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Legitimation of distance education: a social history of the Open Learning Institute of British Columbia… Moran, Louise 1991

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LEGITIMATION OF DISTANCE EDUCATION: A SOCIAL HISTORY OF THE OPENLEARNING INSTITUTE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA 1978-1988byLOUISE MORANB.A. Australian National University, 1968Grad. Dip. Educ. Admin., Adelaide College of Advanced Education, 1980A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFDOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Department of Social and Educational Studies)We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE IV?’RITISH COLUMBIADecener 1991Louise Moran, 1991In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission._____________________________Department of J(cXZGtc?LQ.. k-.azThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate I s CQ-tQI I IDE-6 (2/88)iiABSTRACTAs Canadian higher education expanded from the 1950s, new institutions sought institutionallegitimacy, meaning credibility and prestige in relation to educational peers and the state.Three dimensions to institutional legitimacy were identified: hierarchies of institutions, curriculaand pedagogies; horizontal status within institutional sectors and fields of knowledge; andexternal legitimacy in relation to the state. New distance education institutions have foundinstitutional legitimacy unusually problematic because of widespread scepticism about aneducational form in which teacher and learner are separated in time and/or space. Distanceeducators typically balance industrial organizational forms using modern communicationstechnologies, with attention to individual learners and accessibility. The study examined how anew, publicly-funded, distance education institution acquires legitimacy.The British Columbia government established the Open Learning Institute in 1978, overextensive opposition, with an unusual mandate to teach programs from degree level to adultbasic education at a distance. OLI never fitted easily into either university or college sector.Ambiguity persisted over its roles as credential-provider and service agency, but OLI quicklyproved its popularity with students. Its leaders adopted existing norms and standards, especiallythose of the universities, while insisting on college characteristics of openness and accessibility.Government Restraint policies in the 1980s materially affected OLI’s curriculum andpedagogies, and contributed to continuing debates over OLI’s role as provincial coordinator ofdistance education.iiiBy 1988, OLI’s credentials were accepted in BC; inter-institutional collaborative agreementsconfirmed OLI was an acceptable partner; and OLI was a significant leader in the internationaldistance education field. The Institute challenged traditional indicators of hierarchicalinstitutional legitimacy through its sophisticated distance education techniques and neworganizational patterns. Horizontal legitimacy, especially in relation to OLI’s accessibility andits distance education expertise, was more important to its overall institutional legitimacy thanposition in traditional hierarchies of prestige. Its relationship with the state was also crucial tofiscal prosperity and perceptions of distance education’s capacity to serve state functions.Conclusions are drawn about distance education’s effects on the three dimensions of institutionallegitimacy.ivCONTENTSPageAbstract iiAcknowledgements viiINTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY IStatement of the Problem 1Institutional Legitimacy - a Definition 3Distance Education- a Definition 11Open Learning Institute of British Columbia 19Nature and Methodology of the Study 21Significance of the Study 26Outline of the Study 272 THE CONTEXT: CANADIAN HIGHER EDUCATION,AND DISTANCE EDUCATION 30Legitimacy and Canadian Higher Education 30Growth in Higher Education 30Stratification of Knowledge & Allocation of Status 34Legitimation of Stratification and Allocation 40Consequences for Institutional Legitimacy 44Legitimacy and Change in Distance Education 47Growth of Distance Education 48Structure of Distance Education 51Systems of Distance Education 53Inter-Institutional Collaboration 60Why did these Changes Occur? 63Conclusions 673 THE CONTEXT: HIGHER EDUCATION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA 70The Environment of British Columbia 70British Columbian Politics 71Expansion of Higher Education 74The Universities Prior to 1978 78The Colleges and Institutes Prior to 1978 85Coordination of a Higher Education System 88Conclusions 914 GENESIS OF THE OPEN LEARNING INSTITUTE: 1975-1978 98Social Credit, McGeer and Hardwick 98Educational Commissions 1976-1977 103Interior University Programs Board 106Distance Education Planning Group 111Conclusions 121VPage5 TO SURVIVE AND PROSPER: THE INSTITUTION 1978-1980 130People, Place and Community 130First Principles, Plans and Budgets 134Governance and Organizational Structures 140Board and Principal 140Organizational Structure 143No Full-Time Faculty 145Design and Delivery Systems 147Course Design 147Communications Media 149Acquiring and Adapting Others’ Courses 151Teaching Strategies 152Student Support Services 154OLI’s First Students 156Conclusions 1576 REACHING OUTSIDE OLI: 1978-1980 164The Curriculum Takes Shape 164University Program 165Adult Basic Education Program 169Career, Technical, Vocational Program 172Continuing Education 175Relationships With the State 176Relationships With Higher Education Institutions 180Relationships With the Universities 180Relationships with Colleges and Institutes 184Conclusions 1867 RESTRAINING HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE 1980s 193The Restraint Policy 193Effects of Restraint on Higher Education 1958 CONSOLIDATION AND COMMUNITY WITHIN OLI: 1980-1988 206A New Principal 206Impact of Restraint on OLI’s Growth 207Curriculum Development 212Career, Technical, Vocational Program 213University Programs 217Adult Basic Education Program 224Continuing Education 226Distance Education Systems at Work 227Course Development and Production 228Teaching and Support Services 234Management, Structure and Culture 242Labour Relations Within OLI 242The OLI Community 245A New Principal and a New Structure 246Conclusions 247viPage9 COLLABORATION AND COORDINATION OUTSIDE OLI: 1980-1988 257OLI’s Students 257OLI in the Distance Education Field 264Inter-Institutional Collaboration 271Patterns of Collaboration 273Models of Sectoral Collaboration 276The Knowledge Network of the West 283Provincial Coordination of Distance Education 289Conclusions 29810 CONCLUSIONS 308OLI’s History- a Resume 308Securing Survival and Prosperity 312OLI and Traditional Indicators of Legitimacy in BC 317OLI and the State 322Legitimacy in the Field of Distance Education 326Distance Education and Institutional Legitimacy 333Implications for Future Research 339BIBLIOGRAPHY 341APPENDICES 3621 Tables 3622 Members of OLI Board 1978-1988 3743 Interviews Conducted by the Author 3764 Abbreviations and Acronyms in Text and Endnotes 378viiACKNOWLEDGEMENTSA PhD thesis is the product of one person’s obsessive wrestling with the data, but its successfulconclusion is greatly aided by more disinterested colleagues, friends and family. This study isno exception. My deepest thanks go, firstly, to my research advisor, Dr Donald Fisher, and theother members of my thesis committee, Dr William Bruneau and Dr Ronald Neufeld, whoseencouragement and advice were invaluable. Secondly, I am very grateful to Dr Glen Farrell,President of the Open Learning Agency, for his generosity and openness in giving me access tothe Agency’s archives. I owe a considerable debt to Dr Ian Mugridge and Dr John Bottomley,of OLA, for their unflagging willingness to provide information and comment critically on myfindings, and for their continuing friendship withal. I am grateful, too, to Ms ConnieFitzpatrick, OLA’s Librarian, for her help in bringing the archives together and making themost of them. I appreciated the enthusiastic response and thoughtful comments I received fromthose who gave so freely of their time to be interviewed for this study. My warm thanks to DrHilary Perraton for wise counsel, sustaining friendship, and tough comments on seeminglyendless drafts. I acknowledge my debt to Deakin University for granting me three years’ leaveto undertake this degree. Finally, but very far from least, I dedicate this study to my motherand my late father, without whose lifelong encouragement to seek new horizons I would nothave had the courage to undertake this work.1CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDYSTATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMHigher education has expanded enormously in most quarters of the world since 1950. Massivegrowth has occurred in the number and variety of institutions, students, subjects andcredentials. Pressures for increased popular access have vied with efforts to retain traditionalelite characteristics of higher education. Canada has been no exception to these trends. Before1950, Canadian higher education was largely conducted by a small number of autonomousuniversities with denominational affiliations, accessible to the privileged few. Each provincenow has a large, hierarchical system of universities, institutes and colleges, funded andincreasingly influenced by government. Access has increased, but equality of educationalopportunity remains problematic.Among the changes has been an increased prominence of distance education aimed at adultswho study at home or in the workplace rather than attending the campus. This change hastaken two forms in Canada. One has been the metamorphosis of small ‘correspondence study’programs in conventional institutions into more substantial distance education programs usingsophisticated technologies and managed by specialist distance educators. Secondly, three newspecial purpose distance education institutions have been created: Athabasca University inAlberta, the Tl-Universit& de Quebec, and the Open Learning Institute of British Columbia.1The last is the subject of this study.To survive and prosper, a new higher education institution must necessarily establish itsidentity, credibility and status with its peers and sponsors, and its popularity in the marketplace - in short, its legitimacy. A legal mandate, alone, cannot guarantee this legitimacy. Someinstitutions have chosen to follow traditional intellectual, pedagogical and organizational models2to achieve their desired stature and character. Others have eschewed convention and madealternative, often innovative choices of pedagogy, organizational structure, resource use, andadmissions requirements. Both paths are problematic. It is a struggle to earn respect for theintellectual quality and standards of teaching and research, to fend off competition, and toreach levels of funding and enrolment popularity guaranteeing not only survival but alsoprestige and stature.A new, publicly-funded distance education institution cannot escape these fundamentalimperatives to find ways to survive and prosper. How it goes about it poses intriguingquestions. Distance education’s unconventional pedagogies and unusual organizational structuresand systems challenge educational orthodoxies, and suggest new reference points for thoseclaiming institutional legitimacy. This was less important while correspondence study remainedan insignificant and poorly-regarded educational form on the institutional margins. Newtechniques and accelerating social pressures for educational access improved that marginalposition from the late 1960s. Rapid and massive expansion of distance education worldwidesince then indicates it has become an important tool of national educational policies and islikely to play a significant and continuing role in both developed and developing countries intothe next century. This lends cogency to the primary question addressed in this study:How does a new, publicly funded distance education institution acquire legitimacy?A social history of the origins and early years of a distance education institution offers one wayof addressing the question. This study of the Open Learning Institute (OLI) of BritishColumbia (BC) covers the period leading to its creation in June 1978 through to its reformation as the Open Learning Agency in April 1988. As an important starting point, Ielaborate below definitions of ‘institutional legitimacy’ and ‘distance education’ which haveshaped and been reshaped by the research.3INSTITUTIONAL LEGITIMACY - A DEFINITIONBy ‘institutional legitimacy’ I mean the stature, credibility and prestige of the institution withinits higher education system and in relationship to the state. There are three broad and interconnected dimensions to institutional legitimacy: vertical hierarchies of institutions, curriculaand pedagogies; horizontal status within institutional sectors and fields of knowledge; andexternal legitimacy in relation to the state. This definition emerged as the research progressed.OLI’s various relationships suggested that more familiar views of hierarchical stratification didnot adequately explain how OLI claimed and substantiated its legitimacy.The three dimensions of legitimacy are closely linked to the purposes of higher education.Today, these are argued to include discovering new knowledge; preserving, reproducing andinculcating culture in coming generations; maintaining elite social and cultural dominance;managing and legitimating knowledge as a commodity in industrial society; and transmittingknowledge and skills required in the increasingly specialized workplace (after Schultz 1961;Halsey 1961a; 1969; Halsey & Trow 1971; Stone 1983; Perkin 1984; Trow 1984; 1987). Modernconflicts about these purposes have been especially affected by increasing state demands forrelevance of higher education to state economic and social purposes. Tensions exist betweensocial and political demands for mass access to higher education, and efforts to retain highereducation as a preserve of social and intellectual elites.Trow (1984) argues institutional legitimacy has objective and subjective aspects. He suggestsobjective legitimacy is typically a fairly straightforward matter of legal status, and formalrights, privileges, obligations and limitations. All these are, nowadays, strongly influenced ordetermined by the state. These criteria define boundaries between sectors of higher educationand determine institutional mandates and resources. Subjective aspects of legitimacy invitecomparison of institutional reputations and prestige based on normative criteria set by the4university tradition. Trow sees universities as a “kind of reservoir or bank of accumulatedsuccesses” in the market for “high-quality students, for distinguished teachers and researchers,for research support, and for scholarly and research publications and honours’ (1984,135).Institutional distinction relies on judgements by scholars presumed able, by virtue of their ownexpertise and reputation, to assess quality. Their judgements intersect with those of the state,other sponsors and students.The recognition accorded an institution is inevitably qualitative and contested because of themany subjective perceptions involved. Who, then, confers institutional legitimacy? There arethree broad groups involved. One is the institution’s clientele, comprising students, employersand sponsors of research. Students’ choices of institution reflect their perceptions of its relativeprestige in the higher education system, and its relevance and convenience to their particularneeds. Employers and sponsoring agencies have a stake in the institution’s outcomes in theform of graduates and research. The second group comprises other institutions and individualsin the higher education system. Included here are universities and colleges or institutes in theimmediate region, and possibly others further-flung, within or beyond the country. Highereducation institutions share an interest in preserving normative standards of teaching andresearch and other criteria confirming their own legitimacy. In an increasingly crowdedenvironment, they also have an interest in asserting and maintaining their own territories.Many are concerned, too, to expand that territory and acquire higher status. The third groupare state functionaries, defined here to include elected and appointed officials (after Panitch1980), primarily those in education ministries. The state has multiple interests as an employerand sponsor of research, resource provider, and guardian of social and economic ideologies.All higher education systems exhibit some form of hierarchy, however much they vary indegree and form. As Trow notes (1984,132; see also Clark 1978; Bok 1986,15), hierarchies tendto be remarkably stable over time and around the world even though, as Perkin (1984) reminds5us, universities have undergone many transformations in the last 800 years. The stability andtransformations are both predictable. Through their influence on how knowledge is definedand allocated, higher education institutions have tended to reproduce hegemonic social values,and reinforce existing social stratifications (see, inter alia, Connell 1977; Bourdieu 1977; Tapper& Salter 1978; Apple 1982; Aronowitz & Giroux 1985). In so doing, they have been arenas forconflict and change in their societies. Reproduction and reinforcement are not simple matters,especially in societies where pressures for higher levels of professionalization increasingly viewith demands for equality of educational opportunity. Today, the idea of elite educationconflicts with the idea of mass education. Institutional attitudes towards both ideas affect theinstitution’s prestige as viewed by different interest groups.Status and prestige are elusive attributes, relying on implicit assumptions about quality,standards and social desirability, and overt indicators of wealth and power. ‘Quality’ is a highlysubjective and contested attribute. In everyday parlance we can readily recognise the intent ofstatements like ‘X is a top university’ or ‘Y has a first rate department of Z studies.’ It ismanifestly difficult to establish performance indicators and pin down absolute or comparablestandards. No one criterion is paramount or immutable or enough by itself to conferlegitimacy. Collectively, however, they define normative standards of modern higher education.Interest groups will judge a new institution by how well, and to what extent, it meets thenormative standards. Hierarchical status indicators have come, for the most part, from theuniversity tradition; some are centuries old.Common indicators of comparative institutional status in today’s hierarchies include academics’research productivity; honours awarded to faculty and students; size and comprehensiveness oflibrary, laboratories and other facilities; size of budget and access to non-government sources offunds; institutional autonomy in allocation of financial resources; standards and restrictions inadmissions policies; and graduate success in subsequent careers (Trow 1984,135-37; Bok61986,178). Some quantification is possible of these indicators but each also has a qualitative,subjective aspect. Institutional age is another important subjective indicator of legitimacy. Ageallows institutional traditions to develop and merge with alumni loyalties, which are themselveshanded on through generations of family and social networks. Age can confer a self-confidence and complacency born of long monopoly (Annan 1961,352).Hierarchical legitimacy also derives from relative prestige of types and levels of knowledge: forexample, the late 20th century pre-occupation with science and technology, and the relativedecline in the humanities; the traditionally higher status of ‘liberal’ over ‘vocational’ education,and the comparative value of graduate programs over sub-degree studies (see inter alia, Bok1986; Silver & Brennan 1988; Stephens 1989). Another criterion of hierarchical status is‘cosmopolitanism’, meaning national and international outlooks rather than a provincial focus orreputation (Halsey & Trow 1971). Universities have traditionally been distinguished fromcommunity colleges in this regard, because their emphasis on research transcends classroom andgeographical boundaries.Access to higher education has become an important aspect of hierarchical legitimacy,especially since World War Two. Restricted entry has tended to symbolize high quality. Insimple terms, the tougher the barriers to admission, the more desirable the credential andmembership of the institution. This criterion remains at the heart of contemporary conflictsover alleged dilution of academic standards by allowing ‘open entry’ to people who have notfirst proven their intellectual capability. Entry standards have been a formidable weapon inmany institutions’ efforts simultaneously to expand and remain exclusive. These standards havealso helped define the relative prestige of higher education sectors. Broadly speaking,conventional universities have retained restrictions on entry, especially to higher statusprofessional programs, leaving it to colleges and other institutions to accept people with no orinsufficient qualifications. Clark (1961) calls this a ‘cooling out’ function of colleges. Large7numbers are encouraged to aspire to higher education, but access to the more prestigious levelsof knowledge and institutions is protected.Until the 1950s, higher education in most countries was a tight triangle where a small numberof homogeneous institutions catered to a small number of students. Growth occurred in alldirections in the face of political and social pressure for access to higher education, andaccelerating trends towards a credential-ridden society (Collins 1979) dominated by anupwardly mobile, professionalized middle class (Perkin 1989). The triangular shape of thehierarchy has, if anything, been accentuated as it has enlarged, though location of particularinstitutions is still a subjective matter. A tiny number of the most prestigious universities holdthe top position, followed by other institutions (mostly universities) with both teaching andresearch functions and emphasis on graduate and professional education. A major barrier, orbinary divide, then appears. Below it are institutions (typically colleges) with no researchfunctions and, in some jurisdictions, without degree-granting powers. A similar triangularshape is evident in the location of students, with small numbers in postgraduate programs andthe largest in non-degree and junior levels of degree programs. The evidence strongly suggestsproportional access to upper levels of the hierarchy continues to be skewed towards moresocially or economically privileged males who also continue to exert proportionally greaterinfluence on public affairs (see Chapter 2). Yet it would be simplistic and inaccurate to suggestthe peak institutions are untouched by the consequences of far larger numbers demandingaccess to esoteric or sacred knowledge (Silver 1980,135), and cultural capital (Bourdieu 1971;1990).The horizontal dimension of legitimacy refers to an institution’s credibility and stature in theeyes of peer institutions and disciplinary practitioners. There are analogies here to Weber’sconcept of status groups internally bound by a shared sense of status based on participation in acommon culture (Weber 1968,201-08; also Collins 1979,125-27). Credibility and stature are8earned by performance within that culture. In higher education the culture may be that of aparticular type or sector of institutions, or of a field of knowledge or educational practice. Theculture is rich in normative and symbolic bonds justifying and legitimating the ideologies ofthat type of institution or knowledge field (Clark 1978,14).Horizontal legitimacy is especially noticeable within sectors or types of institution, according totheir recognized functions. In Canada, for example, a community college is not expected toconduct research. Its location in a provincial hierarchy reflects that lack of a research mandate,but its own legitimacy comes from other sources. One, the objective element, is the colleges’teaching mandate, and the rights and obligations conferred on a college by the state. Moresubjectively, a college is judged by its institutional peers, clients and the state for the perceivedquality of its teaching, openness of its admissions policies, and relevance of its programs tolocal economic and social demands. Fierce advocacy of the ‘vocational ideal’ in non-universitysectors is a positive acclamation of the virtues and values of teaching-only organisationsdevoted to employment-oriented education (see, for example, Beinder 1986; Dennison &Gallagher 1986; Silver & Brennan 1988). A problem of status arises when the institution doesnot conform in important ways to the normal indicators of horizontal legitimacy. The problemwill be exacerbated if the institution is also competing with peers for resources or territory.Peer perceptions of how another institution treats a field of knowledge or educational practiceprovide another significant element of horizontal legitimacy. Faculty typically look todisciplinary peers outside the institution for affirmation of their personal status and that oftheir unit. Similarly, members of fields like distance education tend to look to their peers forlegitimation of their practice. The result may well be a hierarchy of individuals or units withina discipline or field. In an environment of increasing specialization, “the operating units ofuniversities and colleges tend to give their parent bodies the shape of federations, coalitions,and conglomerates rather than of unitary and single-purpose organisations” (Clark 1978,3).9Formal institutional attitudes towards each other, determined largely by senior policy makersand administrators, may not reflect the attitudes of people in the institution’s operating units.Consequently, there may be marked differences in perceptions of hierarchical prestige andhorizontal status of an institution, according to the observer’s location and affiliations.The external dimension of institutional legitimacy— its relationship to the state - is integral tothe other two dimensions because of the contemporary state’s pervasive presence in, andinfluence on higher education. I distinguish it here for two reasons. One is to emphasize themodern state’s power over objective aspects of institutional survival and prosperity. Stateofficials’ perceptions of the comparative worth or ‘relevance’ of fields of knowledge and waysof conducting teaching and research affect state decisions on institutional mandates, financialprovision, and institutional freedom to operate.The other reason for singling out the relationship with the state is to emphasize the importanceof higher education’s role in assisting the state to fulfill its own functions of supporting capitalaccumulation and legitimation of the social status quo (Tapper & Salter 1978; Carnoy & Levin1985). In the first case, higher education educates and trains an appropriately skilledworkforce. In the second case, higher education is a key cementing agent in maintaining socialand cultural norms of dominant elites (Halsey 1969). These often ambiguous and conflictingfunctions are typically expressed as ideologies supporting investment in human capital andredressing social inequalities. Both ideologies have gained enormous popularity in the postSecond War period though their meaning to different social groups is very different and, asTapper and Salter argue (1978,l47ff), they are in some respects mutually contradictory. Theuniversity’s traditional role of conserving civilized, esoteric culture conflicts with the concept ofhigher education as a fundamentally economic resource to be employed to the maximumnational benefit (see Stephens 1989). The former implies limited access to a privileged few; the10latter a commodification and devaluation of knowledge as higher education expands to meetmass markets.The complicated interdependencies of state and higher education arising from this contradictionaffect the value and credibility accorded certain types of institution and fields of knowledgeover others. Institutional legitimacy is bound up in the degree of autonomy an institution islegally and politically able to exert. In general terms, Canadian universities, as the repositoriesand transmitters of the most highly valued knowledge, have maintained a distance from thestate by calling on their specialist expertise, traditions of academic freedom and impartiality,and supposedly supra-vocational goals. Colleges have tended to be more open to stateincursions because of their avowedly vocational and popular purposes.There are no simple criteria for institutional legitimacy. Indicators of hierarchical status mayconflict with horizontal criteria, and both may be shaped by the institution’s relationships withthe state. The irresistible rise of distance education in the last 25 years provides a new sourceof, or reference point for, institutional legitimacy on both vertical and horizontal dimensions.In general terms, the standard indicators of legitimacy have in common certain assumptionsabout how education is normally conducted. Above all, the norm that education is bestconducted face-to-face is rarely questioned. Consequently, education requires certain facilities,timetables, staffing ratios, academic and student behaviours, and organization. These shape theinstitution’s character and influence its legitimacy and prestige. When, as in distance education,temporal and spatial contiguity are largely removed, education is not primarily a face-to-faceactivity. Yet, although distance education institutions have encountered much suspicion andhave typically been located at the lower end of status hierarchies, it does not necessarily followthat low status is the proper, inevitable or permanent consequence of teaching at a distance.1]Most single-purpose distance education institutions in industrialized countries are, at most, 25years old, and therefore likely still to be in early phases of the struggle to survive which everyhigher education institution experiences. Moreover, as Chapter 2 will show, distance educationhas attracted the attention of governments seeking ways of improving workforce skills andacceding to popular demand for educational access, while reducing unit costs. Distanceeducation has been justified by its supporters as an important solution to this conundrum.Distance education may not easily exhibit the usual characteristics of institutional status, butincreasing state support seems likely to improve the location of distance education institutionsin the slowly changing hierarchies of higher education.DISTANCE EDUCATION- A DEFINITIONI define distance education in this study as a form of normally part-time education in whichteacher and learner are separated in time and/or space, and communicate with each otherthrough various media (adapted from Keegan 1980; Perraton l982a; Rumble 1986a; 1989; Shale1988). Distance education goes to people where they live and work. Teachers and students arelinked by networks using multiple information and telecommunications technologies andpedagogical practices including print, audio, television, telephone, and computers. Two othercommon elements are an industrialization of the educational process (Peters 1969; 1971; 1989;Keegan 1983; 1986; Jevons 1986); and efforts to balance learner independence with interactionwith the institution (Moore 1977; 1983; Daniel & Marquis 1979; Keegan 1986). This definitionis consistent with that used by most OLI staff and fits my own experience in the field.A second term, ‘open learning’, gained popularity by the late 1980s. It connotes a socialpurpose of removing barriers to educational access, and/or an andragogical approach to teachingand learning emphasizing learner independence (Farrell & Haughey 1986; Paine 1988). Theyare often used interchangeably, but the terms ‘open learning’ and ‘distance education’ are not12necessarily synonymous. The former may be conducted either face-to-face or at a distance.The latter may be inflexible and controlling in structure, conditions of entry, and teachingstrategies (Keegan 1986,24). The international popularity of the term ‘open’ in nomenclature ofinstitutions teaching at a distance shows its symbolic power, not least in British Columbia’sOpen Learning Institute. Debates about the meaning of both terms, their relationship, and thegreater appropriateness of one or the other reveal an inherent conflict between educationalstrategies devoted primarily to the singular needs of the individual learner, and those concernedprimarily with enabling very large numbers of people to meet their educational goals.Legitimation within conventional status hierarchies is difficult because, by removing teacherand learner from each other’s presence, distance education challenges the deep and rarelyquestioned normative concept of education as a face-to-face activity. This challenge and thesearch for legitimacy have been driving forces behind a lengthy, unresolved debate overwhether distance education is a new and distinct field of education, or different from otherforms of education only in its morphological features (Shale 1988,25). If distance education is adistinct field, its practitioners can claim it has discrete standards and norms and horizontallegitimacy assumes top priority. If distance education is not distinct, then it must competemore directly with conventional forms of education, and is vulnerable to all the indicators onboth vertical and horizontal axes of legitimacy.Shifts in the popularity of each side of this debate have coincided with changing policies andpractices designed to legitimate the field of distance education. The first step — distinguishingthe modern form of distance education from its less reputable predecessor, ‘correspondencestudy’ - coincided with the creation of single-purpose open universities and expansion of smalloperations within conventional institutions. In the 1970s and early 1980s, an argument fordistance education as a distinct field accompanied the burgeoning of distance educationinstitutions and their struggle for legitimacy in the eyes of educational peers, governments and13funding agencies. Boundaries between distance and mainstream forms of education began toblur in the late 1980s as conventional institutions themselves started to use some of thetechnologies and techniques initially appropriated by distance educators. Age, experience, andperformance have had their own effects on institutional credibility.Until the late 1960s, practitioners viewed correspondence study as a form of education uniqueonly in its delivery techniques. The term ‘correspondence’ implied use of the postal system fortransmission of printed learning materials and correspondence between teacher and learner.Erdos argued the principles of correspondence teaching were similar to those of any other formof human learning based on reading and writing (rather than practical skills development).Correspondence study could be just as effective given appropriate forms of student support andbetter quality learning materials to counter high drop out rates (Erdos 1962; 1967; see alsoWedemeyer 1971b; Sims 1972; Sheath 1969; Mackenzie & Christensen 1971). Erdos may havebeen right, but correspondence study enjoyed an indifferent reputation at best in the widereducational arena. In the early 1970s, as new techniques and technologies emerged, theoristspursued two broad paths: the significance of interaction and independence, and a concept ofdistance education as an industrial form of education.Concepts of andragogy and self-actualization (Rogers 1969; Faure 1972; Knowles 1973; Kidd1973) were important elements in a widespread resurgence of adult education from the late1960s. American distance educators such as Wedemeyer (1971a; 1971b; 1979) and Moore (1977;1983) drew on these concepts to argue, not for a new form of education, but one usingdifferent methods and media to maximize the independence and self-actualization of the adultlearner at a distance. To Moore, this meant giving equal weight to learner and teacher indetermining learning goals, resources and evaluation decisions, thereby replacing the traditionalpower relationship between teacher and learner with a facilitative, responsive approach to14teaching (1977,33). Both believed students should control when, how and at what pace theylearned, and systems should encourage adaptation to individual differences among learners.Daniel and Marquis (1979), on the other hand, argued for a judicious synthesis of studentindependence and interaction with the teacher, in order to balance student needs forsocialization and integration with reinforcement of intellectual independence, and to balancethese with administrative and financial imperatives of efficiency and economies of scale.Sewart (1978; 1979; 1981) stressed