- Meaning of distance education
- Recognition of overseas distance education
- Recognition of National distance education
- Type of Distance education
- Benefits of distance education
- Is distance education good for your career.?
With the advent of the internet, distance education is becoming more and more popular. The recent pandemic that hit the world, popularized the concept of distance education.
Although the concept became popular in more recent times, the early idea of distance education dates back to around the 18th century.
Caleb Philips, a shorthand teacher, put up an advertisement in the Boston Gazette inviting students who would like to learn shorthand through mailed lessons.
So, in the modern sense, Caleb Phillip was probably the first to visualize the concept of distance education or distance learning.
Later, in 1840, Sir Isaac Pitman, a teacher of the English language, taught shorthand and mailed the text through postcards and would receive them in return from the students, for correction.
With the growing concept of distance education, the world’s first homeschooling college was started in 1894 in Oxford, England. The Wolsey Hall Oxford offered courses to homeschoolers all over the world.
This was a bit of history for the introduction to distance learning in the world. Today, with the world more connected, distance education has become more of a norm.
Modern distance education is more convenient and less expensive than distance education during earlier times. The internet has made teaching and submission of transcripts easy.
Therefore, distance education can be defined as that concept of learning, where students need not necessarily be physically present in a classroom. Students can be taught through virtual classes, mail correspondences, or postal submissions.
Now the question may arise – is a distance education degree valid? And is distance education good for your career?
Recognition of Overseas Distance Education Programs in India
Recognition of overseas distance education programs has been a complex issue for a long time now. Different countries have different stances on the recognition of distance education degrees.
For example, in India overseas degrees studied through distance learning are not recognised by the AIU unless the degree issued by foreign universities meets the eligibility criteria for the student’s qualification to be recognised by the AIU.
The requirements are:
- Admission requirements to be at par with universities in India
- Duration must be similar to the course in India
- University must be recognised in its own country among other eligibility criteria.
Recognition of National Distance Education Programs in India
The validity of distance education programs within the country is governed by the Distance Education Bureau and the University Grants Commission.
Universities seeking approval for the distance education programs must be authenticated by their respective governing bodies like the All India council For technical Education, depending on the type of course.
District Education Bureau
The Distance Education Bureau under the University Grants Commission is an authorizing body of the Distance Education programmes across the country.
The Distance Education Council started in 1991. It was later dissolved to give way to the Distance Education Bureau under the University Grants Commission in 2013.
The first Open and distance learning in India was by the Delhi University in 1962. Since then, the country has recorded phenomenal growth in the distance learning sector with more than 250 recognised universities offering distance education programs.
About the question- is a distance education degree valid? It can be rightly affirmed that distance education programs are valid in India.
However, such degrees must be obtained from universities approved by the Distance Education Bureau, University Grants Commission.
Types of Distance Learning Education
Although the underlying meaning of distance education entails learning without the physical presence of students and teachers in a classroom, there are many types of distance learning.
- Online or synchronous learning – Here students and teachers are need to be virtually present for the classes conducted during specific time frames in a day.
- Asynchronous learning – students are provided with videos and other references to learn from. Students need not be present in a virtual classroom at any time.
- Hybrid learning – As the name suggests is a combination of online and face-to-face classes.
Benefits of Distance Education Programs
Many students are apprehensive of taking up distance education courses fearing the invalidity of the same.
However, taking up distance education programs can prove to be beneficial and great for your career. Let’s look at some of the benefits of distance education
1. Range of Choice
One of the major benefits of distance education is that there is no limit to the choice or versatility of subjects you can choose from.
A college will be able to offer only a limited number of courses due to the lack of infrastructure, unavailability of specialized teaching faculty, or shortage of seats.
However, distance education programs eliminate all the shortcomings of in-person classes and provide a host of subject choices for students.
A student sitting in Paris can attend a distance education program in India.
Another distance education benefit is that distance education offers flexibility when it comes to the timing of the course.
In regular educational programs, the academic year starts and ends within a particular time frame and students must attend classes during the specific class timings.
Whereas, in many distance education programs, students can opt for particular timings of their choice. Distance education gives you flexibility in timings.
Distance education programs are cheaper courses than regular courses. Apart from the cheaper cost of the course, students save a lot of money because of the absence of travel expenditure and other ancillary expenditures.
Distance education programs are less expensive than regular courses mainly because of the absence of expenditure on behalf of the university.
Regular or in-person classes entail costs like electricity, stationery expenses, etc. However, distance education eliminates all these expenses.
Universities will not charge students for ancillary expenses that may have been incurred in regular classes. This is one of the most important benefits of distance education.
4. Anytime Anywhere
One of the best benefits of distance education is that students can attend classes from anywhere in the world and even on a moving bus.
That’s the specialty of distance education. Students are not bound to attend classrooms in person like regular education.
Distance education allows students to attend classes from just about anywhere. The distance between the teacher and the students has never been closer than it is now.
5. No Change in The Regular Timetable
Another advantage of distance education is that you can continue to perform your daily activities while pursuing a distance education course.
Many distance education students are full-time working professionals while some stay-at-home moms are upgrading their skills through distance education courses.
As distance education is very flexible, students can choose convenient timings and dates to pursue the course. Attending distance education courses does not interfere with your daily routine.
Another benefit of distance education is that students who live in remote areas can also attend distance education courses. In fact, this was one of the primary reasons distance education was developed in the first place.
Students living in remote, unmotorable, and inaccessible places will not miss out on education because of distance education programs.
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Is Distance Education Good for Your Career?
Looking at all the benefits of distance education, we can say that distance education is not detrimental to one’s career.
Employers do not disregard distance education courses. Employers consider distance education credentials.
Many students often ask- is distance education good? To this, the answer will be in the affirmative. Apart from all the above benefits of distance education, it also upgrades your skills and improves your potential.
Also when it comes to working professionals, it must be noted that while filling up vacancies in a company, employers often look within the company first before recruiting someone from outside.
This is because a company will want to spend the least resources on training newcomers on the job. Therefore, you can promote yourself to higher posts within the company.
You just need to upgrade your skills through short or long-term distance education courses. What’s more- all this, while you are working.
According to an article published in the Global Scientific Journal 2021, Many researchers perceive that distance learning has positive outcomes on the learning of students.
The role and strategy of the teacher are one of the fundamental factors and also the utilization of the appropriate technology.
These studies confirmed that online tools are very useful to be utilized by teachers and students to communicate with each other.
In other words, distance learning as a mode of education is one of the solutions to continue the learning of students in a time of COVID-19 pandemic.
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Distance education is gaining momentum throughout the world. The recent pandemic has reiterated the importance of distance learning.
However, distance education was adopted by the world for centuries. It is still in its developing stage. There is a lot of scope for the growth of distance education, especially in terms of technology used to achieve the goals.