Open access peer-reviewed chapter

Strategic Decision of Non-Profit State Universities: Turning to Open and Distance Education

By Ali Rıza Erdem

Submitted: November 2nd 2011Reviewed: March 19th 2012Published: September 19th 2012

DOI: 10.5772/48081

Downloaded: 1614

1. Introduction

“The King Philippoemenis, the king of Akhaia people who fought with Troyans, is one of the praises modern historians about that always, even in peace time, dealt with management techniques. While walking in the area, he frequently asked his friends about war “If the army of the enemy were located on the hill over there and our army was located here, which of us would have more advantages? How could get near them without changing our war order? Or, what would we do to withdraw? How would we run after them if they attempted to withdraw?” Namely, he frequently used to talk to his friends over such matters on the land, trying to know about their opinions and telling them about his opinions and the reasons for his own opinions. Undoubtedly, thanks to such reasoning efforts, he would almost never face to a solution-free problem to drive his army in war-times. For me, that’s the clever king! He never wastes his time during the peace time and makes every possible preparation in time to benefit when necessary.”
Nicollo Machiavelli

Undoubtedly, the 21st century has been exposed to an incredible pace and changes could be realised in many ways ranging from econimics and politics to administration. However, such a fast change has brought ambiquity together which invariably leads to sudden variations for inner and outer layers of organizations. However, such a case is likely to mean both opportunities and threats.

Actually, not only Chance, the ambiquity evolving with the change but also opportunities and threats appearing with the ambiquity play a pivot role in maintenance of the organization. Thus, the earlier an organization figures out these opportunities and threats in the changing process and develops a strategy and makes up a rigorous vision, the more likely it could develop its existence and role. Otherwise, maintenance of an organization will be at considerable risk.

For a system (an individual or an organization), change refers to transformation into another dimension, regardless that it is on purpose or not. Thus, change means an inevitable process of maintenance in which the major consideration is transformation into another state (Sağlam, 1979; Çelebioğlu, 1988; TDK 1992; Özdemir, 1996; Yeniçeri 2002). Therefore, organizations cannot remain without contacting to their environment and so they are expected to keep the pace of ever-changing conditions. In that way, the maintenance of organizations in such conditions plays a pivot role in seeing what they are supposed to offer rigorously.

According to Şimşek (1997) organizational change were explained through several theories. According to “classical-functional perception”,the organization could only keep the pace of change step by step. However, “new functional perception”suggests that the organization should adopt itself to the changes in its environment by taking radical and methamorphic methods of change. On the other hand, according to “system theories”the organization is exposed to change as in the biological change process of an organism: the birth (inception), maturity (transformation) and death (deterioration or undermining). Ones suggesting “organizational ecology”judging from Darwin’s theory that “only the most flexible ones could remain”, claim that only the system adopting the environment at best could maintain whereas the others will disappear over time through “natural selection”. According to “organizational development approach”, remaining could be realized only by controlling the 5 variables (strategy, consruction, technology, culture and administration) which play major role in the system. According to the “commentator and symbolist”approach, realist is not objective as objectivity is not available to bring a satisfying explanation for the individual nature of the human beings. To make conclusion, it seems probable that social systems are a collection of the meanings which are purposed by the human beings to contribute the reality. Thus, the change is to start by considering the individdl in the system and his point of view about the world. According to “paradigmatic change”,change is an interconnected process of evaluational and revolutional changes and so prolonged evolutional processes are disrupted by revolutions at short intervals.

Change” is not invariably a phenomenon which is merely native to our age, but the major source of power which makes “change” invariable is that the knowledge we have is exposed to constant change and its coverage area have continuously enlarged. Thus, the term “change” seems to have forced every society, institution, corporation and organization and everybody to take the warning of Prahalad seriously “you’ll die if you do not change”.As a result, the pace, power and effect of change has reached today to incredible levels. However, what the term “change” means to organizations as a whole could still be explained as “risk” while its opposite refers to “stability” which will essentially mean the least change possible in the organization (Gibson, 1997, Gates, 2000). Therefore, the most advisable trend between the systems are usually known as the “balance”and because the changes (in other systems) around every organization will necesssarity disrupt the current balance, the case will make another state of balance almos inevitable. In this respect, our age – the 21st century – will surely be a remarkable period in which we will be exposed to a great many of changes. In fact, within the new respect, for individuals and organization, “the change” has become a must now to remain rather than development or advancement (Şimşek, 1997; Ceyhan & Summak, 1999; Tabancalı, 2000). Briefly, management of the innovation and even being the pioneer of this process (performance of new changes) seems crucial as a part this inevitable process.

1.1. Strategic decision

“So it is said that if you know others and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know others, but do know yourself, you win one and lose one; if you do not know others and do not know yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.”
Sun Tzu

According to Bursalıoğlu (1991)making decision” is the first major step is management, and so any organization is supposed to have the ability for decision to be more effective. Therefore, “making decision” starts with the perception of the state to reach a decision. It could also be expossed as a method or a process of an ability to make choise among two or more options by taking all possibilities into consideration. As a management concept which refers to making a choise, “making decision”is an indispensable part of the administrational process, so it is quite usual to see this process in any level or funtions of the administration. In addition, management is a function of making decisions. That’s why, making decision in administration level is of a vital role to reach organizational aims in an efficient way because the decisions given by administrators are, at times, likely to affect the staff, the partners as well as related social groups even through these decision many indicate differences depending on their administration status (Koçel, 1995; Lucey, 1991; Aydeniz, 2002). According to Koçel (1995), “Making decision is a process which has a starting point, it but differs after this point due to many different professions, activities and ideas and this process ends up with a choice. Therefore, it is impossible for an administration to give up “making decision” wherever he takes place in the organization, no matter what he deals with, whether he loves his profession or not. In that way, “making decision”is such a prior responsibility of the administrator that administration could now be explained as the profession of “making right decision” as the succes or failure of the organization is directly relevant to his decision; therefore, in modern organization “making decision” is regarded as the basic element of administration”. Namely, as “making decision” about what to do, who to do as well as when, where and what to do will take up much of their time, they consider “making decision” their most inevitable mission.