continuity of concern for students through various supportservices in addition to learning packages. He deplored an over-emphasis (especially at theBritish Open University) on sophisticated, costly course packages at the expense of individualstudent needs and interests.Holmberg (1969; 1982b; 1989) emphasised a different aspect of learner independence, using amodel of guided didactic conversation to describe the simulated and real conversationsrepresented by pre—produced materials and subsequent communications. Others also have usedthe analogy of conversations (for example, Pask 1976; Northcott 1977), or Rowntree’s idea of a‘tutorial in print’ (1974). However Holmberg has more recently (1989) proposed three universalcharacteristics of distance education which he believes combine to make it a unique discipline.Communication between teacher and learner is non-contiguous; study is guided by preproduced instructional materials using various technical media; and the education involvesorganized non-contiguous two-way communication, so the student is not alone. He acceptsSparkes’ assertion (1983,181) that to achieve acceptance in the academic world as a discipline,distance education must grow in relevance to real and important problems, and in theoreticaland conceptual depth, and must develop its own conceptual structure. Holmberg somewhatwistfully concludes distance education is doing all three but there is little evidence its conceptsand data have yet been adopted by other fields of education (1989,208).15Perraton summarises neatly the attitudes of the many practitioners who do not regard distanceeducation as a unique discipline. He justifies it rather through existing educational philosophiesand communications theories, and stresses the importance of expansion and dialogue (1982a).Perraton defines education’s purpose as the “liberation of man (sic) from the restraints andlimitation of ignorance and dependency”, arguing education should be about empowerment.The case for expansion is thus an egalitarian one (1982a,374). He argues distance education canbe used to empower learners through its use of a wide range of media to teach almost anything;removal of the fixed faculty:student ratios typical of conventional education; and its potentialfor economies of scale and for reaching new and hitherto unreachable audiences. Dialoguebetween teacher and learner is important not only because it encourages learning, but because,without it, education becomes indoctrination. It is “a necessary condition of an educationrespecting the humanity of student and teacher” (Perraton 1982a,375). Distance teaching can beorganized to encourage dialogue by changing the tutor’s role from communicator of informationto facilitator of learning. This can be done by using group discussions and communityresources to support distant learners, adopting a multi-media approach to materials andteaching, organizing systematically, providing feedback, building in a variety of learningactivities, and incorporating face-to-face learning where necessary. More recently, proponentsof open learning (especially in North America) lay greater stress on the value of technologicaldelivery systems to achieve the desired expansion of educational access (e.g. Farrell & Haughey1986; Garrison & Shale 1987; Barker et al 1989).One of the most influential theorists of modern distance education has been the Germaneducator, Otto Peters (1969; 1971; 1989). Unfortunately, because his major theoreticalelaborations have not been translated, non-German speaking scholars have had to rely onPeters’ brief excursions into English, and on Keegan’s (1980; 1983) and Jevon’s (1986)summaries and interpretations of Peters’ theory. This limited access has not, however,prevented a basic form of Peters’ industrial thesis attaining near hegemonic proportions within16the field. Peters defines distance education as a unique form of education because thetraditional categories of instructional theories were designed for oral not written teaching, andbecause its industrialized nature separates it radically from conventional forms of teaching andlearning. He argues distance education is a child of the industrial revolution. Its maturation inthe late 20th century is due to the need of capital and the state for large numbers of educatedpeople, and is but a small part of an enormous pattern of social change involvingindustrialization of most facets of life.Peters likens oral teaching to a craft, a pre-industrial form of relatively small-scale instruction,which is resistant to the new technical media. He draws loosely on Weber’s strictures aboutideal bureaucracy (Weber 1968,66-77) to develop analogies of distance education and industrialproduction and to establish criteria for analysing distance education. The first isrationalization; a teacher’s knowledge and skills are “transmitted to a theoretically unlimitednumber of students by the detached objectivity of a distance education course of constantquality” (Keegan 1986,76). The labour of course development, teaching, support andadministration is divided far beyond that characteristic of the conventional classroom.Secondly, distance education is highly mechanized and automated, and is geared for massproduction. Thirdly, bureaucratic principles of organization, planning, centralization andstandardization characterise organizational behaviour and control, and accentuate trends towardsmonopolistic provision of distance education (Peters 1971; 1989; Keegan 1986,76-77).To Peters, distance education’s greatest advantages are the opportunity it provides for those whohave so far been denied education, and the “unparalleled self-confidence and self-reliance” ofsuccessful students (1989,7). In addition, he argues “industrialized society of today hasdeveloped so many needs for education that it is absurd to imagine that conventional systemscan satisfy them” (Keegan 1986,79). The disadvantage is its potential for alienation of bothteacher and student. Like Weber’s pessimistic view of ideal—bureaucracy, Peters sees this as17part of an irresistible rationalization of society. For the teacher this can occur through theobjectification of knowledge and the splitting of the teacher’s role into knowledge provider,evaluator of progress and counsellor, thereby potentially reducing the importance of theteacher-as- person:(T)he teaching which is traditionally performed subjectively in the classroom...becomesobjectified in the sense that it becomes an object which can be manipulated. It can beimproved, adapted, changed, and duplicated and lends itself to mass production (Peters1989,6).Student alienation may result from the predominantly de-personalized forms of instruction theyreceive, the loss of “the contagion of shared experience” (Peters 1989,7) or, as Stone puts it,“access to a luxuriant and exciting...subculture” (1983,5).Notwithstanding its depressing implications, the industrial model strengthened the argumentthat distance education is important and legitimate because it encourages empowerment andovercomes the limitations of traditional higher education. Distance education escapes thebondage of teacher:student ratios and spatial and psychological boundaries of the classroom. Incertain circumstances, it can achieve economies of scale and provide mass higher education atrelatively low cost. Peters’ theory was adopted with enthusiasm by the new generation ofdistance educators. It quickly became part of common lore in the field, underlying thelanguage of funding and project submissions, research, and practice. The industrial model is anattractive, commonsense way to portray the peculiar structures and processes of moderndistance education. It is less convincing (at least that much which is available in English) inarguing distance education is therefore a distinct field.The concept of distance education as different from conventional forms of education only in itstechniques enjoyed a resurgence in the late 1980s. Shale (1988) suggested an over-emphasis on‘distance’ has narrowed the field’s characteristics at the expense of the educational process18itself. Echoing Sewart’s earlier concerns (1978; 1979; 1981), Shale called for a retreat from theone-sided interaction he saw involved in mass production and teaching at a distance, andrecollection of education as an exchange of information and negotiation of meaning betweenteacher and learner. Rumble (1989) shared Shale’s concern that distance education not bedefined too rigidly, not least because the boundaries between distance education andconventional higher education are breaking down as new technologies percolate into the latterand change pedagogies.To many distance educators, myself included, the persistent debates over definitions of distanceeducation, and whether it is or should be a distinct discipline, have often seemed anunnecessary and tiresome diversion from more immediate issues of survival and prosperity in anoften antagonistic environment. Ironically, some of the most important conceptualcontributions to clarifying the definition of distance education have come from argumentsconcerned primarily with how distance education should be practised.2 Nevertheless, conceptsof distance education’s nature and uniqueness (or otherwise) have been useful in givingpractitioners a common, international language. They have nurtured an international sense ofcommunity, partly because national communities are numerically small, and partly to confounddistance education’s typically low status within higher education hierarchies. The expansion ofdistance education institutions, programs and practices, coupled with conceptual debates, havecreated an international group of institutions with something of a common ideology. This inturn has provided a reference point and set of normative criteria for those striving forlegitimacy within the distance education field (see Chapter 2). These criteria include acommitment to improving educational access; the quality of instructional design and physicalpresentation of learning materials; variety of communications media used; emphasis on studentsupport services; cost effectiveness and managerial efficiency through industrial forms oforganization; and willingness to collaborate with others.19No higher education institution is free of its environment and, whether or not distanceeducation is a distinct form of education, its legitimacy is largely determined within thebroader dimensions of institutional legitimacy outlined above. This study follows in detail theexperience of one distance education institution seeking legitimacy within an establishedprovincial hierarchy, in various areas of horizontal legitimacy, and in its relationships with thestate. The Open Learning Institute’s unconventional nature and purpose called into questionmany of the normative criteria for such legitimacy. This suggests its history may shed light oninstitutional legitimation in general, and on the impact of a rapidly growing and novel form ofeducation on established criteria for legitimacy.THE OPEN LEARNING INSTITUTE OF BRITISH COLUMBIAThe Open Learning Institute (OLI)3 was established on 1 June 1978 under the BritishColumbia Colleges and Provincial Institutes Act (1977). OLI’s mission from the state was toopen access to education to people hitherto inhibited from study by geographic, social oreconomic isolation, or by traditional admission requirements. The Minister of Education,Patrick McGeer, defined OLI’s mandate as provision of programs of study leading to a firstdegree in arts and science, and programs of study in career, technical and vocational areas, andin adult basic education. To this end OLI was to “manage needed support services; develop andacquire courses, programmes of study and learning material and distribute them by distanceeducation methods”, and was to enter into relationships with other organizations in BritishColumbia (BC) and elsewhere to do so.5 A codicil was added to the Universities Act (1979) togive OLI the power to grant baccalaureate degrees in arts or science in its own name.6OLI was a hybrid from the outset. Unlike BC’s colleges and other institutes, it had the powerto award degrees and thus enjoyed quasi-university status. Yet its legal rights and obligationswere determined by the Colleges Act, and its teaching-only mandate and ‘openness’ were more20similar to that of other colleges and institutes than to that of the BC universities. At the sametime, OLI’s mandate implied a service role unlike that of any other BC higher educationinstitution, and a commitment to inter-institutional collaboration became a fundamental part ofits institutional character. The strategies OLI’s leaders adopted made it unusual in other waystoo. Its structure resembled no other higher education institution in BC or indeed in Canada.7OLI employed no full-time academic staff; its personnel were professional educators, technicalspecialists and support staff who were educational brokers, arbiters of curriculum andpedagogy, and educational policy makers. OLI’s structure and operations came to rely on formsof organization more analogous to industry than to traditional education, and on extensive useof computer-based technologies.In other ways, OLI’s experience resembled any other new higher education institution in itsearly years. Senior administrators were preoccupied with creating structures and systems,setting standards and operating styles, and developing relationships with external groups andindividuals. In short, they were concerned with survival and prosperity, and with justificationof OLI’s claims to pre-eminence in BC as the provider of distance education opportunities. Itis the combination of OLI’s uniqueness and commonality which makes it a useful example for astudy of institutional legitimacy. OLI’s uniqueness illuminates the peculiar issues facing adistance education institution seeking legitimacy, while its commonality grounds OLI’sexperience in the familiar.The primary question addressed in this study is how a new publicly-funded distance educationinstitution acquires legitimacy. The above discussions of institutional legitimacy and the natureof distance education suggests subsidiary questions in relation to OLI, including:21* How did OLI’s leaders go about securing the Institute’s survival and prosperity?* How did OLI’s definition and practice of distance education relate to traditionalindicators of institutional legitimacy in the BC context?* How did OLI’s definition and practice of distance education relate to emergingindicators of legitimacy in the distance education field?NATURE AND METHODOLOGY OF THE STUDYHistorical studies of Canadian higher education have typically examined four aspects ofinstitutional life and policy: intellectual, administrative and community themes, and externalrelationships. Like its school education counterpart (see Wilson 1980; 1987), the historiographyhas moved from whiggish, antiquarian, celebrationist history to contextual, interpretive analysisdrawing on contemporary social theories (Axeirod 1982b; Reid 1984b; Sheehan 1985). Till theearly 1970s, Canadian university histories tended to be hagiographic and broadly descriptivestudies with little substantial thematic presentation or analysis.8 Since then, the morecompelling institutional histories have developed particular themes such as denominationalinfluences on curriculum and institutional development (for example, Johnston 1976; Reid1984a), the relationship between the institution and the state ( for example, Axelrod 1982a;Hayden 1983), the development of professional and graduate programs and research (forexample, Johnston 1976; Gibson 1983), and the social backgrounds of students (for example,Reid 1984a; Axeirod & Reid 1989).Most of the major themes typical of the Canadian historiography are included in this studybecause of their impact on institutional legitimacy. The study explores OLI’s intellectualhistory, meaning changes in, and influences on its curriculum and ways of understanding theforms of education OLI espoused. It follows the emergence of governing and administrativestructures influencing and reflecting OLI’s intellectual life and changing personnel. More22limited attention is paid to OLI’s internal community life and the nature of the student body.All three strands are tied together by an over-arching concern with OLI’s external relationshipsthrough which the Institute sought credibility and prestige. Emphasis is laid on OLI’s dealingswith government and bureaucracy, and with the BC colleges and universities. OLI’srelationships with others in the distance education field were also of significance, especially forits legitimacy within that field.However, the OLI study is unlike most Canadian institutional history in four respects. First,none has been primarily concerned with institutional legitimation as such, although several havedealt effectively with the early years (for example, Johntson 1976; Neatby 1978; Hayden 1983;Reid 1984a). Second, although two excellent studies have examined institutional relationshipswith the state (Axeirod l982a; Hayden 1983), and several have considered, with more or lesssuccess, ‘their’ institution’s relationships with one or more other universities (for example,Morton 1957; Bedford 1976; Hayden 1983; Reid l984a), none has yet considered in detail therelationship of a particular institution to the rest of its provincial higher education system.Third, comprehensive Canadian institutional histories rarely examine an institution so recentlyestablished; indeed, few have ventured beyond the 1970s in their analysis (cf Hayden 1983).This may be due to historians’ reluctance hitherto to enter contemporary policy debates. Silver(1990) argues, however, that policy studies are much the poorer for lack of scholarly historicalanalysis. Finally, OLI’s unconventional nature and purpose mean that many of the usualhistorical features of university topography do not appear, or do so in different form.I recognise the significance of OLI’s clientele in its historical development and in itslegitimation. However, a comprehensive analysis of students’ relations with OLI wasimpractical here. OLI maintained data on student profiles, admissions and academic progressthroughout its history. Periodic summaries, on which this study draws, were produced forBoard and government statistical purposes. The raw data are rich but would require extensive23processing and manipulation to extract the gold. Occasional surveys of OLI students elicitedtheir views on specific