Today two terms which are being used inter-changeably are ‘Open Learning’ and ‘Distance Education’ and the often combined to be known as Open and Distance Learning, [ODL]. Open learning is a philosophy and Distance Education is the mode used for translating it into reality as the two are complementary to each other.
Distance Education is an Umbrella term which helps us to understand all the teaching and learning arrangements in which the learner and the teacher are separated by space and time.
In fact, it is a mode of delivering information and education to learners who are not physically present in the classroom.
The transaction of the curriculum is affected by means of specially prepared materials, [self-study, learning materials] which are delivered to the learners at their doorsteps, through various media such as:
The communication between the teachers and the learners is mainly through electronic media such as:
- Interactive radio Counselling
- Chat Sessions
Distance Education offers three modes of learning, which are:
- Distance Learning
Open and Distance Learning occupies a special place in Indian higher education system because of its major contribution in enhancing the gross enrolment ratio and democratization of higher education to large segments of India population particularly to reach out the unreached and to meet the demands of lifelong learning which has to become more of a necessity in the knowledge society.
A survey was done on the Top MBA Colleges of Kolkata and the report stated that distance education is the future of education system. Some of the top MBA colleges have even started with a degree of Executive MBA for those people who want to get a masters degree in management but cant leaves their current job or has no time for full-time course.
The major objectives of DE system are:
- To democratize higher education to large segments of the population, in particular, the disadvantaged groups such as those living in remote and rural areas, working people, women etc.
- To provide an innovative system of university-level education which is both flexible and open in terms of methods and pace of learning; a combination of courses, eligibility for enrolment, the age of entry, the conduct of examination and implementation of the programmes of study;
- To provide an opportunity for up-gradation of skills and qualifications;
- To develop education as a lifelong activity to enable persons to update their knowledge or acquire knowledge in new areas.
Top Engineering Colleges in Kolkata using Distance Education are:
- Netaji Subhash Engineering College
- Heritage Institute of Technology
- Guru Nanak Institute of Technology
- Narula Institute of Technology
- Vaishno Devi Institute of Studies
- Future Institute of Engineering and Management
- Pailan College of Management & Technology
Although distance education is being adopted by all the institutes, colleges, and the universities as a part of its curriculum as it is helping a lot of people getting a degree without even entering the college premises or leaving their old job.
The people need to sit at home during the weekends, read the books subscribed and complete the assignment given by the institute and submit it to the online college portal.
This has made a lot easier to get a degree but on its way, it has lost something too. The correct essence of teaching, reading and classroom environment is lost as the students don’t get to face such situations where a group of people sitting together, cracking jokes, etc is done.
Although people opt for distance education, there are many people who think it’s the opportunity to enjoy the essence of classroom study and go for full-time course.