University of Maryland University College
Graduate School of Management and Technology

in cooperation with

Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
Center for Research in Distance Education

National and International Policies for Distance Education
in Developing Countries

OMDE 625

Thomas Hülsmann
with Hilary Perraton

(The Syllabus is subject to change)


The course is part of the CDE Distance Education in Developing Countries. The Certificate consists of four courses:

While the two former courses are considered as necessary foundations of the certificate program, the latter two courses address especially the respective issues in developing countries. This course, 'National and International Policies for Distance Education in Developing Countries' will be an exercise in stocktaking, asking the question for which purposes distance education has been used in developing countries and examining the evidence to which extent it has worked.

The last course, 'Educational Technologies for Distance Education in Developing Countries' will especially examine the impact and implications the new developments of information and communication technologies have on distance education. This course will be offered for the first time in Fall 2002.

The overall objective of this course is to equip the learner with a knowledge of open and distance learning in the developing world and enable him/her to use conceptual models to make informed choices between options as a manager, policy maker, practitioner or adviser.


Within the context of this course students will:



Perraton, H. (2000). Open and distance learning in the developing world. London: Routledge. (ISBN 0-41519419-9)

In general, journal articles and papers referenced in this Syllabus will be supplied online.

It is strongly recommended that students purchase the Publications Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th Ed.). As noted below, the ability to write to APA standards is a Graduate School requirement.



This course is only offered in the online mode. Students must be prepared to:

The 150 hours workload during the course consists of:

Reading hours per Module:

Module Weeks Reading hours
1 Education and Development
2: National Policies
3: International Policies
4: Organizational Models
5: Outcomes
6: Project



To the final grade of this course two items will contribute:


According to the Graduate School's grading policy, the following symbols are used: A -- excellent; B -- good; C -- passing; and F-- failure.

The following scale will be used for the purposes of this course:
A = 90 to 100
B = 80 to 89
C = 70 to 79
F = below 70.

The grade of "B" represents the benchmark for the Graduate School. It indicates that the student has demonstrated competency in the subject matter of the course, i.e., has fulfilled all course requirements on time, has a clear grasp of the full range of course materials and concepts, and is able to present and apply these materials and concepts in clear, reasoned, well-organized and grammatically correct responses, whether written or oral.

Only students who fully meet this standard and, additionally demonstrate exceptional comprehension and application of the course subject matter, merit an "A".

Students who do not meet the benchmark standard of competency fall within the "C" range or lower. They, in effect, have not met graduate level standards. Where this failure is substantial, they earn an "F".

The Grade Of "I" (Incomplete): The grade of "I" is exceptional and given only to students whose completed coursework has been qualitatively satisfactory but who have been unable to complete all course requirements because of illness or other extenuating circumstances beyond their control. The grade of "I" may be considered only for students who have completed at least fifty percent (50%) of the total course work requirements and who have received a passing grade on all the coursework which they have completed. The instructor retains the right to make the final decision on granting a student's request for an "I", even though the student may meet the eligibility requirements for this grade.


Effective managers, leaders, and teachers are also effective communicators. Written communication is an important element of the total communication process. The Graduate School recognizes and expects exemplary writing to be the norm for course work. To this end, all papers, individual and group, must demonstrate graduate level writing and comply with the format requirements of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th Edition. Careful attention should be given to spelling, punctuation, source citations, references, and the presentation of tables and figures. It is expected that all course work will be presented on time and error free. Work submitted online should follow standard procedures for formatting and citations.


Academic integrity is central to the learning and teaching process. Students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that will contribute to the maintenance of academic integrity by making all reasonable efforts to prevent the occurrence of academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, obtaining or giving aid on an examination, having unauthorized prior knowledge of an examination, doing work for another student, and plagiarism of all types.

Plagiarism is the intentional or unintentional presentation of another person's idea or product as one's own. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the following: copying verbatim all or part of another's written work; using phrases, charts, figures, illustrations, or mathematical or scientific solutions without citing the source; paraphrasing ideas, conclusions, or research without citing the source; and using all or part of a literary plot, poem, film, musical score, or other artistic product without attributing the work to its creator. Students can avoid unintentional plagiarism by following carefully accepted scholarly practices. Notes taken for papers and research projects should accurately record sources to material to be cited, quoted, paraphrased, or summarized, and papers should acknowledge these sources. The penalties for plagiarism include a zero or a grade of "F" on the work in question, a grade of "F" in the course, suspension with a file letter, suspension with a transcript notation, or expulsion.


Students with disabilities who want to request and register for services should contact UMUC's technical director for veteran and disabled student services at least four to six weeks in advance of registration each semester. Please call 301-985-7930 or 301-985-7466 (TTY).