Organizations may, at times, need to reach different decisions depending on the situation and such decisions could vary ranging from being strategic, routine or non-routine to being operational, sub-level or upper-level. Organizational decisions could vary ranging from ones under certain conditions to uıncertain situations. In that way, strategic decision is a large combination of upper-level decisions arranging the relations of the organization with its environment (Eren, 2008).

In making strategic decisions, the most crucial step is the performance of “SWOT Analysis” referring to: (S) Strengths (Strength aspects of the organization), (W) Weaknesses (weak aspects of the organization), (O) Opportunities (the opportunities which the organization obtains), (T) Threats (the threats and dangers which the organization faces). SWOT analysis makes up an analysis as to inner and outer case because any organization must be aware of the developments in their environment. Therefore, obtaining remarkable success in today’s world which is exposed to non-stop winds of change in economic, socio-cultural and technological respects, as well as newly appearing performance criteria, organizations are supposed to develop new strategies which will provide them the maximum advantage possible, taking their weak and powerful sides. Today, this point is undoubtedly of critical importance for many organizations which are in jeopardy. At this point, organizations should be familiar with into their own bodies so as to strategic vitality of “SWOT Analysis” and adopt it come up with new strategies in addition to using their sources and capacities at highest level possible by performing rigorous and systematic analysis. When seen in this respect, SWOT analysis could be considered a technique used to underline the weak or powerful sides of the condition as well as figuring out outside-inspired opportunities and threats to the organization. SWOT analysis, therefore, consists of a comprehensive study of positive and negative factors thriving in organizational and environmental factors. Initially, an “inside-analysis” is performed to put forward both weak and powerful sides. At this stage, the organization is exposed to “self-cirticism” in terms of sources (input), current strategy (the process) and so-far performance (output). As a result, such self-respect will allow the organization gets through a process of “outer analysis” so as comprehend the position of the organization compered with other organizations as well as imminent threats and oppurtunities in the future. It should be noted that organizations fail to percivbe in time such outer threats, developments and as a result because they couldn’t make up required strategies in time, they mostly tens to close themselves to innovations, falling in a feeling of relief. Such a risk is notably much more serious even for many organizations which enjoyed great success in the past. As a result, for any organization, “outer-analysis” must refer to a comprehensive analysis of the recent developments in global and national politics, social, economic and technologic power conditions of outer-competition as well as judgement and perceptional changes native to the groups which are served. Undoubtedly, such an analysis aims at considering what should be seen as an opportunity or threat in outer environment (Ansoff & Declerck & Hayes, 1976; Mintzberg, 1994; Bryson, 1995; Steiner, 1997).

1.2. Non-profit state universities

“Being free of dependency by knowledge shouldn’t mean the overall superiority in the world, but it should refer to be free of imaginative mistakes and mis-beliefs a along with allowing the mind to be free in order to criticize our own opinions.”
Karl. R. Popper

In Latin language, the term “university” derives from “universitas” which refered to “uniformity” in the Medival Age. During the period, at “church-centered university” between 12th and 15th centuries, education was performed based on a certain programme including scientific, political and theological subjects. Initially, the original universities which are thought to have evolved in Paris and Bologna we under the pressure of both the Holy Rom Empir of the civil outhority and the Papal which meant the theologic outhority. Nevertheless, the theologic outhority of Papal was gradually replaced beginning in the 16th century, by the state’s own outhority. The new programmes aimed rather at training administrators for the state’s own instutions than the ecclesiastic population. Then, it was the 19th century that universities became an important means all walks of life, offering an advantage for individuals to reach higher status consistent with their own skills. Then, it was in the early 19th century that universities established the philosophic foundations of getting social status complying with the individual’s own skills. Throughout the late 18th century and early 19th century, a greaty many of European universities were demolished by Napoleon and Frenh universities were turned out to be a state organ and the aim of them was re-defined as the training of elite staff consistent with the central government’s own ideology. In that way, the higher education system of Europe experienced a re-established process as the national higher –education system of countries. In the early 19th century, the main function of the university was keeping the knowledge and transmitting it to prosperities, namely, it was called “training & education”. However, over time, intellectual responses evolved in Prussia against Franch domaince. For that reason, Prussian King Frederick appointed William Vom Humboldt to re-organize the education system in the country Humboldt, who initially conducted the establishment project of Berlin University (then called as Humboldt University) come up with a system named for his name. According to the system: (1) Universities should be bodies in which the training & education is conducted as a whole in all scientific reals consistent with research activities. (2) Major functions of the university, apart from the vocational & technical higher schools; is its performance ability in education & training and research without addressing to a profession. Thus, the major aim is allowing individuals to build up a novel concept about them. In this respect, “seminars” provide a large spectrum of freedom to the education staff and the student in chosing any subject freely which they wish to teach and to learn. As a result, the aim of the study is “science for science”. (3) The owner of the university not the state, but the nation itself and what the state is supposed to do is to meet the need for education staff, to pay wages and to provide ideal conditions requied for their study. In addition, the academic staff and students should be able to conduct their search and training without having any religious and politic pressure by which the concept of modern university evolved in Germany with effects of French Revolution and Napolean Wars and the new concept was based on accumulation of scientific knowledge within the principal of universal education for free of charge. By the second half of the 20th century, this new university system Humboldt form was reviewed and shaped compabitable with a modern concept. Then, as of the second half of the last century, ever-increasing universities in the USA have had two following major characteristics: (1) Inclusion of fundamental scientific and practical studies with “social services” into major responsibilities of the university. (2) Enhancement of vocational training and ever increasing investments reserved by the public and private business in the maintenance of universities’ functions. Moreover, granting the right of education to each individual within mass higher education mentality coincides in the same period. Beginning in this period, university pulpits have been increasingly replaced by more flexible departments (Güler, 1994; Gürüz ve diğerleri, 1994; Gürüz, 2001; Korkut, 2001; Arap, 2010).

