“Distance Education” is a term used synonymously in education and learning technology today. Distance education is not a new phenomenon as it has been practiced since the turn of the century. The earliest efforts at distance education involved correspondence study and really did not use any form of telecommunication, but instead relied on the postal service for the delivery of content and assignments. Next came audio-based distance education which incorporated radio and audio teleconferencing. Today we’re looking at web-based instruction using telecommunication and internet technologies.
The biggest driver of distance education has been due to social changes. Over the years, individuals, institutions and businesses have continuously sought for alternative means of access to higher education as they strive to cope with lifestyles and changing demands of the economies and societies they live in.
Research results and studies show that with good instructional design, distance education is as effective as other forms of teaching and learning, generally characterized as face-to-face education or conventional education. It may not override conventional learning but it serves the same purpose and allows for more people to be reached, conveniently. If anything, distance education colleges are more appropriate for some students as these colleges often have a better understanding of what it takes to continue your studies while working full time, thus creating courses that are as flexible as your schedule requires.
Advantages of Distance Education
- Distance Education Courses in India are increasingly becoming popular. The availability of distance learning courses has assured that a person can pursue education from any state or university that he or she desires.
- As the course fee of these courses is much lesser than the regular courses, distance-learning courses in India have also become popular in the rural areas.
- Distance education promotes the opportunity to meet the needs of students unable to attend on-campus classes.
- One of the biggest distance education benefits is the issue of flexibility and time. A student is not confined to the classroom for a certain number of hours on a given day. Distance education courses provide flexibility when it comes to the completion of lessons.
- You are probably an adult, have a very demanding job and family. You are still holding onto that life-long dream of achieving a Master’s or PhD degree but don’t know how. At last, there’s a solution. Many learners’ professional and personal lives have been affected by the distance learning experience. See how you can change yours now!
- Financial benefits of distance education exist as well. Without the need to leave your home for spending a semester or a year in a distant city, you can substantially save on transportation, housing, and food costs. It goes without saying that you can keep your full or part time job at the same time you graduate from a distance learning institution.
- Especially in a country like India the Social benefits of distance education has proved to be a blessing. Without having to leave their community, students can maintain their personal, cultural, and social lifestyles. More so, their circle of comfort is maintained, reducing additional stress.
- Moreover due to Distance Education there is an increased access to learning and allowance for wider choices of institutions for learning.
- The most unique aspect of Distance Education would be promotion of lifelong learning.
How to choose Good Distance Education Institutes?
Distance Education colleges vary significantly in their approach to delivering their courses.
Before committing to any program from a distance learning college, be sure to use this checklist of questions to get to the truth about their courses. We’re talking about your future and many hours invested in bettering yourself, so be thorough in your investigation of different learning colleges of interest.
Is the School Accredited?
This is the single most important question to ask. There are six recognition status policies based on a thorough evaluation of the quality of teaching delivered at the college or university.
What is the Recognition Policy of the Distance Education Council (DEC)?
1. Provisional Recognition:
The Distance Education Council (DEC) gives provisional recognition to Universities/ Institutions who apply to DEC for offering programmes through the distance education mode. Provisional recognition is accorded to Institutions that satisfy the minimum criteria prescribed by DEC for starting or for offering programmes in the distance mode. Provisional recognition certifies or provides the authority to offer programmes in distance mode.
The DEC maintains that all programmes are to be approved by the statutory bodies of the university and also by other regulatory bodies in the country, wherever required. Further it is the responsibility of the Institution concerned to take any such approval.
Provisional Recognition is an interim measure provided to the institutions for a period of one year.
2. Continuance of Provisional Recognition
Such Institutions which are given provisional recognition and subsequently apply to DEC for Regular recognition are given continuation of the recognition till the Expert Committee visits the Institution, and the decision is taken regarding its regular recognition.
3. Post Facto Recognition
Post facto recognition is accorded to ODL Institutions that were offering programmes in distance mode prior to the establishment of DEC and before the introduction of the Recognition Scheme by DEC in 2003. Post Facto recognition is accorded to such institutions who apply to DEC seeking post facto recognition. For such institutions, Post Facto recognition is accorded in view of the demand from their students and also from the employers in the light of the Gazette Notification No. 44 of the Govt. of India dated 1st March 1995. The Post Facto recognition is accorded to such institutions only from 1st March 1995 or from the date of commencement of Distance Education programmes whichever is later.
4. Regular Recognition
It is mandatory for all ODL Institutions to apply to DEC for regular recognition of their Institution as well as their programmes offered through distance mode. The regular recognition is valid for a minimum period of 3 years and a maximum period of 5 years.
5. Territorial Jurisdiction
The Distance Education Council has decided not to insist on territorial jurisdiction to be followed by the institutions in offering programmes through distance and online modes and on that matter, universities should be governed by their own Acts/Statutes.
6. Approvals to Study Centers
The DEC does not consider giving approvals to Study Centers of any distance education institution as opening of Study Centers and Regional Centers is an internal policy matter of the institution/university concerned, as per the provision in their own Act/Statutes.
How many years has the University been offering distance education courses?
For any college or university to offer distance education classes, there is a trial-and-error process involved. The more the number of years the institute has been offering the classes, the greater confidence you can have that the challenges of putting the distance learning courses are worked out.
List Of University For Distant Education.