World Association for Online Education: Two Missions

Introduction to this Message

By way of introduction to this message, WAOE is a virtual organization with a conduit to the physical world as an NPO (see the WAOE Bylaws) or just the 22 Objectives and Purposes of relevance to distance education since the advent of Web-based approaches. Although the physical infrastructure for WAOE is minimal, there are costs involved in providing services to members even when volunteers give their priceless time and energy. Therefore a policy of dues and waivers thereof was necessary and has been implemented after the longest possible grace period. Although on a modest scale for such a young organization, WAOE does start from the goals of global access and multiculturalism, so we are taking an open-minded and constructive approach to the factors that may inhibit individuals from full WAOE participation.

WAOE's Two Missions and Groups Served

We wish to show the utmost respect for the world community of educators by interpreting their actions or attitudes in a positive and constructive way. Moreover, we aim to be more multicultural as well as multilingual, as stated in our Bylaws, down to our organizational procedures and practices. Therefore we are opening up more alternatives for free participation in WAOE, recognizing the many technological, cultural and other factors that inhibit people from actively joining WAOE.

The benefits of membership, modest but growing, can be better understood first in the light of WAOE's larger mission. For while guests and affiliates may freely associate with WAOE to an extent, the contribution of dues or services to the organization is a contribution to the development of a new profession, which will benefit WAOE members while providing greater access to education worldwide.

Before listing some benefits of WAOE membership and noting our new policies that are multicultural, we would like to clarify how the mission of WAOE moves on two tracks and serves the world (the W in WAOE) as well as the association (A) of educators committed to pedagogical excellence in online education (OE). Because WAOE is both 1) a public benefit corporation (NPO), and 2) a membership organization:

1) WAOE gives unconditional service to society internationally. This means free exchange of much relevant information concerning online education, as far as possible by volunteers. Non-members may access many WAOE Websites, participate in its general discussion list, affiliate with WAOE, and so forth.

2) WAOE provides the above opportunities plus more and more services in time to members whose dues are paid or waived. Certain of WAOE's communication forums, collaborative activities and other privileges are to be reserved for members.

Now because WAOE is a membership organization governed by the consent of association members, we wish to listen to the will of members and reflect on our limitations as a young organization in a new field. Therefore, we wish to respond constructively to the situation of those who were WAOE members when it was free but who have moved into a less formal association with WAOE. In light of WAOE's mission, we wish to provide greater services to members, associates and the general public.

Benefits of Membership

Among the growing benefits of WAOE membership, aside from contributing to the profession, WAOE provides multilingual Websites and forums for discussion, networking and collaboration. Officers hail from eight countries while participants represent about 50 countries, so WAOE has been called "truly international." An online educators' course has been piloted and described in a manuscript nearing completion for a journal. Even if a fee is charged for online educator development opportunities, certainly WAOE members will have a substantial discount or no charge in some cases, with certain opportunities reserved for members.

Web Board access for sustained, threaded discussions on selected topics, often organizational or collaborative, along with the synchronous chat function, are now reserved for WAOE members. What would not be possible for an academic discussion list will also be open to WAOE members looking for specific advice, jobs, human and technical resources. This close networking also often leads to publishing opportunities, such as in journals, which become accomplishments for members. The Journal of Online Education is affiliated with WAOE and actively seeks submissions from members.

Proprietary software and courseware is often offered for WAOE use, and it is just a matter of activating more WAOE members to take advantage of such opportunities. WAOE has selected a suitable candidate as a non-profit sponsor, to begin from April 2000. While members' dues maintain the organizational infrastructure, which is expanding to Australia, Brazil and elsewhere, further grants will give members even more than a pooling of resources for opportunities unavailable to individual educators or institutions.

To freely associate with WAOE is not enough to claim the use of WAOE's name as intellectual property. Many organizations have been waiting to affiliate with WAOE, and that committee has recently been bolstered. Nevertheless, only approved affiliates and WAOE members whose dues are currently paid or waived are authorized to imply involvement with WAOE through the use of its name as intellectual property, such as in their signature or curriculum vitae list of memberships in academic associations.

A Renewed Invitation

For the reasons described in terms of the two missions above, and to show collegial respect to all educators, whether they are able and willing to join WAOE as members or not, we invite all interested educators to access our available information and subscribe to our general discussion listserve just by sending the message here. For we aim to provide helpful services to the world along with better opportunities for members as our association grows.

Please consider joining WAOE as a member when it is convenient to do so. Educators concerned with online education are welcome to join WAOE any time online, or to experience the Orientation. The various other ways of becoming a WAOE member can be studied by scrolling down the right side of the WEB issue below, which newsletter is generally dedicated to the needs and aspirations of WAOE members.

Thank you very much for your consideration.


Steve McCarty
Professor, Kagawa Junior College, Japan
President, World Association for Online Education
Website Map:

World Association for Online Education (WAOE) policy:

Carlton Scott WAOE Fellowships

A multicultural policy administered by the late educator's colleague Karen O'Connor, business technology department head at Selkirk College in Canada.


A British Columbia accident felled Carlton Scott in his prime as an educator with a passion for online learning. He was a founding WAOE member and would have wished that the opportunity for WAOE participation be opened as widely as possible. Among WAOE aims stated in the Bylaws, WAOE promotes multiculturalism and access to online educational technology. This policy provides a chance to hono(u)r Carlton's memory while contributing to the broadening of the online teaching profession.