According to Kwiek (2002), the concept of modern university is a combination of intellectual studies of German philosophers ranging from Kant and Fichte to Schiermacher and Wilhelm Von Humboldt. According to them: (1) The University was left by the German philosophers to the nation–state’s initative. (2) University is traditionally, as a whole, a considerable consumer of public income. Gürüz (2001), suggests that because modern universities largely depend on public income, autonomy of seems impossible. Therefore, Gürüz argues conversion into “enterprising university model” which is largely based on the variation of activities and income sources. The major reason, according to Gürüz, for the inevitable conversion is that: “Today’s contemporaray, universities are bodies which shape their activities often considering social expectations and requirements as well as the sources allocated to themselves rather than personal judgemenets of their own academic staff. In other words, modern universities are heavily contemporary institutions which have been accepted by all sides of the society, open to social inspection onto how much they perform their ressibilites. They also allow their activities to be driven by the society itself along with creating additional financial sources by evaluating any equipment, facility, knowledge, experiment and human sources they have. Modern universities are, meanwhile, highly sophisticated bodies driven by modern administrational techniques”. According to Didou (2002), the USA and Canada, both of which have an upper level of higher education system, regard education as an item to market, and as a financial source marketing mentality. According to Scott (2002), the considerable increase in the number of business university should be seen a remarkable sign the commercialized university education. On the other hand, according to Slaughter & Leselie (1999), university has recently driven within marketing mentality like huge corporations, too. More, universities have gradually seen knowledge as a marketable item on the market. Thus, it is the market itself which will decide on what courses to be given, what kind of studies to be performed or which student profile to be served along with which registration policy to be follow. In that way, the mentality of strategic planning, total quality managemenet and ISO documents have increasingly been institutionalized in many universities, too. On the other hand, the number of part-time of temporary employed academic staff has incredibly boomed so as to enhance productivity and efficiency in universities. In addition, it is now an undeniable fact that the academic staff is exposed to great pressure to perform new attempts for an enhanced academic staff program spectrum (cited by Lee 2002). According to Kwiek (2002), such a trend refers that: “universities making steps neoliberal mentality will, over time, invariably turn into business corporations as a whole and this case will never satisfy them. This could be, nevertheless, will mean the end of the university as a modern body”.


2. Changing status of state universities in our globalizing world

“You cannot have a shower in the same river once more, because the water runs continuallly.”

It is a common claim that the modern world has entered into the globalisation era. While globalization discourses are increasing nowadays, the debates have centered on transformation and re-structuring of economy, culture and politics in global perspective. The process called “globalization” has nearly been an inevitable part of our routine. In other words, “globalization” includes with both its effects and comments of it, enlarged and more developed economic, social and political affairs of countries, increased capital activities, the end of all kinds of polarizations that are based idelogic discrimination, well-awareness of different social cultures and their beliefs and expectations as well as intensed relations of countries. Globalization theories are heavily placed in Giddens (1994, 2000), Harvey (1997) and Robertson’s (1999) spectrums. Giddens (1994, 2000), defines the globalization as a process in which remote habitats could be related to each other, local phenomena could sometimes be affected by events occurring in remote places and intensified social relations. According to him, globalization is a conversion process which comes true in places over time. Therefore, social action should be taken out of local dimensions and reshaped within the place and time it occurs. Thus, globalization does not only or primarily refer to economic inter-depency of countries but also mean the conversion of the place and time in which we live. Whether they are financial or not, undoubtedly, the events occurring in remote locations affect us now more directly and instantly than the ones in the past. Therefore, it could be assumed that globalization is comprised of certain sophisticated processes evolving with the combination of political and ecoınomic effect as. Harvey (1997), defines globalization as gradually increasing discrepancy in terms of time and location while. Robertson (1999) expresses globalization by underlining the relevant process. In his view, the mutual effection between local and global factors is major factors and in global process, the local ones built up. Robertson, in addition, suggests that globalization is not a newly appearing term, but it is of gradually increasing phases beginning in as early as the 15th century. It seems possible to divide the approaches as to globalization into three groups: (1) Ones who are golalized perspectiveconsider globalization to be a dynamic shaping the contemporary world and therefore they generously support the approach. To them, such approaches will inevitable know priority to economy whereas matters like politics and cultures are sub-variables depending on the economy. (2) The sceptic perceptionis of a negative point of view about globalization and therefore, it harshly ciriticizes the establishment of economic hegemonia, suggesting that globalization is a totally deceptive concept and so it is necessary to talk about making globalizaed instead of globalization (3) The transmissive perceptionsees globalization as a process which both consists of numerous opportunities and risks. As a result, almost all walks of life are essentially affected by the globalization process which mainly leads cultural, politics, economic and social affairs to undergo considerable changes. Today, unprecedented changes in communication, transportation and computes technologies have raisen a new impedus in the globalization process. For this reason, circulation of the capital power has inevitably forced huge corporations to re-organize themselves, as well as demolishing rules, as it doesn’t care much about local and national policies. In the meantime, changes in society and the population, economic, changes, family types and changing life styles are only some of the major changes caused by globalization. On the other hand, positive and negative effects of globalization process have also been traditionallty discussed. In this respect, the establishment of common values of human beings, the spreading of new concepts such as human rights, fredoom and justice, the understanding of the global need the qualified human source, the enhancement of opportunities for a healthy life, the chance for free-travel, the establishment of common education policies between countries are surely considered among major positive impacts of globalization. On the other hand, among positive effects are the undermining of such concepts as fredoom or national sovereignity considering national boundries non-existent acceleration of poverty and misery as well as distribution of wealth and prosperity, the dilemma for countries between being a part of globalization and the maintenance of national solidarity (Giddens, 1994; Harvey, 1997; Robertson, 1999; Giddens, 2000; DPT, 2000; Çoban, 2002; Balay, 2004; Çalık & Sezgin, 2005; Zengingönül, 2005; Dağlı, 2007; Şen, 2008; Çeken & Ökten & Ateşoğlu, 2008; Erol, 2010).

