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Distance learning coordinators, also known as instructional coordinators, are educational administrators that specialize in the distance learning curricula of academic institutions. Distance learning instructors coordinate the web-based curricula and online content of college websites, for instance, though online distance education is a relatively new form of distance learning. In previous decades, distance learning coordinators used to oversee the curricula of mail-in courses and other alternative learning methods such as videotaped or televised lectures.
The job description of an instructional coordinator specializing in distance education also includes evaluating and implementing novel teaching techniques. The day-to-day operations of distance education programs at community colleges and universities involve working with faculty, staff, and students in order to raise off-campus educational standards. Without the work of distance learning administrators, students and faculty would have much difficulty communicating and contacting each other effectively. Distance learning administrators combine all of the facets of managing off-campus curricula into one job position.
Developing distance education curricula is a demanding job position. Today, online college-level courses are quickly becoming more and more popular as information technology creates new opportunities for distance learning coordinators to utilize web-based strategies. As such, distance learning administrators and instructors must be well versed in the most up-to-date information technology developments, particularly developments in multimedia technology that provide teachers inventive teaching methods.
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The job duties of distance learning coordinators are numerous, but suffice it to say, their primary day-to-day duties involve administrative responsibilities. The distance education programs at major universities, for example, require that distance learning administers evaluate lecturers in order to ensure instructors are adhering to the proper curricula. Often, this oversight involves assessing the implementation of established information technology strategies such as the scope of online courses.
Distance learning instructors may also supervise the development of multimedia learning tools such as rich media presentations that contain graphics, video, and audio. In one manner of speaking, today's distance learning instructors perform many of the same job duties of web editors and webmasters. The implementation of multimedia into online education platforms is becoming more common as educational institutions expand the types of courses that schools offer off-campus. For example, classes in web development require much more interactive instruction than core curriculum classes such as English or history.
Coordinating the types of information technology that teachers can use effectively is another job duty of distance learning administrators. As previously noted, certain subjects tend to require more interactive web-based instruction than others. One of the most important job duties of distance education administrators involves inventing new ways to expand the use of technology into other subjects. Online history courses, for example, can integrate raw video clips of major historic events captured on tape such as a president's State of the Union address.
Designing and developing faculty workshops gives distance learning coordinators the flexibility to educate a college's staff in tandem with expanding distance learning programs. Distance learning coordinators must remain at the forefront of information technology in order to guide instructors who may not possess an adequate level of computer literacy. The job duties of distance learning coordinators encompass making new information technology more accessible to these instructors.
Analyzing the administrative costs of distance education programs is another common job duty of distance education administrators. Often, the breadth of a college's budget determines the amount of technological implementation used in online coursework. Distance learning coordinators choose which financial resources to allocate to the maintenance or expansion of network infrastructure such as database servers, for example.
Most major universities and large community colleges require that distance learning administrators possess a master's degree in education or a related discipline. For example, distance learning coordinators who work for online universities tend to have multiple degrees in informational technology in addition to an advanced educational degree.
The most accomplished graduate schools in the U.S. and Canada that specialize in education degrees include the University of Texas, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Toronto. These colleges offer doctoral programs in addition to master's degree programs.
Aside from an advanced degree, distance learning administrators must have a high level of dedication. Education administration is a discipline that requires analytical skills along with the ability to juggle a multitude of everyday tasks. The sheer amount of time distance learning educators spend on the job commands that prospective job applicants possess a strong passion for teaching.
Typically, distance learning coordinators spend the vast majority of their time in an office setting. Coordinating information technology requires that distance learning administrators interact with many different office settings as well. Distance education coordinators who work for online colleges, for example, often interact with many different software platforms in a single day.
Generally speaking, distance learning coordinators work in academic settings, interacting directly with faculty and staff on a daily basis. Occasionally, the job duties of distance learning administrators require traveling to different campuses within a university's system of individual colleges.