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Distance Learning Programme - The Basics and Usefulness:

Distance Learning Programme

Distance Learning Programme – The Basics and Usefulness :

Distance education or Learning :

Distance education, or distance learning, is a field of education.

It focuses on the Pedagogy, technology, and instructional systems design that is effectively incorporated in educating students who are not physically present "on site" to receive their education.
Mode of Communication for Distance Learning Programme::

Instead, teachers and students may communicate by exchanging printed or electronic media, or through technology that allows them to communicate in real time .

Blended of Hybrid Distance learning Programme :

Distance Learning education courses that require a physical on-site presence for any reason including the taking of examinations is considered to be a hybrid or blended Distance Learning program or Course.
Various Types of distance education courses:
• Correspondence courses conducted through regular mail
• Internet courses conducted either synchronously or asynchronously
• Telecourse/Broadcast where content is delivered via radio or television
• CD-ROM where the student interacts with computer content stored on a CD-ROM
• PocketPC/Mobile Learning where the student accesses course content stored on a mobile device or through a wireless server
• Any course which use a combination of above said methodologies.
Origins


One of the oldest distance Learning Programme based education universities is the University of South Africa, which has been offering DE courses since 1946.

The Largest Distance Learning Programme:

The largest distance education university in the United Kingdom is the Open University founded 1969.


In Germany the FernUniversität in Hagen was founded 1974.
There are many private and public, non-profit and for-profit
institutions offering courses and degree programs through distance education.

Levels of accreditation vary;

Fraudulent Diploma Mills:

Some institutions offering distance education in the United States have received little outside oversight, and some may be fraudulent diploma mills.

In many other jurisdictions, an institution may not use the term "University" without accreditation and authorization, normally by the national government.
Methods

In Distance Education, students may not be required to be present in a classroom, but that also may be a question of option.

As for an electronic classroom or Virtual Learning Environment, it may or not be a part of a distance education set up.

Electronic classrooms can be both on campus, and off campus. We would call such institutions as using a 'flexible' delivery mode.
Distance Education may also use all forms of technology, from print to the computer.

This range will include
• radio,
• television,
• audio video conferencing,
• computer aided instruction,
• e-learning/on-line learning et al. (E-learning/online-learning are largely synonymous).

Open Learning and Distance Learning:

A distinction is also made between open learning and distance learning. To clarify our thinking we can say that while 'open' education is the system in which the student is free to choose the time and place, but distance education is a teaching methodology used when the student and teacher are separated by time and place.

Thus it follows that not all open-learning institutions use distance education and not all organisations that use distance education are open learning institutions.

Indeed there are many cases in which students are in traditional classrooms, connected via a video-conferencing link to a teacher in a distant classroom.


Virtual University of Distance Learning :
This method is typical in geographically dispersed institutions. Conversely, the term virtual university is sometimes used to describe an open-learning institution that uses the Internet to create an imaginary university environment, in which the students, faculty, and staff can communicate and share information at any time, regardless of location.

Distance Learning Programs and Education have traversed four to five 'generations' of technology in its history. These are print, audio/video broadcasting, audio/video teleconferencing, computer aided instruction, e-learning/ online-learning, computer broadcasting/podcasting etc.

Radio as a Powerful mode:

Yet the radio remains a very viable form, especially in the developing nations, because of its reach. In India the FM Channel is very popular and is being used by universities, to broadcast educational programmes of variety on areas such as
1. teacher education,
2. rural development,
3. programmes in agriculture for farmers,
4. science education,
5. creative writing,
6. mass communication, in addition to traditional courses in
7. liberal arts, science and
8. business administration.

In short then, though a range of technology presupposes a distance education 'inventory' it is technological appropriateness and connectivity, such as computer, or for that matter electrical connectivity that should be considered, when we think of the world as a whole, while fitting in technological applications to distance education.

Educational Delivery systems
Older models of distance education utilized regular mail to send written material, videos, audiotapes, and CD-ROMs or other media storage format (e.g.CompactFlash cards) to the student and to turn in the exercises.

Today's distance education course or Distance Learning Programs make use of E-mail, the Web, and video conferencing over broadband network connections for both wired physical locations and wireless mobile learning.

In some countries, the material is supplemented by television and radio programming. To compete with the conventional sector, course material must be of very high quality and completeness, and will use modern technologies such as educational animation.


Fulltime and Part Time studies:
Full time or part-time study is possible, but most students choose part-time study. Research study is possible as well.

Distance education is offered at all levels, but is most frequently an option for university-level studies.

Low Residency Distant Learning Programme:
A form of educational program which is similar to this but which requires some amount of presence during the year is a low-residency program.


Correspondence courses:
Distance education programs are sometimes called correspondence courses, an older term that originated in nineteenth-century vocational education programs that were conducted through postal mail.

This term has been largely replaced by distance education, and expanded to encompass more sophisticated technologies and delivery methods.

The first subject taught by correspondence was the Pitman Shorthand, a tool of stenography.

Primary and secondary education programs were also widely available by correspondence, usually for children living in remote areas.

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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