(2007). From ‘equal access’ to ‘widening participation’:
the discourse of equity in the age of e-learning.
In: LocKard, Joe and Pegrum, Mark eds.
Brave New Classrooms: Democratic Education & the Internet.
Digital Formations (37).
New York: Peter Lang, pp. 55–74.
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What are the means by which richer countries have created educational equity for significant proportions of their own populations? Has it been achieved in an egalitarian manner, or through the creation of meritocracies? And can these means be universally applied, in this more globalised age, to the extension of the same rights to all the world’s people? To address these questions I look at the field of open and distance education (ODE), which bears much of the responsibility for the expansion of mass post-compulsory education over the post-war period, and at current developments in e-learning, in which much of the promise for the future resides. In particular I look at some of the ideological, political, economic, technical and entrepreneurial factors which have shaped distance teaching practices and the systems in which they are embedded.
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