ID). Your ID will check each draft and ensure that your writing meets the expected standards and is user friendly for ODL learners.