Landing : Athabascau University

In Preparation for Live Session #1

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By Hyeyung Park April 14, 2024 - 9:12am

Two papers in the first week provide comprehensive overviews and trends in distance education research. In Forum #1 on the Moodle discussion board, I summarized two papers and expressed my thoughts on distance education research in preparation for Live Session #1.

Bozkurt’s (2019) study examines the intellectual network and dynamics of distance education (DE). Using social network analysis and bibliometrics, it reviews 1,685 articles and over 50,000 references, revealing that DE is an interdisciplinary field integrated into mainstream education. This research identifies a paradigm shift in DE due to advancements in online technologies, especially since the 2000s, marking the evolution of ubiquitous DE. It highlights pivotal contributions in the field and observes temporal patterns and keyword networks in DE literature, emphasizing the role of technological and pedagogical advancements in shaping the field. The study emphasizes DE’s pragmatic nature and technology’s role as an enhancement tool.

Zawacki-Richter and Bozkurt (2023) provide an in-depth analysis of research’s evolution and current state in open, distance, and digital education (ODDE). They discuss the 3 M-Framework of research areas: macro, meso, and micro levels. They also cover thematic scopes of academic journals in ODDE, identifying various research clusters and trends. Additionally, they conduct quantitative content analysis and text-mining, citation and journal network analysis, and systematic reviews to understand research trends in ODDE. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the field is also discussed, highlighting its role as a significant turning point and the emergence of new research directions. They conclude by emphasizing the increasing importance and mainstreaming of ODDE, especially in the context of the ongoing digital transformation in education.

The two articles have given me a better understanding of the dynamics, perspectives, and paradigms associated with distance education research. Since education is complex, multidisciplinary, and interdisciplinary, there is no single method for conducting research that achieves reliable, credible, accurate, and verifiable results. When researchers know their research area in ODDE and map out their research with appropriate philosophical, ontological, and epistemological approaches, they can produce academically valuable research.


Bozkurt, A. (2019). Intellectual roots of distance education: A progressive knowledge domain analysis. Distance Education40(4), 497–514.

Zawacki-Richter, O., & Bozkurt, A. (2023). Research trends in open, distance, and digital Education. In: Zawacki-Richter, O., Jung, I. (eds) Handbook of Open, Distance and Digital Education. Springer, Singapore.