WAOE officers are privileged to offer dues-waived WAOE memberships as defined in WAOE Bylaws and policies, until June 30th of the following year, particularly to non-Westerners, non-native users of English, and those who have contributed services to WAOE or whose membership would reflect well on WAOE's professional standing. Each WAOE Coordinating Ring member is requested to invite three to five such individuals, except that each WAOE elected Director is requested to invite three to ten such individuals. Those invited would need only respond in the affirmative, and would be expected to fulfil the obligations and privileges of WAOE membership.


WAOE has 18 officers in 8 countries, including 5 elected directors. WAOE is a virtual association with a conduit to the physical world through California law as a non-profit public benefit corporation. The Bylaws include 22 Objectives and Purposes of relevance to distance education since the advent of Web-based approaches. (View the full list) Directly relevant to this new policy are the sections on multiculturalism and the widest possible access to educational technology. There is a Multilingual WAOE Project in progress, and the aim of the new policy is for WAOE to be multicultural in its very organizational practices. For while participants may already apply for dues waivers, we recognize cultural and other reasons that inhibit individuals from requesting such a favor. WAOE officers are thus empowered and honored to invite a wide range of individuals described in the above policy. Officers are also open to specific recommendations. New active members are most welcome, and we further intend to actively recognize service to the organization in lieu of dues.

World Association for Online Education

WAOE Subgroup Membership Policy Considerations

Drafted by WAOE President Steve McCarty in Japan by consensus with the Coordinating Ring (21 January 1999)

The WAOE Coordinating Ring of elected and appointed officers is detailed in the WAOE Bylaws. Subgroups refer to the above-mentioned Ring, Committees, O-CREWs (Online Course and Resource Evaluation Workgroups), and mailing lists besides WAOE-NEWS and WAOE-VIEWS which are for the whole group. The Ring has a listserv WAOE-RING-L composed at first of WAOE elected and appointed officers. Members are subscribed to this list only by the listowner. A majority vote of the 5 Elected Officers, which can be conducted informally on the listserv, is sufficient to establish a policy or to add a new member to the Ring as a Committee Chair, Appointed Officer or O-CREW Representative.

The Elected Officers shall consider any objections or comments from other Ring members affecting decisions, as WAOE aims for consensus when possible among the Ring as well as among the general membership.

Proposed O-CREWs go through the Vice-President before being formally established. The Vice-President will bring any problems to the attention of the Ring, but is otherwise empowered to launch O-CREWs without further discussion if no problems are evident.

Subgroup leaders such as Committee Chairs may assign tasks to volunteers on the committee. Meetings and other WAOE subgroup activities should be accessible to Ring members, with a summary of what the subgroup is doing sent to the Ring from time to time or when so requested. Ring representatives will then generally post subgroup reports to the announcements list WAOE-NEWS or take other action appropriate to the work submitted by the subgroup.

Committee Chairs and O-CREW Representatives should recruit members and conduct their subgroup of WAOE in the spirit of the organization and in accord with its Bylaws. While they act autonomously in everyday functioning, they are responsible to keep the organization informed of their activities by periodic reports and messages, such as informing the Ring who the members of their subgroups are. Subgroup leaders should also consult with the Ring before taking any punitive actions such as barring a member from a WAOE subgroup. Subgroup leaders are automatically on the Coordinating Ring, as detailed in the Bylaws.

The Ring may consider recommendations on a case-to-case basis that subgroup members besides the leader be subscribed to the WAOE-RING-L listserv in order to contribute more to the organization. Such candidates must be willing to at least receive a large volume of Ring e-mail at times, and to fulfil the responsibilities for which they were admitted to the Ring listserv. By the same token the Elected Officers can vote to add or remove Appointed Officers and others included in deliberations of the Ring, which are confidential and may not be forwarded elsewhere without a consensual consent of the Ring.

For individual WAOE members who wish to contribute more as active members, there are various considerations as to which WAOE subgroups would be suitable to both the individual and agreeable to the Coordinating Ring. WAOE-RING-L is a list for WAOE executives and members who can make sufficient commitment to the goals of the organization. It is open in the sense that all members have the right to be informed as to what is being generally discussed there. And members can also participate in Ring work. Members chiefly participate through their representatives, such as an O-CREW leader or Committee Chair, so to join these subgroups gives members selective access and behind-the-scenes support without burdening members with voluminous organizational information. Ring members are committed to attend to all important enquiries from members that deserve attention.

For general brainstorming and discussion there is WAOE-VIEWS and in the future also other lists for WAOE subgroups as needed. Members wishing to become more active in WAOE or to be subscribed to WAOE-RING by the listowner are therefore encouraged to join subgroups of WAOE or to initiate an O-CREW (Online Course and Resource Evaluation Workgroup), as suggested in the founding papers. O-CREW Representatives who succeed in organizing at least five members will also be invited to join WAOE-RING. Beyond that, the Coordinating Ring would like to invite members on a case-to-case basis to work in a subgroup of WAOE where members find it most personally rewarding and where the organization remains harmonious while becoming more productive. These are some of the considerations of the Coordinating Ring with respect to WAOE subgroup membership.

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