issues, but no in-depth ethnographic analysis has been published of OLIstudent characteristics, views and culture as distance education students. A quantitative andqualitative study of this kind would make a valuable companion study to the present one. Alongitudinal, prosopographical study requires more time to elapse. In the meantime, this studydraws on the available statistics and reports in the OLA Archives, which OLI policy makersused in their planning and decision making.I reluctantly examined only superficially another aspect of OLI’s history. Institutional statusdepends, in some measure, on perceptions of what it is like to work or study in theorganization - that is, on the culture, character and ineffable sense of community whichengenders loyalty and a sense of belonging (and their opposites). Histories of older Canadianinstitutions use documentary evidence of social, cultural and sporting activities to illuminateorganizational culture. In OLI’s case, the conventional trappings of a campus, social andsporting facilities and, above all, gatherings of students and faculty, were absent. The obviousalternative, an extensive ethnographic study, was beyond the scope of this study. Such researchwould also be a valuable companion to this study, helping illuminate how OLI’s meaning andpurpose were defined and interpreted inside the Institute.The methodology used here combines traditional literary historical techniques with interviewswith key figures in OLI and BC higher education during the period. Most of the documentaryevidence used was drawn from OLI’s archives, now held by the Open Learning Agency. Thedata were rich, comprising papers of OLI’s Board and various standing, advisory and ad hoccommittees; correspondence with members of government, higher education and otherorganizations; and the working papers of OLI personnel - the three Principals, Dean ofAcademic Affairs, and sundry senior staff. Although cited as the ‘OLA Archives’ throughoutthis study, the files had not been sorted, labelled or professionally archived when data were24gathered. This made the task of citation somewhat lengthy and often complicated. I created,perforce, archival—type series, and catalogued the files held in the OLA Archives. Thiscatalogue is now in the OLA Library, for future reference purposes; citation details areelucidated in Appendix 4.I found other documentary evidence in archives of Simon Fraser University, the University ofBritish Columbia and Athabasca University, in various newspapers and the BC GovernmentHansard, as well as in journal articles and other publications of OLI staff, educators andacademics in other British Columbian institutions, and other secondary material. I examinedcollections of distance education literature at four major centres: OLA and AthabascaUniversity in Canada, Deakin University in Australia, and the International Centre for DistanceLearning at the British Open University.The literary evidence was supplemented by extensive interviews with the three Principals ofOLI, the Chair of its Board for the first seven years, OLI’s two Deans and two other seniorstaff, senior university and college officers with extensive knowledge of OLI and its externalrelationships, Ministry officials concerned with system planning and coordination, and the twokey political figures in OLI’s history. Several other interviews were also conducted with adulteducators at UBC and with a senior instructional designer at Athabasca University. Appendix 3lists respondents and their affiliations.9 The interviews were taped, transcribed and checked byrespondents for inaccuracies or sensitive material. An open-ended, relatively unstructuredapproach was taken to the the interviews to allow respondents maximum flexibility to commenton issues and draw inferences without undue influence by the author as interviewer. Thecontent of each interview varied, so few questions were standardized.Oral testimony, like written documents, can present problems of reliability and validity due tofaulty memory, personal bias and ego, and intrusion of motives and agendas outside the brief25of the interview (see Dunaway & Baum 1984; Hay 1986; Thompson 1988). In this study, minorinaccuracies could usually be compensated for by reference to documentary material. Therewas, inevitably, some post facto rationalization or modification of responses, requiring cautiousinterpretation. However, I found the interviews a very useful source of information andopinion not otherwise available, and a valuable means of triangulating written evidence. TheAustralian historian, Ailsa Zainu’ddin, writes in another context of “the positive commitmentwhich is part of the celebration of the past but needs to be distinguished from the writing ofcelebratory history; (and) the double vision of the historian who is in any sense a participantobserver’t (1990,743). I have been conscious of this commitment and vision while researchingOLI’s history. I chose to study OLI not least because I already had some knowledge of theInstitute and its personnel. In the course of professional dealings with the Institute during the1980s, I was struck by OLI’s interesting organizational structure and distance education systems,and willingness to collaborate with others. As I researched OLT’s history, of course, I realisedhow little I had actually known from the outside, but that did not diminish my sense that itspast was worth celebrating. At the same time, I recognised the dangers of a hagiographicadministrative history. The contextual, interpretive, critical approach of social history offers asatisfying alternative.I have also been a participant observer of OLI’s history in the sense that I was intimatelyinvolved in the creation of an Australian university which teaches predominantly at a distance(Deakin University), and detected many parallels between OLI’s experience and my own. Farfrom distorting my sense of OLI’s history, I found the comparisons invaluable in sharpening myunderstanding of circumstance and motive in a different environment. It is the historian’sresponsibility to assess evidence as objectively as possible but truth is not absolute. Life, andhistory, would be dull if it were so.26SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDYGrowth rates in distance education worldwide show no signs of slackening; indeed, formal andinformal distance education programs will likely become increasingly important elements ofnational educational strategies in many countries (Briggs et al 1987; Daniel 1988; Timmers1988). If, as this study contends, distance education introduces new normative criteria intoinstitutional legitimacy, an understanding of these criteria and their impact will be beneficial topolicy makers and researchers alike. Many in higher education still regard distance educationwith suspicion and even distaste, and distance educators will have to find ways to overcomethose perceptions if distance education is to achieve lasting and superior status in highereducation hierarchies. One part of that search is understanding the nature of institutionallegitimacy and distance education’s impact on it.The history and politics of distance education have so far drawn very little interest fromEnglish-language scholars. Several studies have been published on Athabasca University’sorigins (Hughes 1980; Runte 1981; Byrne 1989) but none is a comprehensive or compellinginstitutional history. Perry’s memoir (1977) of the British Open University’s early years standsout among the many more specific studies of BOU policy and practice. Numerous ‘in-mycountry’ case studies have emerged, but they are typically a-historical and descriptive ratherthan analytical. Distance education policy makers have devoted more time to creating theirinstitutions than to analysing how and why they developed policy as they did, and what werethe outcomes. The stage has now been reached where such reflection is possible and, indeed,urgent. Historical policy studies of major distance education institutions are likely to helpdistance educators and other policy makers comprehend the significance of these organizationsin their higher education systems. This is especially important in western nations like Canadawhere the trend is towards greater government interference in institutional affairs, and distanceeducation’s vulnerabilities are becoming increasingly apparent.27Thirdly, I hope this study will add something new to the small, but growing genre of socialhistory of Canadian higher education. Canadian higher education historians have not so farexamined in any extensive way the phenomenon of distance education. Nor have they dealtsubstantively with very recent Canadian higher education history. Finally, this study respondsto Silver’s call (1990) for greater interest by historians in policy analysis in the expectation thathistorians’ concern with the complexities of stability and change can contribute to the analysisof intentions, process and outcomes.OUTLINE OF THE STUDYChapter Two examines aspects of two major contexts in which OLI functioned: the postwarhistory of Canadian higher education, and changes in the field of distance education over thelast 25 years. In the former case, I argue postwar expansion was broadly driven by theideology of education as a valuable investment in human capital, and by pressures to reducesocial inequalities by improving educational access. Changes in the structures, systems andtechnologies of distance education have made it attractive to funding agencies and strengthenedits claims to legitimacy. Chapter Three pursues these themes in the context of BritishColumbia, where the higher education system changed in significant ways from the 1960s.These chapters set the scene for analysis in Chapter Four of the events leading to OLI’screation in 1978. I argue the Minister of Education and his Deputy sought to complete thehigher education system in BC by catering more effectively for the needs of non-metropolitanadults. Of the various options open to them, they chose to create a new Institute, a hybridorganization fitting easily into neither sector of higher education, and roused considerable irefrom the system.Chapters Five and Six examine OLI’s first two years of operation, from 1978-1980, as theInstitute’s leaders enunciated their basic principles, established structures, policies and systems,28and developed a range of programs, under the guiding eye of the first Principal. Chapter Fivefocusses on the establishment of the institution itself; Chapter Six follows the creation of fourcurriculum areas, and initial relationships with the state, and other universities and colleges.The economic and political climate in BC changed significantly in the 1980s, as the governmentintroduced a Restraint policy profoundly affecting the autonomy, shape and policies of highereducation institutions. Chapter Seven outlines briefly some of the salient features andconsequences of that policy as they related to OLI’s legitimacy and growth. Chapters Eight andNine examine OLI’s history from 1980-88, first from an internal perspective, and then inrelation to other institutions and the state. Thus Chapter Eight considers the impact of theRestraint policy on OLI’s growth, and traces curriculum development and experience withOLI’s distance education systems. Inside OLI, the 1980s was a period of consolidation,systematization and affirmation of what the Institute meant by ‘distance education’. ChapterNine examines briefly the nature of OLI’s student body and their reactions to the Institute,before considering OLI’s burgeoning relationships with others in the distance education field,and patterns of inter-institutional collaboration developed in the 1980s. This leads into anoutline of the establishment and development of the Knowledge Network, and analysis ofmoves to extend OLI’s provincial role in distance education, culminating in amalgamation ofthe two organizations in 1988.Chapter Ten draws conclusions about how OLI’s leaders pursued the Institute’s survival andprosperity, and its location within BC’s higher education hierarchy. Conclusions are also drawnabout the relationship of OLI’s definition and practice of distance education to traditionalindicators of institutional legitimacy in BC, and the impact of the state on OLI’s legitimacy.Finally, I discuss the impact of the modern form of distance education on the three dimensionsof institutional legitimacy, and suggest areas for further research.NOTES TO CHAPTER 1 29See Appendix 4 for abbreviations.1 On Athabasca University, first created in a somewhat different form in 1970, seeHughes (1980), Runte (1981); Byrne (1989); on the Tele-Universite de Quebec,established in 1972, see Daniel & Smith (1979), Guillemet et al (1986); for briefaccounts of the Open Learning Institute of British Columbia, see Ellis & Mugridge(1983), Mugridge (1986).2 Hilary Perraton, pers. comm. with author, 25 July 1991. Also see context in whichother theorists write - e.g. Sewart (1978; 1979; 1981); Keegan (1980a; 1986); Daniel &Marquis (1979); Rumble (1986; 1989).3 The study uses OLI’s own nomenclature. Alan Dawe persuaded his OLI colleagues toadopt two descriptors: ‘OLI’, with no preposition or full stops, and ‘the Institute’. Thiscopied UBC custom. The organisation was familiarly called ‘Oley’.4 Hereafter cited as the Colleges Act.5 Amplification and interpretation of “a Statement of Mission” for the Open LearningInstitute as provided by Dr. Patrick L. McGeer, Minister for Education [Bd: 12 Jan 1979].6 Open Learning Institute. Annual Report 1978-1979.7 There are still relatively few multi-level distance education institutions, though manyopen universities in developing countries offer what industrialized nations wouldconsider technical or vocational education. One example is the CNED, Centre Nationald’Enseignement a Distance, in Paris which enrols some 250,000 students in courses fromelementary school to postgraduate qualifications.8 One example close to this study is Logan’s 1958 history of UBC. Another, more recentwork is Byrne’s 1989 study of Athabasca University.9 Most respondents have agreed to placement of their interview transcripts in the OLALibrary, and have determined the conditions under which it may be used by otherscholars.30CHAPTER 2: THE CONTEXT - CANADIAN HIGHER EDUCATION. AND DISTANCEEDUCATIONThe Open Learning Institute was one of many distance education organizations created duringthe 1970s, as a result of pressures to increase access for adults to post-secondary education.The Institute’s roots are to be found in the postwar history of Canadian higher education and inchanges in the field of distance education over the last 25 years. The following discussionrefers primarily to higher education in Canada’s English-speaking institutions.LEGITIMACY AND CANADIAN HIGHER EDUCATIONOne way to understand the vertical and horizontal dimensions of legitimacy in Canadian highereducation is to examine how knowledge has been stratified, where people and institutions areallocated in the knowledge structures, and how these processes of stratification and allocationare legitimated by relevant interest groups (Young 1971a,b; Bernstein 1971). The panorama ofintellectual preoccupations and priorities has been complicated by a massive growth in highereducation since 1950, and increasing involvement of governments in higher education affairssince the late 1960s. Two complementary but sometimes conflicting ideologies have drivenmuch of the expansion, and encouraged stratification. One views higher education as aninvestment in human capital, the other sees it as a route to greater social equality.Growth in Higher EducationThe most obvious topological change in Canadian higher education since 1950 has been themassive and comprehensive growth in institutions, curriculum, enrolments and funding. In1945 there were 27 universities; in 1969 there were 47, and by the mid 1980s there were 65(Sheffield 1970; Anisef et al 1985). A large, new public sector of community colleges andinstitutes was created in every province and, by 1986, it included 177 publicly funded31institutions (Dennison & Gallagher, 1986,284_88).1 Fragmentation of traditional disciplines intonew specializations, which had begun in the late 19th century, accelerated after the SecondWorld War (Harris 1976). A bewildering variety of credentials transformed the curriculum intoa multi-layered conglomeration. Graduate programs remained firmly in university hands (notall of which were allowed to offer doctorates). Degrees were primarily a universityresponsibility but in most provinces, colleges were allowed to offer academic transfer programsat lower baccalaureate levels. College diplomas and certificates covered an enormous array ofsemi-professional, technical, trades, and pre-vocational education, in answer to corporate andpublic pressure for credentialled skills (Dennison & Gallagher 1986).In 1944-45, Canadian universities enrolled 40,000 full-time undergraduates. By 1962-63 thefigure was 197,000; in 1984-85 it was 462,000.2 Part-time university enrolments alsoincreased dramatically from 39,000 to 171,000 between 1962-63 and 1977-78, and to 283,000by 1984-85. Full-time graduate numbers quadrupled in the 1960s, to 30,200 by 1969-70(StatsCan 1979,35); part-time graduate numbers rose from 5,400 in 1962-63 to 28,200 by 1977-78 (StatsCan 1979,41). College enrolments are less easy to enumerate but growth has apparentlybeen no less substantial. Dennison and Gallagher (1986,293) complain about the “relativelyprimitive national data base on non-university post-secondary institutions” until 1985. Theyreport some full-time enrolment data but note statistics of part—time students and non-credential students were not compiled nationally until very recently. Sheffield (1970,424)indicates there were about 3,000 students enrolled full-time in 1952-53 in a small number oftechnical institutes. By 1959-60, that enrolment had increased only to 8,300 in 27 institutes,but jumped under the impetus of the federal Technical and Vocational Training Assistance Act(1960) to about 20,000 in 1964-65. College and institute enrolments burgeoned from that point.Dennison and Gallagher (1986,294-95) indicate an increase in full-time career and universitytransfer enrolments from 226,000 in 1976 to 295,600 in 1982, and a further 182,600 enrolled infull-time trades, vocational and pre-vocational programs in 1982-83. The Macdonald Royal32Commission (1985,743) estimated the proportion of part-time enrolments in universities