Undoubtedly, today’s world is exposed to fast changes and ever-changing conditions bring a great many of innovations together, as well. Such national and international changes and innovations have inevitably affected almost all individuals and institutions in the society. Political, social, economic and technologic changes which have notably gained impetus from the last quarter of the 20th century on have increasingly continued in the 21st century, too. In this process, it is certain that the lessening cost and spreading of information technologies have eliminated such concepts as distance and borders as of the very beginning of the 21st century, universities have undergone an unprecedented innovation process which cannot be considered as not only the simultaneous results of efforts to reach more functional system in global higher education compatible with the 21st century and the third millennium, but also the process based on pure technology which could afford to affect all walks of life. Such a case could probably be caused by the coincidence of technologic abilities leading to changes and the 21st century. In this process, higher education has also gradually been a lobal field, leaving its old traditional concepts native to countries. Thus, higher education system of developed nations has increasinly been exposed to a constant flux of students, due to ever-increasing demand from developing countries. For instance, the numbers of foreign students at higher education instutions of OECD countries have reached 1.6 million, doubling in the last two decades. On the other hand, developments in information technologies have evolved a novel situation in global higher education which is completely free of student circulation. Thus, the most remarkable form of such a new case could be named as “programme mobility” by which students could register their name and get a university degree through virtuall programmes without needing to go or stay abroad for another country’s education programmes. Another form which has recently evolved is that universities of developed nation’s offer education service by establishing new campuses in other countries, which could be assumed “institutional mobility”. As a result, we could conclude that globalization is of great effects on higher education ranging from ever-lessening bufgets allocated to higher education service, I wish for benefiting from opportunities, training with technologic support, gradually increased volume of student market on global based and newly appearing challenges and dictations over ones who are in this field. Meanwhile, among major factors compelling the university to changes / innovations are financial challenges needs of the changing society as well as effects of the market. To obtain a considerable status, almost each new university has aspired new titles such as “the university of the 21st century” or “multiversity”. In such a competitive process, it seems hardly inevitable for state universities, as non-profit bodies, to presume any opportunity and threat so as to develop promising strategies and vision, bing derminers at instable times (Erdem, 2002; Günay 2007; YÖK, 2007; Çınar, 2009; Odabaşı & Fırat & İzmirli & Çankaya & Mısırlı, 2010).

2.1. Globalization and its effects on state universities

“…..planning, management and achieving success could never be more challenging than establishment of a new system. Ones who prefer the conventional system on will surely be against and defend themselves against revolutionists.”
Nicollo Machiavelli

Undoubtedly, one of the most prominent winds of change in the 20th century is the globalized world which is, in fact, highly new term surging originally in the 1960s. Then, the use of the term “globalization” gradually increased until the 1980s. Even though, as a concept, “globalization” initially referred to the “globalized village” in the 1960s, beginning in the 1980s, scientists increasingly turned their attention to “globalization” to study it in a systematic way along with a theoretical respect based on the process itself. When it came to 1990s, “globalization” proved to be a key term for scientists. Today, too many people, “globalization” should refer to a phrase related to liberalism in terms of economy or universality of democratic concepts while some others regard “globalization” as universal human rights, ecological problems or everything that includes all above. One the other hand, one supporting ever-changing see “globalization” as a process containing both opportunities and risk. In this respect, it seems true that explanations concerning “globalization”do not match with the each other. Namely, on one hand, “globalization” may refer to the close affairs of nations in terms of politics, economics and communication and so which is getting smaller and smaller. On the other hand, “globalization” refers to a worldwide capitalism, the effort to create a global market as well as the way of capitalists to establish an absolute sovereignty all over the world (DPT, 1995; DPT, 2000; Erdem, 2002; Gündüz, 2002; Kızılçelik, 2002; Sönmez, 2002; Gürak, 2003; Tural, 2004; ILO, 2006; Milli, 2006; Çeken & Ökten & Ateşoğlu, 2008; Erol, 2010; Balkar & Özgan, 2010). Meanwhile, “globalization” is also claimed to be as the inevitable result of modern science and new technologies which is mainly based on economic power and has four major dimensions of politics, culture, technology and economics. All systems in the society are necessarily affected by these four dimensions (Karlsen, 2002; McBurnie, 2002). With the globalization, it seems now indisputable that globalization has also accelerated regional collaborations and projects by which all social institutions have experienced changes and such collaborations and project have invariably caused all social institutions including economics to experience considerable changes, as well (DPT, 1995; DPT, 2000; Didou-Aupetit, 2002). Moreover, it could be concluded that such changes have also affected the traditional approach to democracy which makes up the society itself. Moreover, globalization will allow certain democratic movements and bodies to urge more commonly while regional collaborations and projects will contribute democracy to appear more frequently. However, it seems probable that certain movements against democracy will also become more often in the society and this also likely to limit the development and expansion of democracy.

According to Kwiek (2002), here as three major factors contributing the transformation of higher education: (1) The collapse of the vital role of nation-state in social and economic development as well as the notion that higher education is a national fortune contributing the national awareness. (2) Re-establishment of the functions of the social-welfare referring to a new point of view concerning the public sector which will be financed by the state itself. (3) All over the world, the whole public sector has been occupied by private company mentality. As a result, higher education is not considered a public sector any more. More, problems related to higher education are not native to the Middle and Eastern Europe, but they are now global ones which are in need of solutions through global organizations such as IMF and OECD.

Undoubtedly, as regional collaborations have gained speed with the effect of globalization, they have opened up new changes in education, notably in higher education. According to Didou-Aupetit’e (2002), NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement), this was signed between the USA, Mexico and Canada and introduced on 1st of January 1994 has been a turning point in re-establishment of the Higher Education System in Mexico. Thanks to the programs conducted by NAFTA, model accreditation system, mutual recognition of academic diplomats and development of professional competition has been realized in the country. Globalization is also claimed to have affected higher education system in many ways. According to Yang ve Vidovich’e (2002), we could see the effects of globalization over higher education system at four points: economic benefits (close observations on universities due to their considerable economic contributions), decline in budget and financial pressure, and teaching with technological support and with the enlarged share of international student market, establishment of the rules over the ones who offer this service. However, it is also true that globalization has affected higher education systems in developed countries. According to Johnstone, there are two major headlines affecting the agenda of higher education institutions in the USA: (1) The reform over development of training, improving the standards, advancement of programs, recognition of the needs of ever-changing student population. (2) Decreased sources and increased costs in higher education. As a result, some quarters turn their attention to the business world in order to rebuild the higher education system (decreased costs, function and bureaucracy).

