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Distance Learning Programme - An Educational Arm race

Distance Learning Programmes , Online education ,

Distance Learning Programme – Educational Arm Race – Mushroom Growth of Distance Education (DE) Programmes:

Introduction:

As it is known to all , Distance learning Programmes is undergoing a great deal of change for betterment.
• In order to gain new student population , New colleges are adopting to DE.
• At some Institutions , DE is pitched as a way to keep Faculty members from selling their courses to other vendors.
• Both “For Profit” and “Not For Profit” DE providers are in rise as it is catching up with an exponential growth rate especially with ON LINE DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAM.

A sampling of Colleges and Universities that offer DE On Line in USA :

1. e – Cornell
2. NYE
3. University of Illinois
4. Maryland University
5. Rio Salado
6. Virtual Temple
7. SUNY learning network

Hybrid Partnerships:

This is Corporate and University Joint ventures
They are again classified in to :
• Units that are providing COURSE MANAGEMENT SYTEMS for colleges and Universities to offer their own DE Programmes.
• Units that are distributing Courses from existing institutions.

Course Management system:

There are several options when Colleges choose to offer Distance education.
1. This is to develop their own Hardware and Software to offer DE In house
2. The next is to develop some of the Capabilities for DE while contracting out other capabilities .
3. This is to contract with Outside vendors . They provide Hardware and most vital COURSE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE which is a Largest market in this field of education.
The vendor most likely to dominate in this field is the one hat can successfully integrate DE Course Management with Student information systems which would allow Students to register for Courses , check their Grades and attend DE Classes – All from the same computer screen.
In the same way , staff ( Faculty) too can grade Student papers, check the transcripts and track their enrolments using the same computer interface.

Some of the Course Management System vendors in USA( Corporate – University Joint ventures) :
• e College
• Campus pipeline
• Web CT
• Black Board

Some of the Universities( Corporate Joint venture DE providers) base their Curricula on “Problem centered Learning” They are presented with Distance Education simulations of crises they might confront in the Corporate world. These models are likely to occupy the growing part of the Landscape in higher education.

All the DE colleges are teaming up with Technology

Maintenance of Educational Quality :
The importance of maintaining the educational quality is the need of the hour as Distance education has emerged as a one of the major modes of imparting education especially through Internet.

• STUDENT AS “ CUSTOMERS”

Most of the models outlined emphasize meeting immediate market demands for course work as well as treating students as “ Customers” If such market models become dominant broad based liberal arts course work could take a back seat .

• Course standardization:

By utilizing Course management soft wares and course development specialists , many are attracted to the idea of creating consistent and transferable courses . These are powerful teaching aids.

But Standardization in programming and teaching is NOT the only right way to go. Academic good practice requires a Faculty with differing points of view and presentation style , Free wheeling discussions and academic freedom.

It is about learning respect and acquiring open mindedness and as such Education is the Foundation of a working Democracy

• Conclusion : Keeping all the advantages of DE in today’s context , it shall be known ,
Democratic Governance rather than Top Down Management ( like in corporate sector) produces better and more CREDIBLE EDUCATION.

Faculties should see to it that Students have the equipment , training and support to succeed in the Distance education environment and also that they have appropriate ACADEMIC COUNSELING.

C.EASHWER – SINGAPORE
Published: 2006-05-03
Author: Chockalingam Eswaramurthi

About the author or the publisher
Iam a Professional writer dedicated to sharing the knowledge on topics of Public interest, be it Management , Leadership , Social service , World Politics , Personalities , Industries , Health , Computers , Policy making , Governments , Book review etc., Iam from Singapore . My e mail id is : eashwer@pacific.net.sg

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