Out of the Shadow and Into the Spotlight: The Development of Distance Teaching in Norwegian Higher Education

  • Gunnar Grepperud
  • Anne Marie Støkken
  • Jan Atle Toska
Keywords: distance education, Norway, online education

Abstract

On October 4, 1914, The Norwegian Correspondence School (NKS) accepted its first student, a woman, who, for a fee of NOK 10, registered for two courses (Amdam and Bjarnar, 1989). Seventy-five years later, distance education has become an important part of Norwegian higher education. However, there are several reasons why distance teaching did not gain acceptance in Norwegian higher education earlier. One of is the well-known skepticism of distance teaching as a strategy, the other was the adoption of other modes of making higher education accessible to more people, such as offering part-time studies and de-centralized study programmes in locations without higher education institutions. In Norway, because geography has been more of an obstacle than social class, might help explain the greater focus on building traditional education institutions during this period (Støkken 1999).

Author Biographies

Gunnar Grepperud
Dr. Gunnar Grepperud is a Professor of Distance Education at the University of Tromsø, which holds the distinction of being the northern most university in the world. He also holds a Professor II position at Lillehammer College. Prof. Grepperud's research is focused on ICT-based education, and new models of regional flexible learning, higher education, and lifelong learning. From 1981-1990, he worked with Teacher Education at the University of Tromsø, after which he became the first Director of The Norwegian National Agency for Flexible Learning in Higher Education (SOFF) from 1990 to 1995. From 1994 to 1998, he was the Director of External Studies at the University of Tromsø. Professor Grepperud is a Board Member with several Norwegian governmental institutions that work with ICT, adult education, and school development.
Anne Marie Støkken
Dr. Anne Marie Støkken is an Associate Professor at Agder University College in Norway. Previously she worked as a Docent at Bodø Regional University and as a Director of Nordlandsforskning (Nordland Research Institute). Although she earned her Ph.D. in Sociology, for the past ten years Prof. Støkken's major interest and topic of research has been distance education. Her 1999 thesis - The Invisible Academia (Det usynlige Akademia) - is a study focusing on the process of introducing distance education in higher education institutions in Norway during the 1990s. Prof. Stsøkken has also been conducting research on welfare state services and the private-public mix in the welfare sector in Norway and in Tanzania.
Jan Atle Toska
Prof. Jan Atle Toska is the current Director of The Norwegian National Agency for Flexible Learning in Higher Education (SOFF). Before becoming the Director of SOFF in 1995, Prof. Toska worked for three years as a Research Fellow at the University of Oslo, and then for six years as a Senior Executive Officer and Advisor in the Norwegian Ministry of Education. Prof. Toska's main area of interest is institutional strategy and policy development in higher education as it relates to the introduction of information and communication technology (ICT) in teaching and learning. Prof. Toska has a Cand. Phil. degree from the University of Bergen.
Published
2002-01-01
How to Cite
Grepperud, G., Støkken, A. M., & Toska, J. A. (2002). Out of the Shadow and Into the Spotlight: The Development of Distance Teaching in Norwegian Higher Education. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 2(2). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v2i2.60
Section
Research Articles