imply that it is necessary to focus much more on how online education could become more
cost effective. This include a focus on how online courses could handle larger enrolment and
prioritizing cost effective technology and development schemes.
Develop better systems for administration of online education
Institutions that plan to offer large scale and professional online education need an
administrative system which is integrated with the web. A discouraging, but important
observation is that a number of institutions do not use the web for administrative purposes.
Many of the administrative solutions are primitive, and much could be done to improve most
of the existing systems. The standard, commercial systems are continuously being improved,
but they may still need much local adaptation. They may only meet some of the administrative
needs, and they could place some pedagogical limitations on the courses.
Support initiatives for training of online teachers, administrators, and
Online education is a new field with little research and practical experience. Practitioners need
more knowledge and experience. Initiatives to disseminate existing research, examples of
good practice, and training should be supported.
Oppose regulations and attitudes that inhibits online assessment
Assessment systems are strong indicators of how seriously course providers value their aims.
One could argue that summative assessment is such an important issue for students, teachers,
and course providers that experimentation with online assessment functions is risky and hard
to find support for. Two obvious challenges for online assessment are authentication of
student identification and detection of plagiarized digital material. Other barriers are public
and institutional regulations, traditions for physical attendance, and technical limitations.
These barriers to online assessment counteract the development of online education since they
support face to face attendance and preserve traditional education.
While summative assessment of online courses seem to be very traditional and often has a
face to face component, formative assessment is more experimental and based on online
However, there are some strategies that could improve online assessment. This author
(Paulsen, 1998) has previously suggested that course providers should consider the following
five strategies to organize and improve online assessment:
1. Consider testing the learners ability to find and apply information, rather than to
memorize and reproduce it. One possible approach to online assessment could be to focus
more on the students knowledge management abilities and less on their knowledge of the
course content as Mason discussed in her book on global education:
...content based methods of assessment are still being applied to conditions which
demand a skills based approach. This is undoubtedly because it is easier to design
reliable assessment systems which test content rather than process. We have much less
experience in assessing students knowledge management abilities, the ways in which
the course has transformed their thinking, and developed their skills in communicating
and working with colleagues in the domain of the course content (Mason 1998, 42).