technology, practices, higher education, degree programs, certificate programs, distance education


Who would have ever imagined the effect of one set of distance education principles developed 10 years ago (1995)? At a time in the history of distance- and e-learning, when many associations, organizations, and institutions set about to define themselves and those standards by which their constituents would be held accountable for quality practices, one set of standards has emerged preeminent the work of the Western Cooperative of Educational Telecommunications known as Best Practices for Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs. Even Though the original 17 principles enumerated in 1995 have evolved to 27 in 2005, all institutions of higher education and and all regional accrediting commissions in the United States now endorse these principles. This article celebrates the 10-year history of these principles by providing the reader a glimpse of their beginnings, changes, and eventual widespread adoption. Four documents that span this story and evolution and use by regional accrediting commission are briefly introduced:

Original Publication Citation

Howell, S. & Baker, K. (2006). Good (best) practices for electronically-offered degree and certificate programs—A 10-year retrospect. Distance Learning. . . For Educators, Trainers, and Leaders,3(1),pp. 41–47.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Distance Learning... For Educators




David O. McKay School of Education


Instructional Psychology and Technology

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor