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Are you starting up or refining a distance education program, or looking for ways to add structure to your distance teaching and learning process? Would you like to know more about best practices for developing a distance or blended option at your program but aren’t quite sure where to begin or what the differences are between these two models? If you answered “yes” to any of these, then the three online modules that comprise the Expanding Access through Distance and Blended Education series (based on the IDEAL Consortium’s IDEAL 101 course) is for you!

This first module in this three-part series reviews various models of distance and blended learning; how they meet learners’ needs; and important considerations for administrators including hiring, planning, and data reporting. It includes a discussion forum and webinar to share ideas with colleagues.


    This professional development activity/course is designed for:

  • Administrators and instructors who are implementing formal distance or blended learning for the first time this year and wish to have an overview of what is entailed, or who want to transition their remote teaching and learning to a more structured, evidence-based model
  • Those who have experience but have not had previous training or want a brush-up

The first topic of this module is for all staff. While the second topic (planning, hiring, and data reporting) is designed with administrators in mind, all staff benefit from understanding those elements as well.

The total time for this PD activity is approximately 4.5 hours, depending on your pace and style of learning. We estimate the time as follows:

  • 3 hours: The online course will run between June 24 and July 8.
  • 1.5 hours: An end-of-course webinar for sharing and review will be held on July 8 from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. This webinar is a required part of this course. You will not register separately; by registering for the course you will automatically be registered for the final webinar and we will send you the information for how to log on the previous week.

NOTE: Modules 2 and 3 are complementary to this module. Together, the three modules will strengthen your program development, staff team building, student instruction and support, and learner outcomes. We encourage you to register for all three.

Module 2: (July 8 – July 29) Opening Your Doors: Recruitment, Screening, and Orientation

In this module, you will consider which learners you would like to serve, which are promising candidates for your program, how to find them, and how to support those who need preparation in order to be accepted. We will describe ways to check that they have the skills and resources necessary for study via distance or blended learning, and how to orient them so they are set up for success.

Module 3(July 29 - August 19) In the Class: Instruction and Assessment

This module explains how to select and organize online instructional products; what licenses are available through ACLS; how to use types of assessment to know how your students are doing and what they have achieved; and options for effective distance instruction and remote communication with learners.

    Learning Objectives

    Upon completion of this professional development activity/course, you will be able to:

  • Describe the similarities and differences between the two models of distance education
  • Consider which distance education options are best for learners you wish to serve
  • Identify opportunities that distance and blended learning provide to overcome barriers to education
  • Plan to use best practice approaches to planning and evaluation
  • Implement strategies for hiring and supporting appropriate staff (administrators)
  • Respond to implications for budgeting (administrators)
  • Leverage program resources (administrators)
Presenter(s) / Facilitator(s)
End Date

United States

PD Center
SABES Program Support PD Center - Digital Literacy and Distance Education
Topic Area
Digital Literacy