Master of Education in Distance Education (MDDE) 605

Planning and Management in Distance Education

Course cover

Delivery Mode: Group Study (with eTextbook)

Credits: 3

Prerequisite: None.

Availability: All terms

Note: MEd program students must complete Mdde601 & Mdde602 prior to all other courses
Early access to the Moodle Learning Management System begins a few days before the official start date of your course. At that time you will have limited course access.


Most distance education professionals are eventually required to perform some form of management role within their organization.  They may become team leaders, managers, or program directors in the public or private sector. In some cases, individuals find themselves leading DE organizations or creating a new DE unit or company.

These management roles require individuals to employ different skills and knowledge.  The aim of MDDE 605: Planning and Management in Distance Education is to prepare students to plan, manage and successfully lead a distance education organization.

Course Goals

Upon completion of MDDE 605: Planning and Management in Distance Education you will be able to produce an implementation plan for the creation of a new distance education enterprise or distance training unit within an existing academic institution, corporate organization, or government department. The distance education implementation plan will have the following characteristics:

  • Be founded in a specific business or educational opportunity that reflects the reality of the business expertise of the target organization;
  • Reflect the strategic direction of the target organization, and be founded in sound strategic planning;
  • Reflect an appropriate distance learning business structure;
  • Be financially viable and embrace the principles of effective financial planning;
  • Identify ways to measure success;
  • Reflect sound leadership and management in the planning and implementation of the proposed distance learning enterprise.

Course Outline

The course includes six units:

  • Unit 1: Distance Education Business Opportunities and the Planning Process
  • Unit 2: Analyzing a Potential Distance Education Business
  • Unit 3: Defining an Organization's Strategic Direction
  • Unit 4: Creating the Distance Education Business Plan
  • Unit 5: Financial Planning
  • Unit 6: Implementing the Plan

Learning Resources


Norlin,  E. M., &  Travis, T. A. (2008).  E-Learning and business plans: National and international case studies.  Lanham MD: The Scarecrow Press Inc.

Kimball, C., & Linsenman, C. (2015). Start your own eLearning or training business:  Your step-by-step guide to success. Irvine CA: Entrepreneur Press.

Other Materials

Online Study guide and Readings

Student Assessment

Students are required to complete a course project consisting of three related assignments. As learners complete one assignment, they are expected to make modifications based on the feedback from the instructor and to continue to build on their next assignment based on the previous one.   The assignments will consist of the creation of business proposal, the creation of strategic plan based on the proposal, and the production of a business plan to implement the distance education organization.

Activity Credit Weight
Assignment 1: Produce a Business Proposal for a DE Organization 25%
Assignment 2: Produce a Distance Education Strategic Plan 30%
Assignment 3: Create a Distance Education Business Plan and Financial Plan 35%
Course Participation: Active participation in forum discussions 10%
Total 100%

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.