Colleges and universities in the US have also considered ways so as to lessen their costs, close some departments, programs or institutions, as well as measuring of performance the teaching staff, loading extra responsibilities onto them and privatization of various institutions. According to cites by Halimi, public judgment as a “result of globalization” in France have expanded as parallel to demands of central and local authorities (Tural, 2002). On the other hand, globalization offers a number of opportunities. According to Aktay (2002), universities students and academicians are now likely to reach global opportunities via internet access. According to Kellner (2002), changes just at the beginning of the 21st century have also opened up new technologies such as computerization, communication and multimedia. However, according to Scott (2002), globalization is the greatest challenge to against universities and has brought many threats together. According to him, the university is exposed to three major challenges caused by globalization: (1) The discordant relation between globalization and traditional role of the university in national culture (2) A more homogenized education system, which is caused by the effect of communication and informatics technologies and the culture of global research, has inevitably weakened the “differences” which are usually expressed as “national cultures”. (3) The gradual deterioration in social function of the state with globalization has also weakened financial aspect of public universities, declining their income levels. According to Apple (2002) and Aktay (2002), globalization has invariably brought about “a gap opportunity” in secondary and higher education between ones from lower class and middle class. According to Lee (2002), another threat lies under the declined shares and funds in many countries. According to Kellner (2002), there has recently appeared a “digital gap” also known “digital division” between ones, including in higher education, which do have knowledge and technology and ones who do not. “Digital gap” (digital divide)” draws on absolute frontier between the universities which could offer technology and knowledge and the ones which could not. Therefore, this case should be regarded as a considerable obstacle.

2.2. Paradigms of changing state university

“Actually, yesterday is invariably gone, my friend! There are a lot of new things to mention today.”

Changes which have speeded up since the last quarter of the twentieth century have directly affected and re-establish the paradigms related to state universities. Today changing state university paradigms with the effect of globalization could be categorized under seven headlines (Apple, 2002; Didou-Aupetit, 2002; Lee, 2002; McBurnie, 2002; Yang & Vidovich, 2002; Scott, 2002; Tural, 2002; Arslanoğlu, 2002; Yılmaz & Horzum, 2005; Rehber, 2007): (1) Association of the affair between the state and universities with market economy: Gradually increasing importance of market economy have naturally affected the mentality of public administration and applications. As a result, the state, which provides financial support to the university, has changed its point of view to the university. Thus, market mentality and certain market applications have irresistibly replaced the traditional point of view in public administration. For instance, Baker who was the Education Secretary of Teacher’s Government warned universities to care more about the training of individuals whom the state needed in terms of qualifications and quantities. (2) That the university autonomy has gradually replaced the requirement for “judgment before the public”: The society, which offers universities, many financial opportunities, is now able to use the right for inspection through public mind. Now, universities feel themselves obviously responsible to the all steps of the society which give universities vast financial sources. However, this mentality contradicts with the academic freedom in a way. (3) Effective use of science and technology in researches, training & education service and cyber education: Information technology have now been used highly efficiently in maintenance of formal, distance and virtual higher education programmes. As a result, the higher education service could be available to more students in different places in a more efficient way. (4) More internationalist mentality in universities: Today, universities in developed countries welcome in their bodies not only national learners and researches but also international ones. Moreover, they are in fierce competition to attract more students and researchers from all over the world. (5) Regarding universities as a society of knowledge, a financial source, and a complex body rather than just a society of teachers and students: While training qualified individuals who are needed by the society, they do not take the employment rates into consideration to a large extent. In this respect, it is certain that they usually focus on fields coherent with the market itself. According to Currie (1998) the mentality of “the market trends know the best of all” has inevitably affected the university itself, as well (cited from Kwiek, 2002) (6) Tendency to a pragmatic university: In pragmatic university suggested by Valimaa (1999), being on academician should mean multi-dimensioned effort because in changing conditions, academicians feel obliged to market their speciality at the markets in and out the university. Such a case, according to him, puts of marketing and consultancy role on them as well as their traditional role on education and research. (7) Competition among the state universities and multiplying of them: They are private national institutions, private foreign institutions, certificate centers with national and foreign partners, national and foreign cyber education serves, and ones which offer mixed education services. It is also clear that the number of such competitors have increased day by day.

In addition, concerning the effect of latest changes in the world on higher education, we could also conclude the following realities (Erdem, 2006): (1) Commercialization of universities: Universities have gradually become customer centered companies which are driven more bureaucratic way and this case has urged public universities to become more competitive. (2) Considering knowledge as a bought-sold material within market mentality: Undoubtedly, this case has already led to a university mentality focusing on market-centered ideas and opinions.

3. Turning of non-profit state universities to open & distance education

“Firstly, we shape our own characteristics, and then our characteristics do us.”
W. Churchill

From the last quarter of the 20th century on, the world has inevitably got trough a period of information society and information economy. Undoubtedly, in this period, information society has stimulated different economic and social paradigmas from onsw in the Industrial Revulation Age. In information society, training indvidals who are sensitive to modern sciences and point of view is of great importance. In this respect, the steam boiler refers to man power and the industrial society while means such as the computer and brain power represent the information society. Therefore, in the information society, highly qualified human sources in intellectual respect are supposed to effectively contribute to economy as well as its gradual participation in productivity. As a result, a new global trend called information economy has inevitably evolved in which economic ability of individuals, intellectual levels of them as well as competition power of countries and human and social backgounds could be measured. During the establishement of information and economy society, here are the increasing expectations of different groups from universities: (1) Being ale to address to more studentsa and a larger age group (massification), (2) Enlarged programmes including whole of newly obtained knowledge and fields of knowledge (academic expansion), (3) Concentration on job opportunities for graduates in education and orientation to practise in search as well as knowledge (relevance), (4) Being able to make considerable contribution to regional and national development by building up rigorous affairs with society, (5) Being able to develop new transparent model in administration which feel responsible themselves to society (accountability), (6) Being able to to handle all there expectations with respectively lessening financial public sources (YÖK, 2007; Şentürk, 2008).

