Pick The Suitable Method For Your Post-secondary Education

By offering flexible, accessible, inclusive and cost-effective means of education, distance education is a viable option for lakhs of Indians to complete their post-secondary education and earn degrees in the face of socio-economic, cultural and physical barriers. There are several courses offered in distance education by different types of universities and institutions across the country and the globe, making the choice of the suitable method, MyDeskBook mode and college confusing. Here, we discuss how we can pick the suitable method of post-secondary distance education.

Types of Universities and Institutions offering Distance Education

Publicly-funded Dual Mode Institutions are accredited and publicly-funded institutions that offer both on-campus/ regular programs and off-campus/ distance/ online education programs. They typically engage their on-campus faculty to teach their distance programs with the help of technical and specialized support staff. The degree programs offered by them are generally of good quality and standard.

Publicly-funded Open Universities: These long-distance learning colleges are purely for distance learning purposes. Since they cater to students from very remote localities and socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds who may not have sufficient access to the internet, they use print-based method for teaching-learning. Very few open universities across the world offer online programs.

Publicly-funded Universities/ Institutions that specialize in online/blended learning are long-distance learning colleges too offering purely distance learning. Blended mode courses require students to attend a prescribed duration of classes on campus.

Not-for-profit Private Institutions/Universities are those that offer the benefits of distance education similar to public universities along with the added advantage of attention and assistance from faculty members. Some of these have tie-ups with the industry and make the course curriculum in consultation with them.

For-profit Private Universities are similar to the previous category except these are profit-making bodies.

Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) are acceptable modes of learning for specific skills and competencies but do not offer degrees and are not acceptable for post-secondary education.

Picking the Suitable Method

Approval and Recognition- In India, there are certain regulations that need to be adhered to by universities and institutions providing distance education. Most important of these are that the university or institution must be accredited by the UGC and each course offered by them must be approved by the UGC and their degree recognized. For technical courses, the approval must be given by AICTE. This must be your most important consideration as it guarantees quality and standard of the course curriculum, framework and study centers.

Cost and Quality- Publicly-funded universities and institutions provide subsidized education while also guaranteeing quality. Private universities, however, are more expensive and do not offer subsidies. But the quality can vary.

Print vs Online Modes- If you have access to the internet and if having online communication and group discussions on forums works for you, online mode would be the pick for you. But if you do not have proper internet access or if you require physical remedial classes and study centers, print mode would serve your purpose.

Support and services- It is important that the university provides sufficient support and services in admissions, form submission for exams, assignment submission, re-evaluation requests and other processes. Depending upon your needs, you may want to choose an institute that either offers physical or online support and services.

Riya Sha- Ex-IIM faculty Author of Distance Education Colleges in India, Gurgaon.

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