Selasa, 18 Januari 2011



Arip Nurahman

Department of Physics Education, Faculty of Sciences and Mathematics
Indonesia University of Education
Follower Open Course Ware at MIT-Harvard University, U.S.A.

Distance education, or distance learning, is a field of education that focuses on the pedagogy and andragogy, technology, and instructional systems design that aim to deliver education to students who are not physically "on site". Rather than attending courses in person, teachers and students may communicate at times of their own choosing by exchanging printed or electronic media, or through technology that allows them to communicate in real time. Distance education courses that require a physical on-site presence for any reason including the taking of examinations is considered to be a hybrid or blended course or program.


Distance education dates back to at least as early as 1728, when "an advertisement in the Boston Gazette...[named] 'Caleb Phillips, Teacher of the new method of Short Hand" was seeking students for lessons to be sent weekly.[1] Modern distance education has been practiced at least since Isaac Pitman taught shorthand in Great Britain via correspondence in the 1840s.[2] The development of the postal service in the 19th century lead to the growth of Commercial correspondence colleges with nation-wide reach.

The University of London was the first university to offer distance learning degrees, establishing its External Programme in 1858.[3] Another pioneering institution was the University of South Africa, which has been offering Correspondence Education courses since 1946. The largest distance education university in the United Kingdom is the Open University founded 1969. In Germany the FernUniversität in Hagen was founded 1974. There are now many similar institutions around the world, often with the name Open University (in English or in the local language), and these are listed below.

Charles Wedemeyer of the University of Wisconsin at Madison is considered the father of modern distance education in America. From 1964-1968 the Carnegie Foundation funded Wedemeyer's Articulated Instructional Media Project (AIM) which brought in a variety of communications technologies aimed at providing learning to an off-campus population. According to Moore's recounting, AIM impressed the British who imported these ideas and used them to create the first Open University, now called United Kingdom Open University (UKOU) to distinguish it from other open universities which have emerged. UKOU was established in the late 1960s and used television and radio as its primary delivery methodologies, thus placing it in the forefront of applying emerging technologies to learning. It is fair to say that all "open universities" use distance education technologies as delivery methodologies. There are many private and public, non-profit and for-profit institutions offering courses and degree programs through distance education. Levels of accreditation vary; some institutions offering distance education in the United States have received little outside oversight, and some may be fraudulent diploma mills. In many other jurisdictions, an institution may not use the term "University" without accreditation and authorisation, normally by the national government. Online education is rapidly increasing among mainstream universities in the United States, where online doctoral programs have even developed at prestigious research institutions.

In the twentieth century, radio, television, and the Internet have all been used to further distance education. Computers and the Internet have made distance learning distribution easier and faster.

In 2006 the Sloan Consortium reported that more than 96 percent of the largest colleges and universities in the United States offered online courses and that almost 3.2 million U.S. students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2005 term.

Technologies Used in Delivery

The types of available technologies used in distance education are divided into two groups: synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous technology is used in distance education lessons in which learning is occurring in different places but at the same time. Asynchronous technology is used in lessons in which learning is occurring in different places but also at different times.

Types of Synchronous technologies include:


-boradcast video

-internet chat (such as AIM)


-net meeting

Types of Asynchronous technologies include:

-voice mail/fax



-internet conferencing


-print materials

Types of distance education courses

· Correspondence conducted through regular mail

· Internet conducted either synchronously or asynchronously

· Telecourse/Broadcast, in which content is delivered via radio or television

· CD-ROM, in which the student interacts with computer content stored on a CD-ROM

· PocketPC/Mobile Learning where the student accesses course content stored on a mobile device or through a wireless server.

Distance Education has traversed four to five 'generations' of technology in its history. These are print, audio/video broadcasting, audio/video teleconferencing, computer aided instruction, e-learning/ online-learning, computer broadcasting/webcasting etc. Yet the radio remains a very viable form, especially in the developing nations, because of its reach. In India the FM Channel is very popular and is being used by universities, to broadcast educational programs of variety on areas such as teacher education, rural development, programs in agriculture for farmers, science education, creative writing, mass communication, in addition to traditional courses in liberal arts, science and business administration. The increasing popularity of mp3 players, PDAs and Smart Phone has provided an additional medium for the distribution of distance education content, and some professors now allow students to listen or even watch video of a course as a Podcast. Some colleges have been working with the U.S. military to distribute entire course content on a PDA to deployed personnel.

In at least one instance, an online course has been run entirely in a 3D virtual world through the popular online community Second Life. This approach has also been used in conjunction with on-campus class meetings, making the separation between distance and on-campus students increasingly insignificant.

