Despite the obstacles to traditional distance education courses, distance education and social learning theorists suggest effective distance education courses can be developed. For this study, we designed a new distance education course model and attempted to 1) Test the effectiveness of the virtual education center model, understood through the lens of social learning and distance education theories; 2) Discuss potential improvements to the model; and 3) Build upon distance education and social learning theories. To achieve these goals, distance education courses were offered using the new model. Participating faculty and graduate assistants responded to a survey asking about their experiences with the model. Undergraduate learning was assessed by examining students’ quiz grades, the number of times they attempted quizzes and their ratings and comments for each class period. Students demonstrated learning regardless of whether lectures were live or recorded. Faculty members and graduate assistants learned about biorenewable resources and offering courses through distance education; they also made suggestions to improve future distance education courses. The distance education model used in this study is an effective means of educating students, teaching assistants, and faculty members. Implications for distance education theory and distance education efforts are discussed.
Distance education, improvements, social learning, biorenewable resources