Feedback on each graduate course and instructor is important to the university, your professor, and to all students. UMUC has the responsibility to assess the effectiveness of classroom instruction, and each student has the responsibility to provide accurate and timely feedback through completion of the course evaluation form. This is a shared obligation for us all. It is therefore important that you complete the evaluation form for each course. This should be viewed as an additional course and program requirement.


Understanding and navigating through WebTycho is critical to successfully completing this course. All students are encouraged to complete UMUC's Orientation to Distance Education and WebTycho Tour at

The online WebTycho Help Desk is accessible directly in the classroom. In addition, WebTycho Support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-800-807-4862 or


Each Master's student will work towards the development of a personal portfolio. The portfolio contains required and voluntary documents. Required documents are mandatory assignments and other mandatory contributions to the final grades in each course. Voluntary documents may show any other kind of active participation in the courses of the Master's program. These voluntary contributions allow students to show their proficiency and skills as a professional distance educator. This portfolio is a requirement for successful completion of the final Distance Education Project course.


Module 1 (Week 1 and 2)
Education and Development

The first module includes an introduction to the CDE Distance Education in Developing Countries. It will situate this course, National and international policies for distance education in developing countries, within the certificate program. Participants will introduce each other and will be introduced into the setup for this course. Essential element of this setup is the role of the project. The project is chosen until the end of module 2 in week 5. Each student develops his/her own project in three steps:

  1. presenting an annotated bibliography;
  2. preparing a project conference in which the project is outlined (in form of main topics) and central issues are prepared for discussion peers and faculty;
  3. writing up the final paper based on the literature identified in the annotated bibliography and the feedback received during the project conference.

The dominant theme throughout this course is the following: If education is good for development and mass education can be supported through distance education, then distance education has a role to play in fostering development. In this module we examine the underlying concepts and assumptions: What is development? Is it true that investment in education leads to development, especially economic growth? What role could be expected distance education could play in this context?

Such questions link back the course Economics of Distance Education where the Human Capital Theory has been discussed. A more skeptical interpretation, which sees education mainly as a means of Social Reproduction, will provide a contrasting view throughout the course.

Required Readings
Martinussen, J. (1999). Society, state and market: a guide to competing theories of development (2nd ed.). London: Zed.
Chapter 3: Conceptions and dimensions of development: pp. 34 - 45, and one of the following chapters:
Chapter 5: Theories of growth and modernization: pp. 56 - 72
Chapter 6: Structuralist theories and industrial development: pp. 73 - 84
Chapter 7: Neo-Marxist theories of underdevelopment and dependency: pp. 85 - 100
-- Sen, A. (1999). Development as freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Introduction: Freedom as development: pp. 3 - 11
Chapter 1: The perspective of freedom: pp. 13 - 34
Chapter 2: The ends and means of development: pp. 35 - 53
-- Todaro, M. P. (1994). Economic Development (5th ed.). New York, London: Longman.
Chapter 2: Diverse structures and common characteristics of developing nations: pp. 27 - 54
Chapter 3: Theories of development: A comparative analysis: pp. 67 - 94
Chapter 11: Education and development: pp. 363 - 391

Additional Sources:
-- UNDP. (2002). Human Development Report 2002: Deepening democracy in a fragmented world. New York: Oxford University Press. (Human Development Index tables: pp. 149-152)
-- World Bank.Classification of economies. Retrieved 03/18, 2002, from the World Wide Web:
-- USAID. (2000). Global Education Database. Retrieved 11.19, 2001, from the World Wide Web:


Module 2 (Week 3-5)
National Policy

Open and distance learning has been adopted in much of the south and examples can be found of its use for basic education, nonformal education in such areas as health and agriculture, secondary equivalence education, higher education, and for vocational education especially in teacher training. The documented experience makes it possible to identify a series of reasons for using open and distance learning and to examine the audiences for it in their light. Policies for open and distance learning have been developed in part by individual institutions, in part by national policies, and in part by international pressures. An examination of its use in contrasting areas of education illuminates the role of national policy and links between purpose, audience, and technology.
The module serves to some extent as an 'advance organizer' for the course as a whole and especially module 4. It allows participants to choose their project.

Required Reading
-- Perraton, H. (2000). Open and distance learning in the developing world. London: Routledge.
Chapter 1: Introduction: golden goose or ugly duckling: pp. 1 - 14
Chapter 9: Political economy: who benefits, who pays?: pp. 177 - 190


Module 3 (Week 6 and 7)
International Policies

The process of globalization has drawn attention to the influence of international policy on national development. Globalization works in various ways: the role of open and distance learning in response to national policies for workforce education were examined in module 2 while the development of cross-border enrollment and e-learning opportunities are examined in module 4 (and also in the course on technologies). The policies of the World Bank (comparing statements about policy with actual practice in lending), UNESCO, and of bilateral agencies are examined. The European Commission offers a contrast where Europe-wide policies do not transfer across to its development agenda. The work of these agencies is contrasted with that of the two specialist agencies, the Commonwealth of Learning and CIFFAD. These are examined to illuminate what added value, other than technical assistance, they provide within the context of aid policy generally.