Today, higher education has largely been considered so far to be a public service whose expenditures are met thoroughly by public sources, apart from a handful of countries including the US. However, due to the gradually increasing demand in higher education in recent and following years, the maintenance of higher education service only through public sources have been seriously argued. In that way, new attempts have been almost inevitable (1) to meet expenses of higher education service through other sources as well as public sources, (2) to vary income sources of higher education institutions, (3) more efficient and even distribution and use of public sources. Meanwhile, we could see a variety of reforms such as freedom and privatization, mainly based on maintenance and financing of higher education. As a consequence, students’ financial support in education expenses and industrial support for research expenses have been initial agenda (collaboration between the university and industry) and budgets for education and research have gradually separated from each other. Therefore, education expenses which accounts for the most important rate (70-80 %) of higher education budgets due to additional fees for individuals who gets this service and considerable social income of such a service, the society has gradually held the opnion that education expenses which accounts for the most important rate (70-80 %) of higher education budgets should be financed by the state’s support which all the society is supposed to pay. As in education field, universities have been gradually exposed to get financial sources out of public ones. In other words, instead of obtaining knowledge for public benefit with public support, they are supposed to conduct search and development projects with private institutions’ support heavily for these institutions. For instance, of 32 state universities of the US, the funds allocated for such projects more than doubled between 1990 and 2001 (YÖK, 2007; Odabaşı & Fırat & İzmirli & Çankaya & Mısırlı, 2010).

Today, education system in general sense and higher education system in private is exposed to considerable pressure from frequent criticism due to its disability in meeting the requirements of economies based on pure knowledge. In this process, demands of the market economy have changed at a remarkable rate along with the institutions established to meet regional and national demands. As a result, students who are afraid of being unemployed prefer to graduate from vocational schools or departments which will make obtaining job easier and so such departments have been exposed to gradually increasing pressure of capacity. Moreover, economic difficulties and students’ additional fee which universities charge along with the stress of having to live another city and high cost of metropolitan life are likely to mean extra burden on students’ budgets. Meanwhile, crowded classrooms, inefficient and routine courses, gradually increasing costs and insufficient number of education staff have forced authorities to find out new alternatives so as to meet the ever-increasing demand. Throughout history, universities in different countries have always tried new alternatives, some of which are open training, distant training (by letters), distant education, e-learning, online learning, learning on web database, distributed learning, simultaneous learning, tele-learning and flexible learning. However, in recent years, new tendencies in higher education have dragged universities to make use of electronic facilities and this makes almost inevitable to offer their students in-line services. In this course, thanks to interactive conditions and the availability for reaching limitless knowledge, a new unprecedented age has begun notably for universities. Therefore, while drawing their roles in the 21st century, felt themselves obliged to establish virtual campuses in addition to their traditional campuses (Güven, 2002; Balyer & Gündüz, 2010; Bayram & İbili & Hakkari, Kantar & Doğan, 20.11.2011; Ersoy & Acartürk, 12.01.2012).

As examples to the universities offering open and distand education service are Illinois virtual campus in America (IVC), Canadian Virtual University (CVU), UK Open University, Finnish Virtual University, The Italian Distance University (NETTUNO), Open Education Faculty of Anadolu University in Turkey, The National Institute of Information Technology in India (NIIT), University Tun Abdul Razak in Malaysia (UNITAR), African Kenyatta AVU Virtual University, Chinese Open University, Japanese Open University, Avustralian USQOnline.

3.1. Applications in open & distance education process at state universities

“No one could be as much blinder as one who doesn’t wish to see.”
İbn-i Sina

Chen thought in its general respect, the term “open education” refers to an educational approach aiming to serve education in any required level to human societies which traditional education institutions do not regard as “priority”. Among major reasons for why individuals who open education are “to be employed as well as studying, to be older than university age, to be in the army for compulsory service, to be physically disabled or to be imprisoned”, all of which prevent them from attending normal universities. Apart from them, housewives who wish to complete university education and ones who have their own occupations but wish to study at a second field as well as ones living abroad. As ones who study at open education are usually deprived of the change to attend formal education, the most commonly preferred education way “distant teaching” which makes use of technology in maintenance of interaction and material transmission of different student and teaching staff profiles within different geographical conditions. In a system whose origin date back to centuries ago based on such teachings applications as letter or newspaper training, we could see some other novel technologies such as phone, radio or even cinema. Admittedly, open education has caught up its popularity thanks to TV training. Benefitting from experiments of Brisitsh Open University which was introduced in the 1960s, a great many of education institutions in different countries which offer TV-based education have unprecedentedly flourished in the 1980. In this respect, we could estimate that the major training materials are the coursebooks which are particularly designed consistent with distant education methods, for self-learning process. In addition to the course-books parallel TV programmes to the units of aim the courses aim at promoting and comprehending the self-learning activities and so the number these techniquies and technologies of distance condition has multiples over time. “The open education” which originaly evolved in the forms of letter –training has been practise for centuries in Canada, Avustralia, New Zeland, The USA, England and China has arousen more interest as a result of newly developing and expanding internet technologies. Further, newly evolving electronic facilities such as video-conference systems, computer and internet technologies offer considerable opportunities to instructors and learners. In the case of the US, as a counter way to ever increasing cost in universities, we could see a great many of open-education universities, the most important ones of of which are Pennsylvania ve South Carolina Universities. As for Europe, the European Council has conducted educational publishing in five different languages with the support of open education universities in Europe. Meanwhile "Hagen University" in Germany is another considerable example for open education service as well as “Tubingen University” which offer constant vocational training for teachers. In this course, England is the first country to have established the “Open University”. On the other hand, Japan has also an important status due to establishing a university so as to offer open higher education service in which almost a half million Japanese study based on a system founded by modeling on “British Open University” system (Hakan, 1998; Ulukan & Baraz, 2001; Sağlık & Öztürk, 2001; Çukadar & Çelik, 2003; Çetin & Çakıroğlu & Bayılmış & Ekiz, 204; Mutlu & Öztürk & Özöğüt & Yılmaz & Çetinöz, 11.09.2006).

“Distance education”has proved to be a contemporary model of free of time and space which offers free and individual education service through leading communication technologies such as internet. Distance education program is a dimension of contemporary and new education technologies. Concepts and applications in this field are the results of a series of educational demands and developments in various communication and education technologies. Distance education applications have some conceptual bases. These are creating new education opportunities, realizing work-education unity, getting democratic in education, lifelong education, tendency to individual matters, effective use of institutions, integration of technology and education, tendency to individual and social needs, taking three dimensional integration as the main principle (publishing, printed materials and face to face education), reaching maximum mass, individual and mass education integrity and education demand and financial matters balance. Actually, the origin of “distance education” dates back to the 1800s and by the end of the 19th century, certain institutions in both the USA and the UK had already established the infrastructure of the education service based on mutual correspondence. As for the hapining of the 20th century, many other universities all around Australia including Queensland University and New England University introduced the distance education service. When it came to the 1960s, with the onset of Brtisih Open University project, distance education rapidly flourished all around the world, on institutional scale, ranging from European countries and North America to Australia. Today, distance education service undoubtedly has made it available to individuals to benefit from formal education service in their own locations by attending the courses of formal education out of the borders of distance education. In this process, the spreading of internet for affordable costs and its enlarged capacity have made great contributions to the onset of “Distance Education based on Internet” by which internet technology has rapidly proved to be an ideal platform for “Distance Education” service. In 1985, the first application of “Distance Education by Internet” was initiated in Phoenix University and today it offers so varied opportunities to internet users as a remarkable base of distance education. We could consider, among these opportunities, the electronic mail, World Wide Web (www), new groups, discussion groups, ftp gopher, chatting programs, telnet, URL and search motors. In addition to such opportunities, we could also count electronic data bases, books, journals and papers, website applications and basic use of intermediate applications that make it available to students and educators to readily reach the classroom activities. Thanks to such encouraging applications, it is now assumed that internet, by its nature, has made considerable global contributions to distance education service. In that way, it could be considered that distance education applications through internet technologies could be classified in three groups as follows: (1) Synchronised and nonsynchronised applications of distance education. Non-synchronised applications refers to a process in which the student determines his/her own improvement pace by accessing learning activities in times he/she wishes and by initially drawing his/her own resolution for the problems he/she faces to and if no solutions, by letting his/her consultant for a rigorous resolution. However, the synchronized application, the student and the instructer take part in this process of learning while the latter plays the consultant role and the students’ acts as an active participant in student-centered learning process. (2) In-line and out-line applications in distance education process. In educational respect, such an application could be thought to be directly relecent to discrimination and content in classification, varied activities and applications in addition to the maintenance of these steps on the Internet (in-line) or downloading then onto personal computers so as to attend them individually (out-line). (3) Distance education applications based on the technologies involved and their specifications. In fact, we could also divide this term into three groups: web-based education, internet-based education and e-learning. In their context, web-based education is related to transmission of varied learning materials in a web-scanner including materials, CD-ROM or its additional package on other media tools. However, internet-based education is related to the content which is ready for access on a computer. As for e-learning, it is rather related to the computer and the net with synchronized action. Therefore, the computer doesn’t need to be the center of the provision of learning and varied activities. However, it is supposed that the computer and nets should have overt relation with learning activities. On the other hand, it shouldn’t notice that the Distance Education supported by Internet Technologies play active role; (1) In maintenance of consistent relations between the occupation and the education. (2) In offering education opportunities, all of which are supposed to apply to students’ interests and expectations in different places and times. (3) In provision of individual and free opportunities for learning to students. (4) In offering education opportunities for larger masses. (5) In wiping out inequality in education. Seen in this respect, it is certain that distance education applications on internet have rapidly penetrated into higher education. That’s way; many universities have turned today to distance education education service in order to meet ever-changing needs of students. In 2000’s, various e-learning services such as e-Book, e-Practice, e-Television, e-Exam, e-Audio Book, e-Facilitation, e-Support and e-Course were designed and put into practice. It is anticipated that Distance Education will serve even greater numbers of students in the near future. In this service, the systems used for distance education on the internet is called “Learning Management Systems” while the users working through this system is called through different roles such as “student, educator, lesson opener or system manager” all od whom invariably benefit from courses’ contents, home assigments, evaluation, alive view, chat rooms and message boards in order to achieve the interaction on the internet between student –material and teacher. On the other hand, distance education applications are the most developed forms of today’s distance education applications. With the development of web technologies, lecture contents are diversified, flexible education independent of time and place is achieved. Perhaps, that’s way; knowledge of students in internet-based distance education process mostly tends to be permanent. When considered that technologic innovations reign today at such a high pace, we would readily estimate that durther innovations are on the way in near future (Özer, 1990; Güven, 2002; Önder, 2003; Yılmaz & Horzum, 2005; Aslan, 2006; Önür, 20.11.2006; Karataş, 2006; Aydın & Biroğul, 2008; Işık & Işık & Güler, 2008; Erturgut, 2008; Karaağaçlı & Erden, 2008; Baturay & Bay, 2009; Demiray & Curabay, 2010; Akdemir, 2011).

3.2. Strategic results of the applications in open & distance education process at state universities

“The most commonly seen point in the decisions taken by the management is focusing on achieving the right answers then right questions.”
Peter Drucker

We could define positive strategic results, in five points, resulting from open and distance education applications in state universities (Yılmaz & Horzum, 2005; Erdem, 2006; Elmas & Doğan, Biroğul & Koç, 2008; Çınar, 2009; Balyer & Gündüz, 2010): (1) Universities have gradually turned out to be virtual institutions. Virtual universities, on one hand, benefit from a great many applications in higher education period. They, on the other hand, use varied new concepts such as blended education, unsynchronized distance education, in-line learning, whole–life learning, web–based distance education, mobil learning and virtual classrooms. Thanks to new concept known as “Non-wall University” in state universities, the major aim is now to establish a large net in global sense of potential students, teaching elements, employers and graduates. (2) Distance education by using internet based technologies is available to large masses. Therefore, distance education has gradually been run on new technologies based on internet. Considered in this respect, it could be assumed that the major aim in distance education is, by using different methods from traditional teaching methods, to meet the ever-increasing global demand for higher education. (3) In-line training has now been available. Students could now efficiently benefit from in-line training facilities by which e-learning and distance education service opportunities has inevitably resulted in globalization of education by using virtual universities without needing to leave a city or a country. (4) The student profile has gradually been internationalized. Today, thanks to great contributions of open and distance education applications, the student profile in state universities have also gradually been away from nationaland more and more srudent from different countries register their names on-line for training. (5) Costs are gradually declining. Because all the services for students are available faster, more efficient and at lower cost, distance education is the cheapest one of all other education systems on condition that there is enough number of students, apart from formal to support the financial investment.

