Educational scenario: present times:
It is estimated that in the US more than 70% of the Universities have provided at least one of their courses online and this trend is likely to grow in future. The range of fields covered by online facility is truly astounding. Students can choose from business to technology to marketing to psychology and education programs to name a few.
It can be said that online education is still in its infant stage in India when compared to the online education abroad. Several professional courses including Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Bachelor of Computer Applications (BCA) and Bachelor of Mass Communications are some of the degree courses pursued through distance education mode with great fervor.
It is also heartening to know that besides the traditional and professional course, Universities like IGNOU are offering specialized degree programs with online facility. Similar openings are available with Alagappa University, University of Madras and Pondicherry University at their respective Institutes of Correspondence education. However, all these universities ensure that personal contact programs (PCPs) are compulsory.
Online education and distance education
There is a popular misconception to equate distance learning with online education. However a fine line exists between both. While all online degree programs can be termed as distance learning, all distance learning courses need not necessarily be online courses.
Distance education: course of study: Masters and Bachelor degree:
The availability of several distance learning courses assure any discerning candidate that he/she can pursue education from any State or University he/she desires in India. Most of the distance education study programmes as online courses. Some of the Master degree courses
Offered under distance education programmes:
Master of Arts, Commerce, Bank Management, Business Economics and Finance, Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Financial Management, Foreign Trade, Human Resources Management, International Business Management, Investment Management, Law, Information Sciences, Library sciences, Mass Communication, Physical education and Public Administration among others.
Bachelor degree programmes include:
Arts, Science, Fashion and Apparel Design, Academic Laws, Corporate Secretaryship, General Law, Horticultural science, Information sciences, Journalism and Mass communication, Business Administration, Bank Management, Commerce, Library and information sciences, Literature, Marketing Management, Education, Foreign Trade, Civil Engineering Correspondence Degree courses, and Electrical and Electronic Engineering Degree courses.
Distance education degree online - Admission eligibility and procedures
The procedure for application and admission is more or less the same for universities and centers across India, whether it is Anna University or Symbiosis or IGNOU.
- Blank application forms can usually downloaded by applying online or through specified sale centers.
- All applicants undergo an online entrance test. Those candidates who have passed this online test and satisfy the eligibility criteria are given provisional admission.
- Those candidates who desire to undergo master degree program should have a degree and cleared the entrance test. The degree should have been obtained after the plus two or equivalent examination.
- Important dates including commencement of Issue of application form, last date of receipt of request for application and last date of issue and receipt of filled applications are notified online in the college/university websites and newspaper advertisements.
- Entrance tests for distance learning programs online are conducted in various cities/towns in India. Online tests are conducted in specified online test centers at specified dates and timings.
- Candidates are required to bring their original certificates with a set of photocopies when they attend the online entrance test for scrutiny and provisional selection.
- The eligible candidates list is also announced on the web by the university/centre of distance education.
- Subsequently, the admission process and payment of fees take place in the respective online test centers in various cities.
Advantages of online distant education:
- Through online degree facility, a candidate can aspire and become a student of a top college/university in any State of this country or abroad. One need not physically travel and pay for the lodging and boarding facilities.
- Online degree increases career prospects. It does not also hamper one's present occupation.
- Online distant education has made possible to obtain an accredited degree from universities recognized worldwide.
- Online education through distance education programs seem to be a good option for those unable to bear the financial constraints of regular study facilities.
- The course fee for distance education programs is by far much lesser than the regular courses. Hence, rural India is benefited by these distance programs.
Several educational critics question the effectiveness of teaching a student from afar. Many detractors worry that online courses sacrifice intellectual sophistication for the sake of convenience. They also fear that online education could dehumanize the process of learning and isolate the students. Despite these worries, online distance education has come to stay.