andcolleges combined rose from 23.7% in 1962-63 to 37.6% in 1985.Growth has been sustained and extensive, but diverse. Some of the diversity is due to thedifferent historical and cultural character of each Canadian province. In addition, provincialcollege systems, the length of undergraduate university programs, and availability of particularprograms all affect provincial participation rates. School retention rates, which vary markedlyamong the provinces, have also affected access. Part-time participation has also variedconsiderably. For example, in the mid-1980s, 51.5% of undergraduate students in Quebec werepart-time, compared with 25.9% in Alberta (Anisef et al 1985,29). In addition, growth rateshave risen and fallen in company with provincial economic circumstances. Nationally, theannual rate of increase in higher education was 4.5% in the early 1970s. It slowed later in thedecade, picked up again as the 1980s began, and then declined in the severe recession (Anisefet al 1985,26).Some of the reasons for this massive growth have their roots in the inter-war period andearlier: for example, emergence of the welfare state (Finkel 1977); professionalization of manytypes of occupation as industrialization and international competitition took hold (Axelrod1982a); and the beginnings of state support for research (Gingras 1989). Canada’s demographiccharacter changed dramatically after the war through immigration, a sharp increase in thebirthrate, and rapid urbanisation. Sheffield (1970) notes the population increased from 12 to 20million between 1945-69. In addition, the expansion into mass secondary education produced avastly enlarged pool of potential entrants to higher education among the ‘baby boomers’.Postwar prosperity brought a greater demand for a larger, more skilled workforce, and theentry of many more women into the workforce. Increasing American investment in Canada,coupled with a growing acceptance by Canadian business people of the ideology of corporateinternationalism, added to the pressure for more higher education (Johnson 1980). The Soviets’33Sputnik successes in the 1950s spurred greater government commitment to science andtechnology for political as well as economic reasons. The magnitude of Sheffield’s estimates ofcoming demand for university places shocked the university community and governments in1955 but, as he later noted, they were significant under—estimates (Sheffield 1970,420).In Canada, constitutional power over education rests with the provinces, though highereducation is now largely funded by the federal government. The federal government begancautiously to allocate funds from 1912 (see Stager 1972a; Gingras 1989), but funding remaineda denominational or provincial concern till the Second War, when university research andteaching contributed importantly to the war effort (see Johnston 1976; Axelrod 1982a; Gibson1983). In 1951 the federal government began making direct per capita grants to the universities(Massey 1951). The total amounts involved rose rapidly thereafter. Bladen reports that total(federal and provincial) expenditure on universities and colleges was $88 million in 1954-55,rising to $352 million in 1962-63 (Bladen 1965,23). He projected an increase to $1,844 millionby 1975-76, but in fact $3,165 million were allocated to higher education in 1974-75 (StatsCan1979,table 6). Higher education had become a major enterprise, and took a significantproportion of provincial budgets.In 1967, following provincial pressure, federal funds were channelled to universities via theprovincial treasuries. The Established Programs Financing Act (1977, amended 1984) providesfederal monies for higher education and public health. By 1985 the federal government wastransferring $4.2 billion annually to the provinces for higher education, representingapproximately 80% of the total operating grants received by universities and colleges (Johnson1985; Decore & Pannu 1986). The EPF terms have never bound provincial governments tospend the money on post-secondary education and all provinces have taken advantage of theloophole to vire money elsewhere at various times (Johnson 1985,vi).5 Despite this huge overallgrowth, education spending relative to GDP, and relative to net government expenditures, has34decreased throughout Canada since 1970-7 1, in the wake of economic downturns and moreconservative policies on accessibility (Decore & Pannu 1986).Stratification of Knowledge and Allocation of StatusPostwar Canadian higher education has carried the dual legacy of the ‘enlightenment’ andutilitarian models of higher education. The enlightenment model (Runte 1981) is encapsulatedin Newman’s and John Stuart Mill’s views that learning is intrinsically valuable and theuniversity’s purpose is to develop capable and cultivated human beings (Newman 1852; Mill1867). The utilitarian model views education as having a purpose beyond learning for its ownsake. The university is expected to develop the professional character of its students andthereby produce the cultural, intellectual and ruling elites (Runte 1981,15). The persistentliberal/vocational debate gives contemporary voice to this legacy, though discussion is morelikely nowadays to turn on acceptable degrees of relevance of education to occupational purposeand corporate interests. Vocationalism has become a central concept in institutional and statepolicy-making, affecting the structure of higher education and status accorded to areas of thecurriculum (Silver & Brennan 1988,16).Nineteenth century Anglo-Canadian universities catered for the small number of young menwho had obtained secondary education and could afford to attend university. They received aclassic liberal education in a small number of broad disciplines including, from the turn of thecentury, literature, languages, physics and chemistry (Harris 1976). Reid reports that Scottishuniversity values of the ‘democratic intellect’ imported in the 19th century by the fledglingMaritime universities had been virtually replaced by the l920s in the face of socio-economicchanges and doubts of the ability of a general education to “meet the perceived need of societyas a whole for expansion and renewal of the professional elite” (1989,292). In the inter-waryears, public and institutional priority went increasingly to applied and social science subjects,and to new, professional faculties. World War Two encouraged a highly instrumentalist attitude35towards higher education and further diminution in the market value of liberal arts (Axeirod1982a; Johnston 1976). By 1951, Canadian humanities and liberal arts were in a parlous state ofneglect (Massey 1951). They recovered amidst the general expansion of higher education fromthe late 1950s, but have never regained their 19th century pre-eminence (Bissell 1974; Johnston1976; Gibson 1983; Reid 1984a).A classic liberal education was well-suited to leaders in a world of steam navigation,gunpowder and manuscript” (Halsey 1961a,458), but not to specialized, mechanized, industrialand urban 20th century society. Silver (1980) points to the middle classes’ preoccupation with‘useful’ knowledge in 19th century Britain as they sought social, political and economic power.Since they were trying to wrest power from the upper classes by adopting and adapting thelatter’s culture, the middle classes and the new universities co-opted classical education as well.Silver sees this as a deliberate identification of culture and knowledge with power. He andBrennan (1988) argue, with Bledstein (1976), that in the 20th century ‘useful’ knowledge hasbeen stratified into expert knowledge at various levels of professional status, and that a new‘liberal vocationalism’ has been the result. Bledstein (1976) also contends the growth, structureand emphases of the modern American university have been shaped by a culture ofprofessionalism created by the emerging middle classes from the 1840s to satisfy theiraspirations for upward mobility through a career.In a compelling study with many Canadian parallels, Perkin (1989) argues 20th century Britishsociety has been dominated by professionals whose ideology of trained expertise, equality ofopportunity, selection by merit and guarantee of reward has become a widely shared socialideal for personal aspiration and social organization. This social ideal is justified, in part, bysocial efficiency and avoidance of waste, especially of human talent. It is expressed in practicalterms by, inter alia, the expansion of postsecondary education and by the welfare state.Wealth, power and status still come more easily to certain groups than others, though the ideals,36independence and security of reward based on merit and training now permeate all levels,groups and occupations. To Perkin it is not a traditional class society in which a small eliteexploits a large proletariat, but “a collection of parallel hierarchies of unequal height, each withits own ladder of many rungs” (1989,9). The multiplicity of rival career hierarchies hasfragmented society into competing elites in which a single dominant elite is hard to find,though Perkin observes a broad distinction between professions directed towards public serviceand those aimed at corporate profit. In such a social structure, knowledge is stratifiedaccording to ideals of service and profit, and their relative rewards. Stratification is overtlyexpressed in hierarchies of credentials. The ‘credential inflation’ of which Collins cogentlywrites (1979) is a forceful indicator of the determination of existing and aspirant elites tolegitimate their professional status.Trends towards a professional social ideal and proliferation of credentials have been abundantlyevident in contemporary Canadian higher education. The urgency and potency of middle classaspirations gathered full force after the Second World War (Pike 1981; Axelrod 1982a; Guppy1984; Curtis et al 1988). Professional and quasi-professional education and training assumedgreat significance in university priorities, and became the raison d’etre of college education.University historians record deepening post-war preoccupations with expansion of science,medical and education faculties. New faculties of applied science, engineering, health andbusiness were created, and older, broadly based disciplines such as political economy were subdivided into new specialisms such as sociology, politics, economics and geography (Johnston1976; Gibson 1983; Hayden 1983). Only rarely did a university opt instead to concentrate onexcellence as a small liberal arts institution in the American tradition (see Reid 1984a on Mt.Allison University). Diversification and professionalization had an important side-effect ofsimultaneously complicating and loosening internal institutional alliances, and strengtheningindividuals’ commitments to outside members of the profession or discipline.37One way English-speaking Canadian universities have strengthened their prestige has been tomonopolize the more prestigious professional credentials. Emphasis on graduate programs andresearch has been another. Clark (1978), Bok (1986) and Silver (1980) have noted the shift ofacademics’ roles in the USA away from teaching undergraduate courses because of pressures toearn a reputation and promotion through research and publications, and to reinforce theirstature through graduate teaching. In Canada, interest in scientific research was spurred byrealization in the 1914-18 war of Canada’s dependence on British and European technologiesand finished products (Ross 1975). Funds for research and graduate students began to trickleinto the universities through the National Research Council, established in 1916 (Gingras 1989).The 1939-45 war intensified these developments, creating a ‘cult of science’ as universityresearch supported the war effort and contributed directly to the domestic economy (Johnston1976; Axelrod 1982a; Gibson 1983). Graduate studies and research have steadily acquiredsupremacy in Canadian universities since the 1950s, especially in professional, science andtechnology areas. The federal government has ensured its interests are served directly bycreating national councils to allocate resources for research and graduate student support.Legally, Canada has no national higher education system, but the federal research councils andthe multiplicity of national associations of disciplines and professions have helped reinforceinformal national hierarchies of universities and disciplinary ‘operating units’ (Clark 1978).Relative success in competition for research grants and graduate student support has become ahallmark of prestige for institutions, departments, and individuals. There are other indicators,too, that Canadian universities form loose national pyramidal structures and are linked byparallel networks of disciplinary and other prestige. In the 19th century, Canada’s Englishspeaking universities looked largely to British and American models and standards (Morton1957; Johnston 1976; Neatby 1978; Hayden 1983; Reid 1984a). In the 20th century, the old tieshave been transmuted into a cosmopolitan outlook based on global traffic of ideas and people.38In contrast, college identity and prestige has been closely associated with an alternativeideology, a ‘vocational ideal’ with a strongly local bias. In an important analysis ofcredentialism and contemporary preoccupation with ‘useful’ knowledge, Collins arguesthe value of any particular kind and level of education (has come)... to depend less andless on any specific content that might have been learned in it, and more and moreupon the sheer fact of having attained a given level acquired the formal credential thatallowed one to enter the next level (1979,93).Educational credentials permeate the occupational structure, and are reflected in hierarchies ofknowledge within higher education institutions. The more scarce and valuable a credential andthe profession to which it is attached, the more prestige tends to accrue to the institution. Thisobservation helps explain postwar proliferation of higher level degrees. It is less helpful inexplaining why Canadian colleges have not, on the whole, sought to expand their credentialpowers into degrees. Some new postwar universities incorporated pre-existing colleges orteacher training institutes (for example, Universities of Brandon, Guelph and Victoria).However, modern community colleges rarely lobbied for higher credential power till veryrecently. The 1990 creation of university colleges in BC is one example. The reason lies in thenature of community college culture and its vocational ideal.In a comprehensive study of Canada’s community colleges, Dennison and Gallagher recordcolleges’ initial transplantation of university structures and rituals, commenting: “In all but whatthey taught and how they taught, they were more imitative than innovative” (1986,144). I willargue OLI’s founders also incorporated university norms into the Institute’s policies and practicefrom the outset. Dennison and Gallagher (see also Beinder 1986) argue, however, that thecollege movement has subsequently developed a unique culture, most of whose keycharacteristics were also evident in OLI. College legitimacy is dependent on conformity andcontribution to this culture, though Dennison and Gallagher observe a tendency for colleges andothers “to evaluate these institutions on bases appropriate to other kinds of institutions”,39especially universities (1986,157). They argue this culture has several distinctive components(1986,144ff). One is the colleges’ public accountability based on their service role, in contrastwith universities which historically have also had a role as social critic. A key element ofaccountability is the necessity continually to justify one’s existence. Secondly, collegeorientation to local or provincial interests encourages them to ignore extra-provincial concernsand concentrate on comprehensive provision for their immediate clientele. It may alsoencourage inter-institutional cooperation, though competition was as much the order of the day.A third, universal feature of college culture is their emphasis on approachability by all citizens,regardless of previous educational experience or social background. Dennison and Gallagher seethe colleges’ open admissions policies as a major strength, but note college faculty fears thataccessibility means inferiority, on the grounds thatIf their institution is truly accessible to all adults,.. .it loses the ability to controlprogramme quality; programmes will only be as strong as the students admitted to them.Unless there are moderately rigorous admissions standards,...programme quality andinstitutional reputation will suffer (1986,147).Students’ heterogeneous backgrounds and interests affected two other characteristic componentsof Canada’s colleges: the comprehensiveness of their curricula, and their orientation towardsadults’ needs. In both cases, college orientations have been shaped by corporate and politicalneeds of Canada’s economy as well as personal aspirations for career and social mobility. Adultbasic education and second language training were high priorities from the late l960s,occupationally-oriented education from the late l970s. In several provinces, and especially BC,two-year general education programs linked to university degrees became substantial features ofcollege curricula.Dennison and Gallagher argue traditional features of status, such as alumni loyalty and campusatmosphere, are of questionable application to legitimacy in the college systems:40“School spirit” is.. .ephemeral when many students have multiple preoccupations beyondthe college,...and when many students are simply at an age when proclaimed institutionalidentification is no longer a strong personal need... .The general atmosphere of thecampus of a college. ..is simply different from that of more traditional, moreconventional post-secondary institutions (1986,148).They further suggest status symbols such as large size and sophisticated facilities, while relevantto environments demanding economies of scale, are unnecessary to labour-intensive collegesemphasizing individual needs of learners. Although this aspect of their argument has itsattractions, it accords ill with state demands in the 1980s for higher productivity, costeffectiveness, and expanded enrolments (see Chapters 7-9). Colleges’ criteria for horizontallegitimacy include some traditional indicators set by the universities, but their main focus iselsewhere. The predominant image of Canada’s colleges