Distance education uses various models of course and programme design, development and delivery. It is also believed to have the ‘economies of scale’, because not many full-time teaching staffs are involved. Thus, distance education faculty members coordinate large number of courses and programmes. Sometimes, they are also expected to coordinate programmes where they do not have subject expertise! Such a thing can only happen in Distance Education.
The role of the internal faculty and instructional designers in distance education is very critical, as majority of the course writers are drawn from the conventional system with no or little training in preparing self-learning materials। Thus, the Programme Coordinator and/or the Instructional Designer have to do many tasks that could be really avoided, if taken care at the right time. From experience, the following ten mistakes of Programme Coordinators are listed below:
- Plan for large number of courses and programmes without considering individual workload.
- Request experts to write lessons for distance learners without specifying the “learning outcomes”.
- Request experts to write lessons for distance learners without specifying the “target group” and their profile.
- Request experts to write lessons for distance learners without specifying the “course objectives”.
- Request experts to write lessons for distance learners without specifying the “workload” in credit hour terms.
- Request experts to write lessons for distance learners without specifying the “instructional strategies” including learner support, assessment, etc.
- Work under pressure to finalize courses and programmes compromising quality.
- Plan and coordinate courses and programmes without having domain expertise and thereby depend on others.
- Serve as a “Post Office” without applying his/her own knowledge and experience.
- Follow an unquestioning non-reflective approach to teaching through distance learning.
If you do any of the above mistakes, the result is very clear. Your courses and programme quality as well as your reputation as a professional suffer to a great extent. Your course writers would not write lessons as expected by you, you will write and re-write the materials again, you will have to give undue credit to others who have not contributed satisfactorily, you will feel burnt out, and your student would not get materials as promised. At the end of it, your course will be ready, but without much help to the learners. But there is one satisfaction; you may be promoted to the next grade!