Required Reading
-- Perraton, H. (2000). Open and distance learning in the developing world (Chapter 8). London: Routledge.
Chapter 8:
-- King, K., & Buchert, L. (1999). Changing international aid to education: global patterns and national activities. Paris: UNESCO.
-- UNESCO. (2000 April 26-28). The Dakar framework for action. Education for all: meeting our collective commitments. Unesco. Retrieved 04/10, 2002, from the World Wide Web:

Additional Sources:
CIFFAD International Francophone Consortium of Distance and Open Learning Institutions
-- COL Commonwealth of Learning
-- Imfundo: KnowledgeBank
-- World Bank Global Distance EducationNet


Module 4 (Week 8-12)
Organizational Models

This module examines the use of distance education for different applications:

Based on this examination of the application of distance education in different areas, organizational models are developed which allow to compare and analyze distance-teaching institutions and to identify the location of the necessary functions for open and distance learning within each of the various models, their relationship to conventional education, and their relative strengths and weaknesses.

Required Reading
Perraton, H. (2000). Open and distance learning in the developing world. London: Routledge.
Chapter 2: Nonformal education: the light that never shone: pp. 15 - 31
Chapter 3: Schooling: the door is ajar: pp. 32 - 56
Chapter 4: Teachers: educating the largest profession: pp. 57 - 83
Chapter 5: Higher education: beyond the courtyard wall: pp. 84 - 117

Additional Reading:
-- Perraton, H. (1991). Administrative structures for distance education. London, Vancouver: COL.
Participants deepen their knowledge in at least one of the main areas of application choosing from the following texts
Basic education
-- Perraton, H., Creed, C. (2000). Applying new technologies and cost-effective delivery systems in basic education. IRFOL. Retrieved 04/10, 2002, from the World Wide Web:
-- Bosch, A. (1997). Interactive radio instruction: twenty-three years of improving educational quality. Education and Technology Notes, 1(1).
-- Yates, C., & Tilson, T. (2000). Basic education at a distance. In C. Yates, & Bradley, J. (Ed.), Basic education at a distance: An introduction. London, New York: Routledge, COL.
Secondary equivalence education
-- Calderoni, J. (1998). Telesecundaria: using TV to bring education to rural Mexico. Education and technology Notes Series, 3(2).
-- De Moura Castro, C., Wolff, L. & García, N. (September/October 1999). Bringing education by television to rural areas: Mexico's Telesecundaria. TechKnowLogia.
Higher education
-- Latchem, C., Abdulla, S., & Ding, X. (1999). 'Open and distance learning in Asian universities. Performance improvement quarterly, 12(2), 3-18.
Vocational education, especially in teacher training.
-- Perraton, H., Potashnik, M. (1997). Teacher education at a distance. Education and Technology Series, 2(2).
-- Chivore, B. R. S. (1993). The Zimbabwe Integrated Teacher Education Course. In H. Perraton (Ed.), Distance education for teacher training (pp. 42-66). London, New York: Routledge.

Module 5 (Week 13 and 14)

The final module before the project addresses issues of quality and legitimacy. It examines both the methods of evaluation that can be applied to open and distance learning and the conclusions that can be drawn from this process. While giving due recognition to other traditions of evaluation, it outlines the use made of cost-effectiveness studies in open and distance learning and suggests the conclusions that may be drawn from this, relating the findings back to the discussion in module 1 of national purpose and of audiences.

Required Reading
M cAnany, E. G. (1975). Radio schools in nonformal education: an evaluation perspective. In T. A. La Belle (Ed.), Educational alternatives in Latin America. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin America Center Publications, University of California.
-- Orivel, F. (2000). 'Finance, costs and economics'. In C. Yates. & J. Bradley (Eds.), Basic education at a distance. London: Routledge.
-- Perraton, H. (2000). Open and distance learning in the developing world (Chapter 6 & 10). London: Routledge.
-- Perraton, H. Assessment of distance education, MA/Diploma Course 4 Block C Unit 12. Cambridge: IEC.

Module 6 (Week 14 )

Students will be required to undertake a project (cf. description of process in module 1). They will be expected to examine the use of open and distance learning in at least one country and at one level of education, although broader-based and comparative projects will be encouraged. Students will in any case need to draw on comparative experience from various levels of education and from various countries or geographical regions in doing their project. Students will be expected to demonstrate the capacity to analyze the experience of open and distance learning, using a methodology appropriate to their theme, and to produce a draft that could be used as a guide to educational policy.
The project will be chosen early on in the course and develop in steps beginning with preparing an annotated bibliography, then conduction a project conference which will lead to a first draft of the prokject paper. The final week will be set aside to allow students to concentrate on finalizing their project. The project work itself will consist of a document of about 5000 words (maximum 7000, minimum 4000).