is of open, comprehensive,heterogeneous teaching-only institutions with local horizons.Legitimation of Stratification and AllocationAs noted earlier, postwar policies supporting expansion of Canadian higher education werejustified on two sometimes contradictory grounds (Anisef et al 1985). First was a widespreadbelief that higher education was a key to economic productivity and material prosperity.Second was an equally pervasive belief that higher education offered an important route togreater social equity. Both implied mass, not elite higher education, but collided over highereducation’s role as gatekeeper to knowledge and credentials. As Perkin puts it:Postindustrial society... demands contradictory goals from the university. On the onehand, modern society needs an elite of highly trained specialists, bureaucrats,technocrats, scientists, engineers, communications experts, and so on. On the otherhand, it faces a demand for mass higher education partly because the expanding servicesector cannot be wholly met from the children of the traditional privileged classes,partly because the talents required by the new elites are widely dispersed throughoutsociety, but mainly because a knowledge-based society and science-based industries andservices require a far wider dissemination of training and skill than in any previous age(1984,45).41Marchak argues Canadian politics are based on liberal premises, regardless of changes ingovernments over time (1988,23). This liberal ideology supports the idea of a state whosefunction is to reflect and serve the general will or common good, partly by helping individualcitizens develop their talents and abilities so that they may compete fairly for scarce resources.In terms of higher education, this implies removing external barriers to access, such aseconomic background or geographic location. Thereafter it is more or less up to the individual(Anisef et al 1985,10). This view was reinforced in the 1950s and 1960s by the near-universalpopularity of human capital theory. According to this theory, investment in higher educationhas sound economic returns for both the individual and society, and fosters economic growthby encouraging technological innovation and increasing labour productivity (Schultz 1961;Bladen 1965). The human capital model implied exclusion of a particular class or grouprepresented economic waste and under-investment in a potent resource. With growing emphasison university credentials, barriers to higher education meant barriers to social mobility andpersonal prosperity. Equal opportunity in education became both a moral and an economicimperative (Runte 1981,28).Critiques of the human capital model appeared in the early 1970s, questioning the interconnections of higher education, earning capacity and improved productivity, or arguing highereducation was not a successful antidote to poverty and discrimination (Karabel & Halsey1977,308; Runte 1981,21; Silver 1983,257ff). Others argued more expenditure on educationwould not necessarily improve quality of education (for example, Wilkinson 1986). There weresuggestions the limits of expansion had been reached as costs spiralled and graduateunderemployment and unemployment rose. Some claimed earlier Canadian human capitalstudies were methodologically faulty and over-estimated the rates of return to the individual(for example, Hettich 1971; Dodge 1972; Stager 1972b). Such doubts helped justify reductionsin the growth rate of higher education funding in the 1970s. They did not defeat the basicpremise. Instead, a new version appeared, granting investment potential only to those programs42deemed by the state to demonstrate direct application to labour force demand (Runte 1981,25).The 1980s educational crisis was no longer a matter of liberal responses to social pressure foreconomic expansion, but a reaction to declining economic competitiveness. Moreover, ‘therhetoric...moved from wider access and support for those who were failing in the system, tooverall quality and the boosting of, particularly, the scientific and technological base” (Silver1990, 14).While postwar Canadian economies flourished, a broad social concensus existed that highereducation was an important way to accommodate rising social aspirations and improve theeconomic prospects of disadvantaged social, cultural and regional groups (Anisef et al 1985). Inthe less prosperous 1970s, and even more in the l980s, the emphasis on access was increasinglychallenged by liberal and neo-conservative groups. Graduate unemployment andunderemployment, coupled with spiralling costs, fuelled liberal opposition to further expansion.Others equated accessibility with loss of quality (Anisef et al 1985,3), typically without closeexamination of differential circumstances of students on entry. In the 1980s, reportscommissioned by a neo-conservative federal government concluded mass higher education hadbeen largely achieved in the main, accessibility was no longer a significant problem, andrenewed attention should be devoted to quality in research and centres of excellence (Johnson1985; Macdonald 1985; Can. Sen. Stdg. C’tee on Nat. Fin. 1987).Studies of access have focussed mainly on young people’s participation in higher education (orlack of it). OLI’s adult clients were those people, some years later. Accessibility hasundoubtedly improved in some respects since 1960. Then, the national participation rate of 18-24 year olds (the most common index of accessibility) was only 13.5% (Pike 1980). By 1984-85it was 23.7% (Gilbert & Guppy 1988,163). In broad terms, gender imbalances have reduced.The social heterogeneity of college students’ backgrounds suggests colleges have been successfuldemocratizing agents (Dennison 1981; Guppy 1984; Dennison & Gallagher 1986). Yet critics of43access policies have produced abundant longitudinal evidence that post-war Canadianuniversities have been places of privilege for school-leavers from the professional classes(Porter 1965; Porter et al 1973; Pike 1980; Guppy 1984; Mehmet 1979; Anisef et al 1985;Guppy et al, 1988). Aspirations to a full-time university education have been constrained bylower socio-economic status, gender, geographical location, and the effects of these onsecondary schooling. Far fewer rural youth attend university than do their city counterparts(Anisef et al 1985,32).These broad generalizations contain much diversity. Anisef et al (1985) elucidate thedifferences in provincial educational structures and systems, and problems of defining andassessing participation rates. The experience of women in post-secondary education is a notableexample relevant to OLI because women always comprised a majority of its students. Women’soverall participation rates have grown markedly since the late 1950s. The proportion of femaleenrolments in Canadian post-secondary education rose from 30% in 1962 to 45% in 1976(StatsCan 1979,16). Gilbert and Guppy report women now comprise a majority of full-timecollege, and part-time university and college enrolments, and form over 50% of graduands inboth universities and colleges (1988,164). However, while women have slowly made inroadsinto male-dominated professional disciplines such as engineering, medicine and business, theystill cluster mainly in traditional arts, education and health science subjects. These subjectshave been especially vulnerable to financial cutbacks in favour of science and technology and,as outlined above, tend to enjoy lower status in disciplinary hierarchies. There is some evidencewomen students tend to come from the urban middle classes rather than from working class orrural backgrounds (Anisef et al 1985; Gilbert & Guppy 1988).Another problem with the debate on access lies in the definition of ‘equality of educationalopportunity’. As Silver points out, “equal opportunity implies equal opportunity to be unequal”because it allows renewal of inequality in each generation instead of changing the conditions44causing the inequality (1980,38). Defined thus, elites may encourage expanded access toeducation in ways which do not significantly change the social status quo. One way has been‘cooling out’ to the colleges those deemed (mainly by university gatekeepers) intellectually ortemperamentally unlikely to succeed at university (Clark 1961). Another, as Bourdieu (1984)has argued, is to maintain an institutional climate in which faculty will continue to reproduce,in succeeding generations of students, the cultural capital ensuring academics’ own legitimacyand prestige. To achieve this, students learn and absorb into their own lexicons a middle/upperclass culture or, as Perkin (1989) puts it, acquire a professional ideology. Access to that cultureis, predictably, more difficult for students from other cultural backgrounds, social classes, andintellectual heritages. A third way elites seek to maintain the status quo has been to retain‘lower learning’ as a central concept in all institutions of higher education so as to protect theesoteric and sacred higher levels (Silver 1980). None of these strategies is simple oruncontested, but all have reinforced the hierarchies of modern higher education.Consequences for Institutional LegitimacyThe ideologies of human capital and of equal opportunity have affected Canadian institutionallegitimacy variously. They have confirmed the supremacy of ‘useful’ knowledge, contributed toa relentless reliance on credentials to allocate institutions and people in social hierarchies, andunderpinned beliefs about social and intellectual purposes of universities and colleges. Thestate’s increasing intervention in institutional affairs, and the search for innovative structuralsolutions to problems of equity are further consequences particularly interesting for this study.Denominational control of Anglo-Canadian universities petered out in the l950s, leaving themto negotiate directly with their provincial governments over resources.6 The western provinceshad mostly adopted the American land-grant college model from the beginning, creating single,publicly-funded provincial universities in each province before the first war.7 The l960sexpansion encouraged the universities themselves, singly and in concert, to expend more effort45and resources on planning (Bissell 1974; Trotter & Carrothers 1974; Axelrod l982a). Collectionsof institutions gradually gave way to provincial systems. Direct university-provincialgovernment relations were replaced in the l970s by buffer agencies, to “remov(e) fromministerial control (and therefore ministerial responsibility) matters which it is thought best inthe public interest to put beyond the reach of day to day politics” (Trotter and Carrothers1974,7; also Axelrod 1982a). Relationships between institutional and state officials continued todepend on private, informal networks, but were systematized and formalized as bureaucraciesburgeoned (Sirluck 1974; Hayden 1983).The human capital and equal opportunity theories justified public expenditure on highereducation and emphasized vocational relevance. Governments could legitimately claim a rightto determine the appropriateness and amount of education to be provided. Sirluck (1974)argues there were other reasons too. The emerging dominance of provincial governments inhigher education financing was consistent with trends to consolidate the welfare state and assertprovincial precedence over federal interests. Student militancy, and the apparent inability ofthe institutions to keep order, shocked and worried university administrations and governments.Fears of US domination of the universities were aired as staff were imported during theexpansion years. Governments sought to steer research towards problems the state deemedrelevant. Finally, the advent of unionization and collective bargaining could not be ignored by“the ultimate determiner of the resource flow” (Sirluck 1974,6).Since governments controlled the terms of reference, membership and resources of thecoordinating agencies, they could actively influence the ‘rationalization’ of the system, and‘accountability’ of individual institutions, without appearing to interfere openly. Sirluck (1977)voiced the fears of many in the universities about loss of academic freedom and institutionalautonomy, fears which would be increasingly realised into the I 980s as governments tightenedtheir fiscal control (see also Morton 1977; Hayden 1983; Muller 1987). A difference may be46discerned between university-state relationships and those between colleges and the state.Where universities typically had legislative safeguards against external interference, the collegeswere overtly designed as publicly accountable instruments of state policy. Dennison andGallagher argue most colleges were established at a time when “decentralization of authority,responsibility, and power was politically fashionable and safe and...public funding for collegeswas almost lavish” (1986,186-87). Moreover, the colleges were victims of their own success;demand grew far more rapidly than expected and cost controls were required on the system as awhole. Controls were increasingly centralized and tightened from the mid-1970s and, in someprovinces (especially BC), became almost draconian in the 1980s. The overall result was astrengthening of the stratification of the university and college systems, closely parallelingstratifications of ‘useful’ knowledge and credentials.Another consequence for institutional legitimacy of interest here was a renewed questioning ofthe purpose of universities. This appeared as a reified liberal vs. vocational debate, and inincreasing emphasis by the universities on ‘excellence’ in research, graduate studies andprofessional education, and equation of university credentials with professional, middle classideals (Trotter & Carrothers 1974; Sirluck 1974; Morton 1977; Runte 1981; Axelrod 1982a).These accompanied a search for ways to resolve intractable problems of educational inequityand, simultaneously, to meet new challenges of rapid technological change. A 1976 OECDReview of Canadian higher education alluded to the importance of education at all levels foradults. With slower growth rates in school-graduates’ participation in higher education, manyuniversities grew more inclined to seek out adults. Morton encapsulated the issues thus:Across Canada, the greatest untapped pool of ability lies among those - a majority ofthem women - who grew past the age for higher education without its invitation evenbeing extended....The need to recycle people as well as tin cans and newsprint becomesmore urgent as the pace of obsolescence in expertise and technique accelerates(1977,187).47The colleges were one solution, but could not offer the prestige of the universities. Pedagogicaland disciplinary innovation became another solution, especially among the newer universitiesseeking their own legitimacy and unique identity. Traditional disciplinary boundaries softenedas new specialisms attracted attention and interdisciplinary programs gained popularity. Bissell(1974), for example, neatly contrasts the disciplinary foci of certain departments at theUniversity of Toronto with those at the new York University. In BC, Ellis and Birch recallSimon Fraser University’s choice of interdisciplinary subjects, degree structures and tutorialpatterns which often contrasted sharply with those of the other universities.8 Experiments werecarried out with closed-circuit television, automated language laboratories and computer-assisted learning. ‘Cooperative programs’, whereby students alternated full-time study withorganized periods in the workforce, helped link theoretical, university-based learning withpractical skills training. And, for some, the modern form of distance education offered anotherway of economically drawing disenfranchised people into higher education and, simultaneously,targetting programs to areas of economic or social need.LEGITIMACY AND CHANGE IN DISTANCE EDUCATIONThe recent history of distance education reveals it has occupied a contentious place in regionaland national higher education systems and hierarchies. In the last 25 years, significantpedagogical and technological changes in distance education practice have affected the natureand kind of institutional legitimacy accorded to distance education by states and others inhigher education. These changes include significant growth in enrolments, numbers and typesof institution, and the varieties of program taught at a distance. In addition, distance educatorshave introduced alternative ways to develop and teach courses, and new structures and systemsto organize and support the teaching. Finally, the nature of inter-institutional relationships haschanged as willingness to collaborate breaks down traditional boundaries.48The changes have been an international phenomenon and it would be misleading to describethem only in terms of one country, though the Canadian experience is especially relevant here.Moreover, the Canadian literature does not reveal the nature and magnitude of developments indistance education as a field. Accordingly, this section draws on British and Australianliterature. The British literature is particularly important because of the BOU’s impact on thefield worldwide. Similarities between Australia and Canada in geography, demography,economy and social life are sufficiently strong for the Australian distance education experienceto be analogous to much of the Canadian experience. The English-language literature isextensive, but until the late 1980s was more often descriptive than theoretical or deeplyanalytical.The Growth of Distance EducationFormal ‘correspondence study’ or ‘education by post’ began in the late 19th century (Erdos1967; Harris 1967; Holmberg 1989). Queen’s University started the first Canadian universitylevel correspondence program in 1889 (Neatby 1978; Sweet 1986), but it was a rare element ofuniversity extension activity till the late 1930s when UBC, amongst others, began offering asmall number of non-credit courses by correspondence (Logan 1958; Selman 1976). By 1967-68approximately 121,600 students were enrolled in correspondence courses in Canada, of whomalmost 88,000 were in government schools, and 16,000 in universities (Mackenzie & Christensen1971). The rest studied at private, commercial schools preparing adults and young people formatriculation, or in grass roots adult education organizations.9The transformation of higher education at a distance began in the late 1 960s with creation ofopen universities of which the prototype was the British Open University (BOU), established in1969 (Tunstall 1974; Perry 1977; Rumble 1982c; Rumble & Harry 1982). New informationtechnologies promised new solutions to demands for mass expansion of higher education amongadults as well as school-leavers, demands which conventional institutions could not or would49not meet. Since then, distance education has become one of the fastest growing areas of post-secondary education in both advanced industrial and developing countries (Briggs et at 1987;Daniel 1988; Timmers 1988). The numbers of institutions, students and courses have grownenormously, and course development and teaching processes have altered markedly in nature,quality and sophistication (Perry 1984; Timmers 1988; Holmberg 1989). Holmberg (1989,4-5)distinguishes between large-scale and small-scale distance education operations. He suggests theformer have an independence and authority conferred by their extremes of innovation andeconomy of scale. The latter tend to remain closer to mainstream education and encouragepersonal ties between teacher and learner. Canadian distance education institutions fallsomewhere between the two. Enrolments in excess of 150,000 are common in the larger openuniversities, especially in Asia, but in Canada few exceed 20,000.There is a dearth of Canadian statistics on university and college distance education enrolments,suggesting a continuing invisibility and lowly status here. Enrolment and other growth in thelast 20 years is, however, indubitable. Nine universities offered credit distance educationcourses in Canada in 1969 (CAUCE 1970); by 1983 this had risen to 27 (Sweet 1986,171), threeof which were single-purpose distance education institutions- Alberta’s Athabasca University(created 1970), the Tel-Universitë de Quebec (1972), and OLI (1978). Comparable collegestatistics are not available, though Dennison (1986; 1989) reports a cautious but growing interestin teaching at a distance and/or using others’ distance education materials to supplement theircurriculum. Helms (1989,124) reports 29 universities and 10 colleges, plus six consortia, sevenbroadcasters, and numerous education ministries and private organizations teaching at adistance. In 1990-91, the Canadian Association of Distance Education Directory listed 446members from 36 universities, 50 colleges and assorted other organizations.Statistics Canada (1979, 35) records a quadrupling of part-time undergraduate universityenrolments from 39,000 in 1962-63 to 171,000 in 1977-78, but does not further distinguish50distance education students. Dennison and Gallagher (1986,267) complain Statistics Canada hasnot collected data on part-time (and distance education) students and faculty of colleges tillvery recently, so national college profiles are incomplete. Provincial statistical compilations donot clearly distinguish distance education from conventional part-time enrolments. Institutionalreports of enrolment statistics do not always clearly state whether registrations are courseenrolments, head counts, or full-time equivalent enrolments (FTE5). This last form can bemisleading, since it conceals the number of people actually engaged in study at a distance.Hence, for example, the Tl-Universit de Quebec more than doubled its enrolments from1,300 FTE in 1978 to 2,830 FTE in 1981. This meant 4,965 people in 1974, 13,661 in 1979,and 25,000 in 1985 (Guillemet et al 1986). Athabasca University enrolled 4,000 people in thelate 1970s, doubled to 8,000 in 1984, and rose to 10,772 in 1987.10 Waterloo University offersthe largest Canadian distance education program in a conventional university; this began in1968 and enrolled almost 10,000 FTE students, or 18,882 course enrolments, by 1983 (Sweet1986,172; also Leslie 1978; 1979). OLI began with 2,955 course enrolments (or 332 FTE) in1979-80, and reached 19,592 (or 5,967 FTE) by 1986-87 (see Appendix 1.3). In terms of size,OLI almost immediately became one of the most significant of Canadian distance educationinstitutions.Erdos (1967) limited the effectiveness of the correspondence method to those subjects whosebasis of teaching is words, arguing these could be as easily written and read as spoken inclassrooms (see also Wedemeyer 1971a; Holmberg 1969; Sims 1972). The BOU proved early inthe 1970s that science and technical subjects could be brilliantly, if expensively, taught at adistance. In Australia, the large technical and further education system has shown that virtuallyany subject can be taught at a distance, from pig husbandry to tractor maintenance and grainhandling (Edwards 1986). Liberal programs in humanities and social sciences, and professionalprograms for teachers have been the backbone of distance education degree studies in Canada,Australia and the UK. More vocationally-oriented programs have gained the ascendancy in the511980s, especially in business studies, computing, education, health and applied science. TheBOU developed an enormous non-credit, professional continuing education program, and nowoffers nine taught and research-based higher degrees, mainly professionally oriented (Bates1989,134; Harry 1990). Australia’s Deakin University has led that country in developingprofessional graduate degrees for which demand appears constantly to be increasing. InCanada, however, graduate teaching at a distance is minimal. Until 1988, all three single-purpose distance education institutions were limited to undergraduate degrees. Elsewhere,distance education graduate work must be combined with periods of on campus study.The Structure of Distance EducationInternationally the field has developed into an informal hierarchy headed largely by single-purpose institutions, that is, those teaching only at a distance (see Perry’s 1984 survey; Rumble& Harry 1982). Most distance education operations, however, are part of otherwiseconventional institutions teaching face-to-face on a campus. Known as dual-mode operations,their status is greatly affected by their relative position within the parent organization. Carl(1985) reports the relative marginality of distance education departments within mostconventional Canadian universities, maintained by separation of their structures, funding andpedagogical techniques from normal decision-making and teaching channels. On the otherhand, Jevons (1984) argues for parity of esteem between dual-mode and single-purpose modelsof distance teaching within the distance education hierarchy itself, because of the legitimacyconferred on the former by its equation with conventional standards. His is, in part, anargument for keeping distance education as close to the mainstream of educational practice andstandards as possible.Unlike conventional hierarchies, age has been a disadvantage to the institutional legitimacy ofmodern distance education. New single-mode distance education institutions have beenjustified by their leaders largely on the ground that conventional institutions were unlikely52readily to incorporate the necessary innovations. Perry refers to “immense inertia in thetraditional system so that the force required to produce any change must be immenselypowerful” (1978,5). Daniel and Smith (1979), writing of the genesis and early years ofAthabasca University and the Tele-Universite de Quebec, agree. They argue a high degree ofinstitutional autonomy was necessary for a successful open university operation because, whileit shared the fundamental mission of conventional universities, the means of achieving thatmission were quite different. Paul (1989) reiterates the educational and managerial advantagesof dedication to distance education without competition from more familiar modes ofeducation. Even in those institutions with long histories of teaching at a distance, age and itsconcomitant customs and myths have hindered efforts to incorporate modern forms of distanceeducation, rather than adding lustre to distance education’s status.Most Canadian distance education operations are dual-mode, but the single/dual modedichotomy has been more extensively canvassed in the Australian literature; there, distanceeducators have argued distance education compares favourably with conventional education.‘External’ students follow the same curriculum, are taught by the same staff, complete the sameexaminations, and perform at least as well as their on-campus counterparts (see Sheath 1969;White 1976; Smith 1976; Guiton 1978). Universities like Deakin and Murdoch encourage theirstudents to mix their study modes, and full-time Deakin BA students use the same learningmaterials as their off-campus counterparts (Moran 1990a). In the mid-1970s the Australiangovernment accepted that an integrated dual-mode model would better ensure maintenance ofacademic standards and parity with regular forms of education than a single national openuniversity (Aust. C’tee on OU 1974; Smith 1975; Johnson 1983). Canadian dual-mode distanceeducation operations appear to have shared Australian views on the advantages of integrationand the importance of maintaining parity of academic standards (see Leslie 1978; 1979). In oneimportant respect, however, the Canadian and Australian systems differ. Whereas in Australia,distance education students are part of the normal faculty workload, in many Canadian53institutions distance teaching is additional to normal load and/or paid separately (Mackenzie &Christensen 1971,285; Leslie 1979,38; Carl 1985). While this facilitates comparative costestimates of on campus and distance teaching, it also helps maintain distance education at themargins of the educational establishment (Carl 1985).The Systems of Distance EducationWhatever the organizational structure, the systems and pedagogies of modern distance educationare a far cry from those of correspondence study. The new generation of institutional leadersdistanced themselves from older forms of correspondence study widely viewed, oftenjustifiably, as a second-rate alternative of last resort. Drop-out rates were typically very high.Communication was largely by mail and thus slow and subject to the vagaries of the postalsystem. Academic quality of printed notes was serendipitous, and reproduction quality oftendreadful. Library and other resources were usually limited and slow to reach the student.Some face-to-face tuition was usually included to compensate for the gaps and inadequaciesand, certainly in Canada, only part of a degree could be completed by correspondence (Erdos1967; Childs 1969; Sheath 1969; Mackenzie & Christensen 1971; Sims 1972; 1978; Smith 1980).On the other hand, it was often the jy form of education available, especially for peopleisolated geographically or otherwise. Correspondence educators were passionately committed toimproving educational access and making the learning experience as rewarding and enjoyable aspossible within the limits of technology and communication.” The new generation of distanceeducators could not afford to carry the baggage of the myths, methodologies and reputation ofcorrespondence study. During the 1970s they adopted a new name, ‘distance education’, todistinguish the new structures, technologies and procedures. The break with the past wasneither immediate nor complete. Social and political commitment to improving educationalaccess continued unabated; so too did the belief in empowering individual learners to achievetheir goals.54A typical correspondence study operation comprised a very small number of people performingmultiple tasks. In contrast, distance education characteristically comprises interlocking systemsfor course design and production, teaching and student support (collectively known as‘delivery’), and planning and management. New computer-based and telecommunicationstechnologies have been enthusiastically adopted wherever they could be afforded, and havebeen important components in change and growth in each system. The way in which thesetechnologies have been harnessed and modified has played a crucial role in supportinginstitutional claims to excellence and prestige.The BOU pioneered the use of academic course teams to prepare course materials of a highpedagogical and physical quality (Tunstall 1974; Rumble 1982c; 1986a). The BOU model teamcomprises five to ten academics, an instructional designer, editor, a staff tutor, a courseadministrator, and a BBC producer. The team is further supported by graphic design, library,clerical and technical staff. Course design and production are complex tasks taking up to threeyears from drawing board to delivery to students. The end result, an integrated package ofprinted materials, audiotapes, science kits and television programs, is highly visible. Perryargues the course team concept is the BOU’s most important single contribution to universityteaching practice. He asserts “a course produced by this method will inevitably tend to besuperior in quality to any course produced by an individual” (1977,91). At the same time, headmits it is a very expensive way of preparing materials, justifiable only if they are to be usedby large numbers.The BOU model became the benchmark against which distance educators in many countrieswould measure their own products and systems, regardless of Perry’s caveat about economy ofscale. It was expected that, “through the pooling of ideas, the institutionalization ofconstructive criticism, and specialist and cooperative efforts, a high quality course will emerge”(Moran 1990a,71). Developing a course in this manner is not easy. It is a cumbersome and55initially stressful process for academics unaccustomed to peer scrutiny of their drafts andteaching techniques. Riley (1984a,b,c) graphically describes the practical difficulties and groupdynamics involved, and solutions found to the inter-personal and instructional design problemsencountered (also see Crick 1980; Rumble 1986a,169-73; Parer 1989). To Perry (1977), thecourse team model was necessary to counteract the poor reputation of correspondence study andwidespread scepticism of the educational value of television. Moreover, learning materials mustcompensate effectively for the lack of immediate help from the teacher, and must withstandpublic scrutiny in a way traditional classroom materials or teaching rarely face.The course team model has since been adopted and adapted world-wide (Rumble & Harry 1982;Koul & Jenkins 1990). In addition, Smith (1980) describes four other common models ofcourse development: the author plus editor; the educational adviser plus in-house faculty;contract author plus local faculty and instructional designer; and the ‘intuition’ model (wherethe writer has no support and one hopes for the best). Apart from the last, these models havein common the joint efforts of academic writer(s) and instructional adviser. Variations on thefirst two have become the predominant style in Canada. Seaborne and Zuckernick (1986) argueCanadian approaches to course design have been affected significantly by institutionalcommitment, or lack thereof, to distance education. This factor determines the human andfiscal resources devoted to course design, and the extent to which the institution sees itselfbound to serve distant students. They further argue the delivery strategy - that is, choice ofone or several media - is an important determinant of the institution’s approach to coursedesign.In Canada, the telephone quickly became an integral part of many distance education programsdue to its comparative familiarity and ready availability to both faculty and students, and to itscapacity to bridge distance in an immediately personal way. Daniel and Turok (1975) alsofound audio-conferencing an economic alternative to face-to-face tutorials in low enrolment56courses. By 1986, Robertson was arguing that telephone technology had become anindispensable tool and a routine part of delivery strategies (1986,283; also Burge & Howard1990).Seaborne and Zuckernick (1986,39) note Canadian institutions have generally followed either adominant medium approach or a multi-media approach to course delivery. The assumptionshere are that students learn in different ways, and there is no one best way to presentinformation. Nevertheless, print has consistently maintained its hegemony over other forms ofinstructional media (Pittman 1987; Holmberg 1989,69). Indeed, in wealthy nations such asCanada, growing sophistication in instructional design has been matched (and indeed oftensurpassed) by the physical quality and technological capabilities of print production systems(Parer 1981; Bottomley 1986; Briggs et al 1987; Moran 1987; Pittman 1987). WaterlooUniversity, on the other hand, has preferred to emphasise audio-cassettes (Leslie 1986), andthree provincial educational broadcast networks have been created to teach through television.Of those taking a multi-media approach, Seaborne and Zuckernick (1986) distinguish betweeninstitutions relying on one in particular, and those evenly balancing their media choices. OLIand Waterloo exemplify the first category; Memorial University and Wilfred Laurier Universitythe second.Broadcast television1 “capacity to mystify and confound” (Brown & Fortosky 1986,267) hasexerted a powerful fascination on some educators and politicians, especially in BC. Helm(1989) observes an accelerating interest among Canadian distance educators in satellite- andcomputer-based communications bringing together a variety of technologies; for example,interactive video-conferencing, electronic mail, and voice and graphics transmissions. Bates,however, criticises Canadian distance education institutions for generally having “failed tointegrate electronic media such as television and computers with textual materials.. .so that theunique presentational characteristics of television are exploited” (1989,137). He finds television57has been used mainly for relatively low cost sessions or one-off initiatives. Even at the BOU,whose image became quickly associated with television, the latter comprised only 5% of theinstruction in the mid-l970s (Perry 1977,268). Ironically, Bates earlier reported (1982) awidespread reduction in the glamour and appeal of television and radio in Britain because ofsystemic and political difficulties and academic mistrust of audiovisual media.The literature indicates a sense of unease about the role of face-to-face tuition in distanceeducation. Perry (1975) admits the BOU’s adoption of the (Australian) University of NewEngland residential school model (see Crew 1976), and establishment of regional centresoffering face-to-face tutorials, were necessary political compromises