On the other hand, there have undoubtedly several negative points in higher education resulting from state universities’ turning to open and distance education (Güven, 2002; Erdem, 2006; Balyer & Gündüz, 2010): (1) Universities are gradually likely to became a center for certificate. Upon the increasing importance of university degree and certificates, a fierce competition has nearly become inevitable between universities and the institutions which deliver these certificates, and as a result certain institutions have nearly regarded such certificates of private bodies as sufficient to gain professional career, which has made these private agents considerable competitors of universities. In the meantime, seeking themselves as a commercial body, universities have also taken a counter-action by opening a number of programmes in order to obtain financial resource. Nevertheless, over time, such a trend is likely to create “universities to be drained”. (2) Universities could also turn into be instutions that merely deal with “education & training” process. One of the considerable functions of universities is “education & training”, yet they also have some other critical responsibilities such as “research” and “social service”. (3) The mentality of a university based on “client-market” could turn to be ermanent. Sub-units of universities or faculties are awarded for their contributions thanks to projects and etc., and so universities are gradually turning into an attraction center as a “profiting body”. However, they are supposed to be inevitably “non-profit institutions”. In this respect, they are expected to work for new technologies and knowledge, making contribution to national and universal culture, as well as taking some respects and point of views into consideration such as leading in the society. (4) Academic staff and students could be regarded as only a material in the process. Academic staff is today regarded as a commercial material to attract more students to the university while the students are considered to be an object that could access learening materials through user names or codes, without using interactive methods and social environment which are heavily based on. Considering today’s universities exclusive function for society, it could be concluded that academic staff and students are both and element. (5) Universities have steadily lost their autonomy given as a right. The university could be observed closely and strictly in academic, financial and administrational terms, even including censor as a means of strict control.

4. Conclusion

“Things will change over time. Then, you’ll either be the one who changes them or someone will invariably change them for you.”
Sergio Zyman

Undoubtedly, we are experiencing a period of rapid changes, increased interaction, developing technologies and advanced scientific knowledge. In other words, the period we experience today is heavily composed of computer technologies, brain power and qualified man power all of which are inevitably related to global-based speed economy; also know as “society of knowledge”. The developed society of today is identified as society of knowledge. Therefore, the key words of “change” has now turned out “globalization” that refers to some concepts such as the spread and development of economic, social and politic affairs among countries, increased activity of capital movement, as well as taking encouragigng steps against ideologic discrimination based on extreme ends, better awareness of different social, cultures, beliefs and expectations and more intensified affairs between countries. On the other hand, according to ones who are of positive opinions of it, globalization inevitably refers to increased cross-border trade, remarkable development in efforts for establishment of democracy and human rights as well as considerable contribution to enhancement of social affluence. However, ones who are opposed to globalization maintains that globalization is a global market in which cross-borders corporotions are closely kept under control and therefore globalization and developments in information technologies as an accelerator of globalization invariably affect almost any field of life and so as to closely observe and benefit from such developments, a form of qualified individual with new attitudes and values are needed. Globalization is the greatest challenge against universities. By this challenge, the developments that mostly affected universities can be said as the technological developments. To speak objectively, recent developments in information technologies also affect intensively a large number of traditional values in universities as in many other fields of education. In this respect, today’s higher education institutions are experience a painstaking period of many changes including obting transmission and spread of knowledge. As aresult, universities have gradually become institutions that provide professional knowledge and documents to allow a number of occupation categories. The changes occurred in last quarter caused change in the structure and function of higher education in the world. Neo-liberalism and international educational exchanges are some examples for these changes. Rapid developments in computational technology have created opportunities for new implementations in both face to face education and on-line learning as one from of distance education. For this purpose, developments in knowledge and communication technologies have increasingly gained ground in modern universities “open” and “distane” education service, both of which are based on the internet. “Distance education applications” through the internet make up for a new economic learning dynamic based on rigorous education & training by which it is available to students to benefit virtually from higher education programmes in any other country without needing to live abroad, which is called “programme mobility”. However, it also seems likely that spreading technologies in universities to a large extend could also resultin neglecting their social functions and studies or regarding such social responsibilities as inferior anyway. Furthermore, due to market-inspired reforms, higher education service is not only offered by state universities, but it is also available in profit foundation universities or corporation universities (Güven, 2002; Balay, 2004; Yılmaz & Horzum, 2005; Aktan, 2007; Dağlı, 2007; Şentürk, 2008; Odabaşı & Fırat & İzmirli & Çankaya & Mısırlı, 2010; Çetiner & Türkmen & Bolat, 20.11.2011)

Undoubtedly, globalization has tended to turn state universities into customer-centered companies that are driven in a bureaucratic way whereby these universities are gradually forced to take more enterprising steps in any field. In other words, it seems now inevitable that state universities as higher education institutions should keep pace with the innovations in national and international educations as well as social, politic and technologic changes. Of all such innovations, universities are particularly supposed to manage and lead the innovation process in education & training, science and technology fields. In this sense, universities are required to drive “open” and “distance” education programmes, and more importantly, to be a “pioneer” in such applications. For state universities to drive changes in “open” and “distance” education programmes and to introduce the strides they are supposed to, universities must, by seeing the future from today, take precautions, make a number of realistic plans and then put them into practice in a short while. Otherwise, it seems inevitable that state universities will become an “ordinary body” in education service.

© 2012 The Author(s). Licensee IntechOpen. This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Ali Rıza Erdem (September 19th 2012). Strategic Decision of Non-Profit State Universities: Turning to Open and Distance Education, Distance Education, Paul Birevu Muyinda, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/48081. Available from:

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