Higher Learning through Distance Education / Distance Learning

Distance education is when a student is not required to be physically present to attend regular classes and can appear for exams only. In certain cases, the student can attend weekend classes (if provided by the university). In other words, Distance Learning is more like self-study, relying on course material sent from the University itself. Distance education is basically designed keeping in mind the off-campus students, who unable to attend regular classes.

Distance education comes as a boon not only for young aspiring students, but for many working professionals, housewives, school drop-outs as well. Distance education is the obvioussolution for not just those mentioned above but for a whole lot of others like those with financial constraints, any kind of impediment or for those who are just plain lazy! Whether you live in a metropolis like Delhi or in a small town tucked in any part of India, you can benefit immensely from Distance Education.
Difference between Distance Education and Correspondence Course
Correspondence Course is considered to be the oldest form of distance education, the first generation of distance learning, which used printed material which was sent to them by post. Whereas second generation distance learning included audio recordings and television broadcasts. Correspondence courses are done to acquire certain qualification whereas distance education by electronic media is more inclined towards learners’ objective.
  • A student can work according to his/ her schedule. There are no rigid study timings
  • A student can get a degree of his/her choice from anywhere in India
  • The less advantaged sections of the society have an advantage to get educated
  • Migration from one city to another city does not happen while pursuing distance education
  • A student can work and earn side by side
  • Distance education saves travel time; students do not have to travel to and fro from campus
  • Institutes
The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is considered to be the most renowned universities for distance education in India. It was formed in 1985 and was conferred the title of People’s University for its learner centric approach and the policy of openness and flexibility in entry qualifications, time taken for completion of programme and place of study. At present, there are 21 Schools, divided along broad subject streams, with their programmes and activities with over 1.4 million students enrolled in various courses.

Some of the other institutes which offer distance education are as follows:
  • Bangalore University, Directorate of Correspondence Courses and distance education.
  • Anna University, Chennai Centre for Distance Education
  • Bharathiar University School of Distance Education
  • Burdwan, University Directorate of Distance Education
  • Andhra University, School of Distance Education
  • Annamalai University
  • Allagappa University
  • Jiwaji University
  • Mumbai University
  • Rajiv Gandhi Technical University
  • National Law School of Indian University
  • Madhya Pradesh Bhoj (Open) University
  • Mother Teresa Women’s University
  • University of Kerala, Institute of Distance Education
Courses offered by the above universities through Distance Education are as follows:
  • B.Ed
  • MCA
  • Diploma Courses
  • BA
  • BBA /BBS/BBM University
  • B.Com
  • Computer Systems
  • Fertilizer Technology
  • Agriculture, prawn farming, sericulture
  • Cosmetic Science
  • Advertising
  • Early childhood care and education
  • Sugar Technology
  • B.Sc Visual Communication
  • B.A Tamil Literature
However, everything has its pros and cons and the concept of Distance Education is not without this vice. Even though there are some drawbacks set in the system of Distance Education, what you need to see is whether, in the larger picture you benefit from it or not. And if you can handle the disadvantages, then there is no reason to worry. Because we all know that these hurdles are nothing, compared to the value that you will earn through distance education.

  • Full time courses get an edge over distance learning courses
  • Class room teaching is more effective as compared to distance teaching
  • Students in distance education do not get the practice of verbal interaction and they cannot communicate with the professors and teachers on 1 on 1 basis
  • In distance education, a student cannot be assessed immediately. In distance learning he/she will have to wait for the feedback which may take time
  • For theory type courses like Arts & Commerce, it is easy to study through distance education whereas for Science related courses, you cannot base your education on online study only, because it will be difficult to perform experiments. And provision of a lab will not be possible.

Distance education may not be the ideal or the most obvious form of education, but in a country like India, where the adult literacy rate is a struggle at 74.04%, distance mode of education has and will have a major role to play in bringing the literacy rate to a 100%. Besides the educational value, it makes people more independent and gives them a direction in life. No doubt, it requires a lot of self motivation but the results are really impressive and a really great idea for self improvement.

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