in the process oflegitimating the new university. Most Canadian distance education operations seem to offersome form of face—to-face contact, by means of local learning centres, residential schools,laboratory sessions, seminars, and meetings with peripatetic tutors. The inclusion of face-to-face experiences is overtly justified as helping improve completion rates by overcominglearners’ undoubted sense of isolation (for example, Kahi & Cropley 1986). Or it is argued thatsome subjects require hands-on activity in a laboratory or practice of skills under the eye ofthe instructor. At a deeper level, one senses most distance educators share, in varying degrees,the hegemonic belief that ‘real’ education occurs face-to-face, and are reluctant to eschewphysical contiguity entirely.Student services have become more sophisticated since 1970 but their purpose has remainedfundamentally the same as in the days of correspondence study. Little difference may beobserved between then and now in the depth, energy and sincerity of concern with students’welfare- an ethos more analogous to counselling services than to traditional registrarial systemsof student administration (Erdos 1967; Sewart 1978; Gough & Coitman 1979; Gough 1979;Moran & Croker 1981; Mclnnis-Rankin & Brindley 1986). The change was more in theexpanded range and combination of student services and in the priority accorded them.58Comprehensive student services were designed to personalize the relationship with individualstudents, help them deal administratively with the remote institution, and compensate for thelack of physical community (Sewart 1978; Moran & Croker 1981; Mclnnis-Rankin & Brindley1986). The key limitation has always been resources. One initiative of the 1970s was thecreation of local study or meeting centres (for example, Gough 1980; Castro et al 1985;Northcott & Shapcott 1986). Others included extensive academic and personal counsellingnetworks (Gough & Coitman 1979; Moran & Croker 1981; Mclnnis-Rankin & Brindley 1986);study skills advice; careers planning; and more recently, specialized assistance for disabledstudents (Gough & McBeath 1981; Croker 1983). All these are aimed at supporting teachingand learning, and individual growth and realization of aspirations. Development of studentservices has not been without tension. Sewart (1978; 1979; 1981) called for better balancebetween the needs of the individual learner, and the mass production emphasis on learningpackages. Paul (1989), Mclnnis-Rankin and Brindley (1986), and Bates (1989) argue thatdiversion of resources in Canadian distance education institutions towards production andtelecommunications technologies has diminished the range and quality of support services. Thisreflects a continuing strain between two imperatives driving the nature and structure ofdistance education - concern for the individual learner, and mass instruction in anindustrialized educational system.Otto Peters’ model of distance education as an industrial enterprise, outlined in Chapter 1, wasapt. The management of sophisticated and complex course development and delivery systemsdemanded new types of personnel and organizational forms. Modern distance education haswrought changes in academic roles and decision making processes, and has encouraged the riseof the professional at the expense of the academic’s traditional power. There are manyvariations in academic structures, division of labour, and degree of automation from oneinstitution to another. Choices of structure have been influenced by institutional size, relativeimportance of distance education to the institution’s overall functions, and preferred59communications media (see Koul & Jenkins 1990). Rumble (1986a,118) observes distanceeducation systems are commonly based on functional divisions of course development, teaching,materials production and distribution, and administration. Other types may also be present.For example, temporary course teams exemplify a project structure and dynamic. There areoutreach divisions such as learning centre networks and collaborative consortia. Rumble goeson to argue:(D)istance education systems exhibit a range of features not found in conventional oneswhich make their management qualitatively different.... These include their use ofinstructional media with a concomitant requirement for specialist staff, the quasi-industrial processes of production and distribution, and the distance between themselvesand their students which requires access to reliable and rapid means of communicationfor administrative and teaching purposes (1 986a, 163-64).Such a system has several consequences. First, a professional class of print and audiovisualspecialists, instructional designers, and student support staff assumes new power in decisionmaking (see Riley 1984a,b,c; D. Harris 1987). This can conflict with the traditional power ofthe academic vis--vis students and within the organization itself. Second, the separation ofcourse preparation from teaching can give rise to an academic hierarchy in which the tutor mayhave little control over a curriculum designed and written by others (Calvert 1982; Rumble1986a). Peters observed the teacher alienation which can result (1989). One may question howdifferent this practice is from the faculty/teaching assistant model common in North Americanuniversities. It may be a symptom of expansion in higher education in general, and anexpression of financial pressures on faculty:student ratios. Third, the tutor’s role as provider ofinformation diminishes (the learning materials take over) while that of learning facilitatorincreases (helping the individual student interpret and utilise the materials). As the teacher’scontrol is loosened, the potential for learner independence may increase. Fourth, the systemitself is capable of great expansion in range and number of courses and students, especiallywhen combined with telecommunications strategies. Together, these factors suggest significantshifts in the traditional role and authority of the academic towards more equality with other60professionals in the teaching process on one hand, and with students on the other. Lesspositively, industrialized distance education systems contain the potential for regulation andmanipulation of knowledge and academic freedom by educational elites and, less directly, bythe state in ways to which traditional classroom-based systems may be less amenable.Inter-Institutional CollaborationUniversities have traditionally maintained fast their boundaries to protect their autonomy,standards and identity. Consequently, they have been wary of collaboration with otherinstitutions, and ill-equipped to deal positively with external pressures for rationalisationthrough cooperative action. Inter-institutional collaboration is remarkably difficult to achieveto the mutual satisfaction of the partners. In countries like Canada and Australia, governmentsare increasingly demanding such collaboration as they press for rationalization of programs,higher productivity and ‘more scholar for the dollar’ (Axeirod 1982a). Collaborative venturesstrengthen the claims of distance education institutions’ to legitimacy. The economic argumentis bolstered by the apparent compatibility of collaboration with ideologies promoting moreeducational opportunities. The desire to improve accessibility underpins most literature oncollaboration in distance education.Neil defined inter-institutional collaboration in distance education as “an active workingpartnership supported by some kind of institutional commitment” based on formal agreementbetween two or more organizations (1981,25). Others have specified kinds of collaborationranging from low to high risk, including exchange of information, experience and consultants;collaboration on development, adaptation and evaluation of learning materials; establishment ofcredit transfer arrangements; and creation of new overarching structures (Moran 1986;Anderson & Nelson 1989). Konrad and Small (1986) propose that collaboration occurs at threelevels of formalization - from informal and ad hoc arrangements through formal agreements tocreation of a new agency, typically a consortium. Examples of all these exist in Canada, whose61distance educators have led the international field in experimenting with collaborative ventures(Mugridge 1983; 1989; Moran 1986; Konrad & Small 1986; 1989; Anderson & Nelson 1989).Distance educators have argued there are many potential advantages to inter-institutionalcollaboration (Neil 1981; Mugridge 1983; Moran 1983; 1990; Pritchard and Jones 1985a; Konradand Small 1989). Collaboration may expand an institution’s capacity to provide breadth anddepth in particular subjects. More pedagogical and technological strategies are available asapproaches and facilities are shared. These strategies may, in turn, raise the standards oflearning materials and teaching. Cooperative course development may help build a critical massof scholars otherwise geographically scattered in relatively small institutions, and may enhanceresearch effort, although this has yet to be proven. There are financial advantages of costeffective use of human and material resources, and political advantages in demonstrating thatcost efficiency. Institutional legitimacy may also be enhanced through partnership withanother, more prestigious institution.The rhetoric about collaboration, however, does not match reality (Mugridge 1983; Pritchard &Jones 1985b; Calvert 1986). Cooperation rests, above all, on trust among the partners. Trustimplies a willingness to eschew competition, and demands personal and institutionalrelationships which can overcome politics and self-interest. There must be sufficient parity ofesteem and congruence of aims among the partners to convince each of the benefits to its ownstatus and purpose. Traditions of institutional autonomy, especially in certification andstandards, tend to militate against such convictions. A common result is mistrust of teachingand standards elsewhere. This has been labelled the ‘Not Invented Here’ factor (Jevons 1976;Bynner 1985). Another common problem is the incompatibility of organizational structures andadministrative processes, necessitating a questioning of institutional practice which can seem tointrude into institutional autonomy. Other difficulties include practical problems of interinstitutional communication; failures of implementation due to inadequate funds, lack of clarity62or real commitment; and ineffective handling of technical and human problems. Ignorance orsuspicion of distance education techniques can hamper effective collaboration where a partnerdoes not normally teach at a distance.Despite these manifest difficulties, inter-institutional cooperation in distance education hasburgeoned in the past decade, especially in Canada. Reported examples include OLI’scoordinating and collaborative activities (Mugridge 1983; 1989); bilateral arrangements betweenNorth Island College and Athabasca University (Mugridge 1983; Tayless 1986; Paul 1989);Ontario’s Contact North (Croft 1987; Anderson & Nelson 1989); the Ontario EducationalCommunications Authority (Waniewicz 1979) and other educational broadcasters; and fiveeducational consortia in Alberta (Moran 1986; Paul 1989). Early indications are that these andother collaborative projects are slowly gaining legitimacy among the participants and fundingagencies, as well as among students. They have in common that the institutions are eager toimprove their status and expand their range of operations. These projects rarely involve themost prestigious universities, but proliferate at the middle and lower ends of traditionalhierarchies. Projects often cross the binary divide. Other institutions use credit transfer,course sharing and other mechanisms to challenge conventions of knowledge hierarchies.It is premature to assess the effects on institutional legitimacy of softening boundaries in theseways. However, the increasing popularity of such ventures suggests willingness to collaborate isbecoming an important criterion of legitimacy within the distance education field. This viewis reinforced by a growing trend towards international collaboration, either through commercialarrangements, or in some form of aid-related relationship between institutions. Developmentsare so new that little analytical or evaluative work has emerged as yet. Canadian examplesinclude OLI’s links with Universitas Terbuka in Indonesia and Disted College in Penang; andAthabasca University’s ties to Ramkhamhaeng University in Thailand, and the Indira GhandiNational Open University in India. The Canadian and BC governments strongly supported63creation of the Commonwealth of Learning Agency sponsored by the Commonwealth of Nationsand based in Vancouver. It is the most ambitious attempt to date to develop world-widecollaboration in distance education (see Briggs et al 1987; Cwth. Sect. 1987; Hubbard et al1987).Why Did These Changes Occur?The pre-history of institutions such as OLI, the BOU and Deakin University reveals growinginterest among educators from the late 1 960s in innovative ways of reaching larger numbers oflearners, especially working class and other people with little social power (Ellis 1973; C’tee onOpen Univ. 1974; Perry 1977). This interest alone was insufficient to force the establishmentof new institutions like OLI. The existence of, and growing fascination with, new informationtechnologies was also insufficient, per Se, to determine the direction such institutions wouldtake. Both in combination were unlikely to have persuaded conventional institutions into majoremendation of admissions policies and educational practices. The catalyst for change was stateattraction to an approach promising a combination of mass access, lower unit costs and greatereconomies of scale than conventional teaching offered, plus education and training of theworkforce without significant disruptions to the economic or social fabric of people’s lives.The taint of old (and sometimes unfair) attitudes towards correspondence study lingered,especially in more conservative higher education institutions. OLI, like the BOU, would oweits existence largely to Ministerial determination amid heavy opposition from the educational‘establishment’.The new organizing forms and techniques changed the financial structure of distance educationand the operational bases of distance education institutions’ relationships with the state. Itremains uncertain whether distance education is actually cheaper than conventional highereducation, and if so, under what conditions. Several costing models have been developed toexplain the possible economies of scale, and to compare conventional and distance education64costs (Wagner 1972; 1977; Laidlaw and Layard 1974; Snowden and Daniel 1980; Rumble1981b,c; 1982b; 1986b; Perraton 1982b). Pioneering work at the BOU revealed its unit costs ofundergraduate teaching were less than one-third those of conventional British higher education.The BOU’s high enrolments ensured very low marginal costs of teaching and administration,even though fixed costs of course development and television were extremely high (Wagner1972; 1977; Laidlaw & Layard 1974). Rumble suggests universities with less than 10,000 FTEstudents “are probably not cost efficient in comparison with conventional institutions, but maynevertheless be perfectly justifiable on other (non-economic) grounds’ (1982b,138). In contrast,Snowden and Daniel (1980), having adapted the BOU model to small single-mode distanceeducation systems such as Athabasca University, argued smaller institutions could also achievecomparable levels of cost effectiveness to the BOU. They suggested measures such aspurchasing ready-made courses at lower initial costs. In a survey of international experience,Perraton (1982b) concludes economies of scale are possible even in much smaller institutions,depending on choices of media and success in keeping fixed costs as low as possible. He notesradio is usually very cheap, print can be inexpensive, and television is remarkably costly.The BOU’s low unit costs have sometimes been unwisely cited by smaller institutions to justifytheir own costs, even though comparable economies of scale are clearly impossible. As Perraton(1982b) points out, there are significant methodological problems in costing distance educationitself, let alone comparing one institution with another. There are difficulties in comparing likewith like in terms of student participation (part-time versus full-time), and disentanglingteaching from other aspects of the institution’s work (Rumble l986b). There are problems inallocating functions to comparable variables. Distance education, for example, incurs verydifferent fixed costs of course development and distribution from classroom-based teaching;and faculty:student ratios are often very different from face-to-face education. Nevertheless, ithas become almost an article of faith among many distance educators in countries like Canada,Australia and Britain that theirs is a cheaper, more cost effective form of education than65conventional face-to-face education. The argument pervades funding submissions and justifiesnew project proposals; it is too attractive an argument for governments to reject.Similarly, distance educators commonly justify claims for further growth in terms ofimprovements in access to higher education, especially for disenfranchised adults. Whatever thereality in a given locality, distance education’s democratizing potential is perhaps the singlemost commonly held value among practitioners everywhere. The difficulty, as noted above inrelation to higher education in general, is that improving educational access does not necessarilyequalize outcomes. Absolute increases in distance education enrolments since 1970 indicateaccess has greatly improved overall, as it has in mainstream education. Paul suggests, however,that Canadian degree-level distance education students come predominantly from white collarand professional occupations or parental backgrounds, and many have prior higher educationexperience (Paul 1989,153).12 That is, such students come from similar social milieux as dotheir younger full-time counterparts. At the same time, British and Australian studies revealgaps between students’ current occupations and the social class or occupational background oftheir parents, suggesting distance education appeals to people already upwardly mobile(McIntosh et al 1980; Powles & Anwyl 1987; D. Harris 1987).Canadian high