In short then, though a range of technology presupposes a distance education 'inventory' it is technological appropriateness and connectivity, such as computer, or for that matter electrical connectivity that should be considered, when we think of the world as a whole, while fitting in technological applications to distance education.

Second Life has recently become one of the cutting-edge virtual classrooms for major colleges and universities, including Princeton, Rice University, University of Derby (UK), Vassar, the Open University (UK),. In 2007 Second Life started to be used for foreign language tuition [13]. Both Second Life and real life language educators have begun to use the virtual world for language tuition. English (as a foreign language) has gained a presence through several schools, including the British Council, which has focused on the Teen Grid. Spain’s language and cultural institute “Instituto Cervantes” has an island on Second Life. A list of educational projects (including some language schools) in Second Life can be found on the SimTeach site.

Testing and evaluation

Distance education has had trouble since its conception with the testing of material. The delivery is fairly straightforward, which makes sure it is available to the student and he or she can read it at their leisure. The problem arises when the student is required to complete assignments and testing. Whether quizzes, tests, or examinations; Online courses have had difficulty controlling cheating because of the lack of teacher control. In a classroom situation a teacher can monitor students and visually uphold a level of integrity consistent with an institution's reputation. With distance education the student can be removed from supervision completely. Some schools address integrity issues concerning testing by requiring students to take examinations in a controlled setting.

Assignments have adapted by becoming larger, longer, and more thorough so as to test for knowledge by forcing the student to research the subject and prove they have done the work. Quizzes are a popular form of testing knowledge and many courses go by the honor system regarding cheating. Even if the student is checking questions in the textbook or online, there may be an enforced time limit or the quiz may be worth so little in the overall mark that it becomes inconsequential. Exams and bigger tests may be harder to regulate. In smaller tests a professor may employ another computer program to keep all other programs from running on the computer reducing the possibility of help from the Internet.

Used in combination with invigilators, a pre-arranged supervisor trusted with over-looking big tests and examinations may be used to increase security. Many Midterms and Final examinations are held at a common location so that professors can supervise directly. Many of these examinations are still on the computer in which case the same program blocking software can be used. When the Internet became a popular medium for distance education many websites were founded offering secure exam software and packages to help professors manage their students more effectively.

Mengenai Pendidikan Jarak Jauh

Pendidikan Jarak Jauh secara tersurat sudah termaktub di dalam Undang-Undang Republik Indonesia Nomor 20 Tahun 2003 Tentang "Sistem Pendidikan Nasional". Rumusan tentang Pendidikan Jarak Jauh terlihat pada BAB VI Jalur, jenjang dan Jenis Pendidikan pada Bagian Kesepuluh Pendidikan Jarak Jauh pada Pasal 31 berbunyi :

(1) Pendidikan jarak jauh diselenggarakan pada semua jalur, jenjang, dan jenis pendidikan;

(2) Pendidikan jarak jauh berfungsi memberikan layanan pendidikan kepada kelompok masyarakat yang tidak dapat mengikuti pendidikan secara tata muka atau regular;

(3) Pendidikan jarak jauh diselenggarakan dalam berbagai bentuk, modus, dan cakupan yang didukung oleh sarana dan layanan belajar serta system penilaian yang menjamin mutu lulusan sesuai dengan standard nasional pendidikan;

(4) Ketentuan mengenai penyelenggarakan pendidikan jarak jauh sebagaimana dimaksud dalam ayat (1), ayat (2) dan ayat (3) diatur lebih lanjut dengan peraturan pemerintah.

Ini menunjukan kepada kita bahwa pendidikan jarak jauh merupakan program pemerintah yang perlu terus didukung. Pemerintah merasakan bahwa kondisi pendidikan negeri kita perlu terus dibenahi, dan tentunya diperlukan strategi yang tepat, terencana dan simultan. Selama ini belum tersentuh secara optimal, karena banyak hal yang juga perlu dipertimbangkan dan dilakukan pemerintah didalam kerangka peningkatan kualitas sector pendidikan.

Pendidikan jarak jauh pada kondisi awal sudah dijalankan pemerintah melalui berbagai upaya, baik melalui Belajar Jarak Jauh yang dikembangkan oleh Universitas Terbuka, mapun Pendidikan Jarak Jauh yang dikembangkan oleh Pusat Teknologi Komunikasi dan Informasi Departemen Pendidikan Nasional, melalui program pembelajaran multimedia, dengan program SLTP dan SMU Terbuka, Pendidikan dan Latihan Siaran Radio Pendidikan.

