During the last decade, technical communication instructors and program directors have been discussing and experimenting with teaching technical communication from a distance using technologies such as audio, video, telephony, and wide-area networks. The first reports of courses taught from a distance appeared in the field’s professional journals in 1994. Since then, developments in digital media have rapidly accelerated the growth of distance education, opening up possibilities unavailable just a few years ago. In the technical communication field alone, 22 U.S. colleges and universities currently offer courses, undergraduate degrees, and/or graduate degrees via digital media, and when we consider how many faculty members are now creating or planning to create online courses at institutions across the country, the need for information about best practices in online education is staggering.1 It is also urgent because many of the scholar-teachers developing these online courses and degree programs are under pressure to act quickly. This pressure has three main sources: 1) institutional pressure to launch courses and programs rapidly in order to keep up with, or ahead of, the competition; 2) sales pressure from the developers of the hardware and software, who are anxious to suggest how and why we should use their products; and 3) pressure from the technology itself, which has developed in dazzling, tempting profusion, at a faster rate than the theory needed to guide our use of it.