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Thursday, August 6, 2015

What is the Difference Between the Distance Education Formats

ISA members are invited to send in their questions on all things appraising and education to Leon Castner, ISA CAPP. Leon will share his answers on the ISA Now Blog. Please send questions to

Question: What is the difference between all of the Distance Education formats that ISA has to offer?

Answer: ISA offers three types of distance learning experiences for our students, all of which are excellent venues that provide a class catered to their specific needs. They include the following: regular “Distance Education,” “Self-paced Online,” and “Live Online.”

Regular Distance Education

Regular Distance Education is the “old” version or original version of the process. Students receive their textbooks, a tracking sheet for assignments, and are assigned an instructor who will communicate with them on a regular basis, answering questions and grading lessons. These communications are done via email at the pace of the student. There are numerous assignments or lessons that must be completed after reading chapters in the manual. They are sent to the instructor for grading and are returned as a PASS or a REVISE. The student may not continue until each section has received a PASS. The instructor will offer guidance and review the material on a timely basis. The instructor may be available for a review prior to the final exam, which is usually given via proctor at a local university or institution.

Generous timeframes for the courses are set at the outset with the possibility of extensions. Students proceed at their own pace and are not reminded (pestered) to proceed. Most students have some difficulty in completing these quickly since outside influences often conflict with study time, but they do provide an easy option for those not able to take an on-site offering of the same class. The Core Course in Appraisal Studies, the Requalification class, and the two specialty courses (Antiques & Residential Contents and Fine Art) are all available in this format.

Self-Paced Online

Self-paced online is basically the typical home study version that allows the student to read the material, watch a short video, and then answer assessment questions according to their own schedule. Interaction with an instructor is minimal, but a few assignments are still required that need instructor’s personal approval. A final exam is given, usually administered through the learning program.

We call this the Online Learning Center. Students may send messages through an online forum and progress is tracked automatically as the student continues. The Core Course in Appraisal Studies is currently the main course presented in this manner.

Live Online

A live online class is a webinar type program that uses your computer and/or phone lines to join the class with other students. It is done at specific set times with an instructor who lectures using video chat. Students can usually see the instructor and watch a side screen at the same time. The instructor may use video, power point, or other documents to enhance the presentation, just as on does in a classroom.

Students will be asked to participate by answering questions posed by the instructor. Short breaks may be given during the presentation, especially if the class is over one hour in length. If an exam is given, it may be administered in an online fashion, although most of these courses at present do not include exams, except for the 15-Hour initial USPAP. Attendance is kept by tracking participation by the instructor. This format only requires the use of a computer with microphone/audio capability. The ISA Requalification Course and the USPAP 15- and 7-hour courses are presented in this fashion.

Regarding Yesterday's ISA Now Technical Error

Dear Subscriber,

Yesterday, you received an email from ISA Now containing a blog post that was published in February of this year. The platform that we use to publish these posts, FeedBurner, has a glitch in its system that has been known to occasionally resend outdated posts. While this error is simply technical and is not the fault of anyone associated with ISA, we sincerely apologize for the confusion this has caused. We are well aware of the error and are working to ensure that it remains a one-time occurrence.

We assure you that neither Perri Guthrie, nor the ISA board or staff, had a hand in the resending of this outdated post. Please note that ISA staff is addressing the issue with FeedBurner and is investigating alternative distribution sources.

We thank you for your patience and understanding.


Joseph M. Jackson, CAE
Executive Director