"Professional Development of Higher Education Teachers, - Can Distance Education Make a Difference?"


The paper reviews some of the classical indicators of academic professionalism, and illuminates a historical epoche when research and teaching became separate dimensions of professionalism in higher education. The paper argues that this separation has gone too far and that a new sense of professionalism needs to be invoked in the area of teaching in higher education. It is claimed that this area is challenged by the demands that professors must take part in distance education activities involving the use of information technologies. The particular organisation at any given higher education institution for open and distance education activities have a particular responsibility to develop this professional dimension. Therefore, it has to participate in more profound organisational developmental work together with academics and administration to promote reflection on their teaching, and surpass “ad-hocracy” and “loose-couplings” to become part of a learning organisation.

KEYWORDS: Professionalism, Distance Education, Dual Mode Institutions, Higher Education