Berkenaan dengan itu, yang pasti sasaran dari program pendidikan jarak jauh tidak lain adalah memberikan kesempatan kepada anak-anak bangsa yang belum tersentuh mengecap pendidikan ke tingkat yang lebih tinggi, bahkan tidak terkecuali anak didik yang sempat putus sekolah, baik untuk pendidikan dasar, menengah. Demikian pula bagi para guru yang memiliki sertifikasi lulusan SPG/SGO/KPG yang karena kondisi tempat bertugas di daerah terpencil, pedalaman, di pergunungan, dan banyak pula yang dipisahkan antar pulau, maka peluang untuk mendapatkan pendidikan melalui program pendidikan jarak jauh mutlak terbuka lebar. Perlu dicatat bahwa pemerintah telah melakukan dengan berbagai terobosan untuk meningkatkan mutu sumber daya manusia. Upaya keras yang dilakukan adalah berkaiatan dengan lokalisasi daerah terpencil, pedalaman yang sangat terbatas oleh berbagai hal, seperti transportasi, komunikasi, maupun informasi. Hal ini sesegera mungkin untuk diantisipasi, sehingga jurang ketertinggalan dengan masyarakat perkotaan tidak terlalu dalam, dan segera untuk diantisipasi.

Semangat otonomi daerah memberikan angin segar terhadap pelaksanaan program pendidikan jarak jauh. Apalagi bila kita telusuri, masih banyak para guru yang mempunyai keinginan untuk melanjutkan pendidikan yang lebih tinggi, akan tetapi karena keterbatasan dana, ditambah lagi ketidakmungkinannya untuk meninggalkan sekolah, maka cita-cita untuk melanjutkan belum tercapai.

Akan tetapi dengan melalui program pendidikan jarak jauh melalui pola pembelajaran multi media yang digalakan oleh Pusat Teknologi, Komunikasi dan Informasi (Pustekkom) Pendidikan Nasional, merupakan angin segar bagi para guru-guru yang berpendidikan SPG/SGO untuk melanjutkan pendidikan ke jenjang Diploma Dua melalui Program PGSD. Demikian pula bagi para guru-guru yang baru direkrut melalui program guru bantu yang diselenggarakan oleh Pemerintah Pusat maupun guru kontrak yang diselenggarakan oleh Pemerintah Daerah, pada umumnya banyak lulusan SMU/SMK/MA tentunya dari segi kualitas perlu terus ditingkatkan, apalagi yang menyangkut kemampuan didaktik, metodik dan paedogogik masih perlu banyak belajar, karena selama menjalani pendidikan di sekolah menengah tidak pernah mendapatkan materi tersebut. Mereka-mereka ini perlu diberi kesempatan untuk mengikuti program Pendidikan Guru Sekolah Dasar (PGSD) selama dua tahun.

Katanya Pusat Teknologi, Komunikasi dan Informasi (Pustekkom) Dinas Pendidikan Nasional bekerjasama dengan LPTK, dan Dinas Pendidikan Propinsi/Kabupaten/Kota tahun depan akan melaksanakan program pendidikan jarak jauh, yang akan diujicoba untuk lima propinsi se Indonesia, Yakni Propinsi Riau, Sumatera Barat, Papua, Gorontalo, dan Ujung Pandang.

Pola yang diterapkan melalui program pembelajaran multimedia, dengan melibatkan LPTK yang ada, Dinas Kabupaten/Kota serta Pustekkom Propinsi. Para guru tidak perlu lagi meninggalkan tugas mengajar, dan tentunya proses pembelajaran dapat dilaksanakan secara efektif seperti biasa. Para tutorial dan teknisi dari LPTK yang akan datang ke daerah untuk melakukan proses pembelajaran.

Telah terjadi distribusi hak dan wewenang antara, LPTK, Pustekkom, Dinas Pendidikan, dalam proses pelaksanaan, dan masing-masing tetap menyatukait, dan ada beberapa program yang dilaksanakan secara bersama-sama. Hal ini telah diatur sesuai dengan kesepakatan antara LPTK, Dinas Pendidikan, Pustekkom beberapa waktu yang lalu.

Untuk itu Dinas Pendidikan Propinsi Riau bersama dengan LPTK (FKIP UNRI) akan melaksanakan sosialisasi tentang program ini, telah melakukan rapat koodinasi tanggal 15 November 2003 bersama seluruh kepala Dinas Pendidikan Propinsi Riau. Pada kesempatan itu Pemerintah Pusat melalui Pusat Teknologi, Komunikasi dan Informasi memberikan beberapa informasi pada pertemuan itu. Sehingga kesepakatan untuk melaksanakan program peningkatan Sumber Daya Manusia dalam hal ini "Guru" dapat terwujud sesuai dengan apa yang direncanakan. Semoga!

Arip Nurahman
(Guru dan Dosen Profesional)

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