Distance education is a formal educational process in which the majority of the instruction (interaction between students and instructors and among students) in a course occurs when students and instructors are not in the same place. Instruction may be synchronous or asynchronous.
A distance education course may use the internet; one-way and two-way transmissions through open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, broadband lines, fiber optics, satellite, or wireless communications devices; audio conferencing; or video cassettes, DVD’s, and CD-ROMs if used as Distance Learning is the delivery of educational services where students are in one location and the instructor in another. It can include educational services delivered through cable or satellite hook-ups, the Internet, or an institution’s intranet.
This Resource Guide contains selected resources on issues in Distance Learning. Included in the Resource Guide are selected journal articles and conference proceedings; book and journal titles; Distance Learning organizations and associations; and Internet sites which may direct the user to additional resources on Distance Learning. Particular focus is on emerging educational and technology issues in Distance Learning: state-of-the-art technology, programs for adult learners, and educational challenges to teachers and students in this type of learning environment. The Resource Guide is not intended to be a comprehensive directory.
Best Distance Education: The Changing Face of Education
The world of today is changing. There is change in every field: from the education sector to the sporting field; change is evident everywhere. The education sector is one of those sectors whose growth is one of the most evident ones.
For instance, Distance Education is one such field which has seen unprecedented change and tremendous development. From being an esoteric field to an all-encompassing education sector, this particular field is now becoming popular with many people and academicians. Here is all the information that you need to know about the Best Distance Education Universities in India and also the benefits associated with distance learning.
What is Distance Education?
Distance Education also known as distance learning is basically a form of education which is imparted to a student individually and usually takes place in a setting which is not the traditional classroom or a school. Distance learning is similar to the education which is given normally to a student, but in this case, the student is separated from the teacher by either time, or by distance and sometimes both. Sometimes, when distance education requires the teacher to take an examination, then there is some part in the education scheme which requires the teacher or an examiner to be present. In such a case, the distance education is known as the ‘blended’ or ‘hybrid’ education.
Let’s go a little back in History?
So, when was this Distance Learning started? It was way back in the year 1728 when the first distance learning program was started by a person in Boston called Caleb Phillips who promised to teach the students shirt hand writing by means of a mailed assignment. This was the very first instance of distance education being advertised in the world. Now, it has spread all over the world and everybody is now utilising this form of education to enhance their knowledge.
What are the methods used to impart Distance Education?
Distance Education and learning has evolved over time. From using the snail mail to using video conferencing on the internet; nowadays distance education is turning over a new leaf to ensure that students are getting the best of education in the most modern forms. There are four main categories which are used in Distance Learning. These categories include:
1.Computer: With the advent of the internet, distance learning has become all the easier by integrating computer and the online world. Students are now able to access a lot of information and data with the World Wide Web. Apart from this, the internet has enabled the teachers of distance education to make use of emails, video conferencing and audio-visual techniques to get their study material across. With simply a net connection, the students can also interact with their peers or their teachers on the internet forum. In short, computers have made distance education one of the easiest ways to impart education to students.
2.Videos: Videos are another popular form of distance learning. This method is useful for those who do not have the luxury of a faster internet connection. On the internet, you can buffer the videos straight away and view your instructor teaching you implicitly, but in the case of a slow net connection this would not be possible. Videos were one of the first ways via which the modern distance education was started. The advantage with video learning is that the students are able to see as well as hear what their instructor is trying to explain. As a result, they are able to understand in a much more implicit way. Using speech and visual props, learning is faster and enjoyable.
3.Audio: Every student has a different way of learning. For some it may be through visuals, while for others an aural medium might be better suited. Distance learning thorough Audio medium takes in the form of telephonic conversations or in the form of audio conferencing. This is the best way of learning for those students who respond better to an audio input. The ease of use and cheap nature of this medium makes it a popular learning tool with many distance learning advocates.
4.Print: Print technology uses many different forms including those of text books, text and study guides and handbooks or hand-outs. This is one of the most popular ways in distance learning where all these materials are mailed out to the recipients. They can be used individually or can also be used to augment other media of distance learning. Nowadays, the use of fax is also becoming popular where the students get their study material in the form of fax notes and can also correspond to their teacher via the same fax number. Print technology is more preferred than the other categories of distance learning because of the fact that it is easier to use and a much more portable medium.
Despite the fact that distance learning is a different approach than the conventional way of learning and the fact that there is no presence of the teacher, no direct interaction between the teacher and the student, more and more people are now utilizing this form of education because of the freedom that it can give. Its advantages are many and people have been using this form of education for a long time now. Here are some of the common advantages that
Distance Learning can give you:
- Freedom and Flexibility: Though there are different media of imparting education to the student; a distance learning program is unique because it is tailor-made to suit the needs of each and every individual. While some students might find their forte in audio visual methods of learning, others might be comfortable with print media. A distance learning program is flexible and will give them the freedom to choose the kind of media which they are most comfortable with. It will give the students freedom to choose the kind of subjects they want and also the medium via which they would be learning.
- Saves Time & Money: One of the biggest advantages that a distance learning program gives the students is saving on their time and money. Since, the learning process does not take place in a traditional setting like in a classroom, the students do not have to venture out and be present in the class. Alternatively, they also do not have to spend money on a lot of things that a school or a college or university curriculum requires-like uniforms, specific textbooks and college prescribed requirements. They can continue with studying distance learning program from the comfort of their homes and in any attire that they want!
- Convenience is the Key: Distance education is for those who have some other priorities which did not allow them to continue the education at the right time. Now, they can choose any subject that they like and continue learning about it without much difficulty. They can access a lot more subjects now and can choose a topic which catches their fancy. For those using the internet, it is all the more convenient! You don’t need to fret about printing the assignments on the right date, simply click a button and your assignment is submitted. You don’t have to fill gas in your vehicle to go to a distant university. Simply order the courses you want and complete them in your own comfort zones. A distance education can offer you all this and a lot more.
- An individualized form of Study: The Distance Learning course that you take up can be tailor-made to suit your needs. You can choose to study the topic that you want, and you can ask your instructors all the doubts that you have and top it all, you can easily take your own sweet time to complete any topic and submit the assignment. After all, you are your own master now! You can choose the way you are taught the subjects or topics-whether it would be in the form of audio-visual props or whether they are in the form of study notes; the choice and freedom to choose are completely yours!
- 24*7 access to all the study material: Unlike the conventional forms of study, where you have a fixed time to research and get your study material, distance learning is different because you can access these materials anytime you like-on the internet, via your audio-visual means and even through your textbooks. Since the internet provides you a forum to interact with your peers, you can ask your doubt anytime you want.
In India too, some of the best distance education institutes are located. The following list will give you the top three distance education institutes in the country:
1.Indira Gandhi National Open University: Located in New Delhi, this is one of the premier institutes for the best distance education programmes. They have UG as well as PG courses on a plethora of subjects starting from BA in any subject, BSc. And in the PG in Financial management and rural development etc.
Contact: Phone: 29535714, Website: http://www.ignou.ac.in/
2.Annamalai University: Dr. Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar had founded this institute in the year 1929 in Chennai. According to the reports on colleges, this is the second best distance education university in India. They have more than 49 departments and also have 2500 trained experts to teach various courses in Textile design, Fashion design, Hotel Management etc.
Contact: Phone: +914144 238248/263/796,
3.Osmania University: Osmania University was founded in the year 1918 and is one of the oldest colleges in the country. It is also the seventh oldest distance learning university in India.