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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10791/415

Authors: Johnson, Kathryn R.
Supervisor(s): Dr. Pamela Walsh (Athabasca University)
Examining Committee: Dr. Rory McGreal (Athabasca University)
Dr. William C. Diehl (Penn State University World Campus)
Dr. Irwin DeVries (Thompson Rivers University)
Degree: Doctor of Education (EdD) in Distance Education
Department: Centre for Distance Education
Keywords: open universities
distance education
United States
historical methodology
higher education
Issue Date: 14-Jul-2023
Abstract: This historical comparative study analyzes the political, social, and economic origins of eight open online non-profit English-speaking universities established during the 1970s and 1990s in Canada and the United States. This research project also identifies and compares their institutional antecedents, purposes of learning, and educational characteristics. Canada and the United States are widely recognized in the 21st century for higher education excellence. Their experiences with open online non-profit universities are part of that story. However, American institutions are not often referenced in the literature about open universities. Whereas the two nations share similar historical developments in higher education and distance education specifically, the origins of their open universities have yet to be compared. This study adds a missing piece to the history of distance education while simultaneously contributing to UNESCO’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals by identifying the converging and diverging contextual factors that influenced the origins of these open universities. Open universities are viable and attractive models within the higher education landscape in the context of the 21st-century knowledge society and the economic constraints dominated by neoliberal policies. This research will help higher education policymakers consider establishing, transforming, or expanding their open universities, perhaps even more pressing, given the current need to retool workforce segments due to the economic pressures of a knowledge society and the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Documenting and analyzing the institutional origins gives the higher education community more knowledge about these open online non-profit higher education options.
Graduation Date: Jul-2023
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10791/415
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