The Theory and Practice of Online Learning, Second Edition
458 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:01 May 2008

The Theory and Practice of Online Learning, Second Edition

Edited by Terry Anderson
Athabasca University Press

Neither an academic tome nor a prescriptive "how to" guide, The Theory and Practice of Online Learning is an illuminating collection of essays by practitioners and scholars active in the complex field of distance education. Distance education has evolved significantly in its 150 years of existence.

For most of this time, it was an individual pursuit defined by infrequent postal communication. But recently, three more developmental generations have emerged, supported by televison and radio, teleconferencing, and computer conferencing. The early 21st century has produced a fifth generation, based on autonomous agents and intelligent, database-assisted learning, that has been referred to as Web 2.0.

The second edition of The Theory and Practice of Online Learning features updates in each chapter, plus four new chapters on current distance education issues such as connectivism and social software innovations.


  • 2009, Winner - Charles A. Wedemeyer Award by the University Continuing Education Association
Terry Anderson is a professor and Canada Research Chair in Distance Education at Athabasca University. He has published extensively in the area of distance education and educational technology.


INTRODUCTION / Terry Anderson


PART I: Role and Function of Theory in Online Education Development and Delivery

1. Foundations of Educational Theory for Online Learning / Mohamed Ally

2. Towards a Theory of Online Learning / Terry Anderson

3. Situating Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) in an Online Learning Environment / Dianne Conrad

4. Understanding e-Learning Technologies-in-Practice through Philosophies-in-Practice / Heather Kanuka


PART II: Infrastructure and Support for Content Development

5. Developing an Infrastructure for Online Learning / Alan Davis, Paul Little & Brian Stewart

6. Technologies of Online Learning (E-learning) / Rory McGreal & Michael Elliott

7. Characteristics of Interactive Online Learning Media / Patrick. J. Fahy

8. “In-Your-Pocket” and “On-the-Fly:” Meeting the Needs of Today’s New Generation of Online Learners with Mobile Learning Technology / Maureen Hutchison, Tony Tin & Yang Cao

9. Social Software to Support Distance Education Learners / Terry Anderson


PART III: Design and Development of Online Courses

10. The Development of Online Courses / Dean Caplan & Rodger Graham

11. Value Added – The Editor in Design and Development of Online Courses / Jan Thiessen & Vincent Ambrock

12. Making Relevant Financial Decisions about Technology in Education / David Annand

13. The Quality Dilemma in Online Education Revisited / Nancy K. Parker


PART IV: Delivery, Quality Control, and Student Support of Online Courses

14. Teaching in an Online Learning Context / Terry Anderson

15. Call Centres in Distance Education / Alex Z. Kondra, Colleen Huber, Kerri Michalczuk & Andrew Woudstra

16. Library Support for e-Learners: e-Resources, e-Services, and the Human Factors / Kay Johnson, Houda Trabelsi & Elaine Fabbro

17. Supporting the Online Learner / Susan D. Moisey & Judith A. Hughes

18. Developing Team Skills and Accomplishing Team Projects Online / Deborah Hurst & Janice Thomas

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