Foreign Education Bill – An Education Revolution in India Or a Myth

The government has finally given its approval to the Foreign Educational Institutions Regulation of Entry and Operations, (Maintenance of Quality and Prevention of Commercialization) Bill 2010 (“Bill”). The bill seeks to regulate entry, operation and restriction of foreign universities in India. However shortly after the Union Cabinet cleared the long-pending draft bill that allows foreign education providers to set up campuses in India and offer degrees independently, most of the Indian opposition parties objected to the bill, slamming it as “commercially driven” and one that would breed inequity. As long as the opposition concerns over issues such as equivalence/parity of degrees, fee structures and equity in terms of access to all students remains, passage of the bill in the Parliament looks tough.

Though, the present FDI policy allows 100% foreign investment in the education sector including higher education, foreign universities are currently not allowed to directly offer degree courses in India. It is estimated that nearly 150 foreign institutes offer courses with Indian varsities under a twinning arrangement, i.e. a part of the course in India and remaining abroad but most of them do not have all required accreditation from the regulatory bodies. The existing arrangements are regulated by the All India Council for Technical Education Regulations for Entry and Operations of Foreign Universities in India Imparting Technical Education, 2005 (“Foreign Universities Regulations”), which is presently applicable only to technical and management institutes.

Some of the reported provisions forming part of the present bill approved by the Union Cabinet include:

• Different levels of registration process for getting registered with the University Grants Commission (“UGC”) or any like regulatory body. Subject to necessary approvals by the UGC, a foreign university could be registered as a ‘deemed university’ under the relevant provisions of University Grants Commission Act, 1956.

• A corpus fund of INR 50 Crore (US$ 10 Million Appox.) is required to be deposited by intending foreign university;

• Such foreign universities would be established as “not for profit” companies under Section 25 of the Companies Act and thus cannot take the profit back. Similar provisions are applicable to Indian private universities and deemed universities as profit making activities in education sector is frowned upon by the regulators;

• Foreign universities can however provide consultancy services, faculty development and other like activities and the profit generated from those projects can be repatriated back. Similar structures are being adopted by Indian private universities;

• a time bound process for granting approval to foreign educational institutions to set up campuses;

• scrutiny of proposals of aspiring institutions on the basis of their previous experience, faculty strength, reputation etc;

• Quota laws providing reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes, may not be applicable to foreign universities setting up campuses in India.

It is indicated that various foreign institutes are already keen to set up campuses in India and these institutes are viewing the recent development with great interest. Thus, legislation of the bill would open a huge market for international educational institutions and collaborations with Indian universities.

The bill once finalized and enacted, is expected to bring huge foreign investment in Indian education sector and support the Indian Government in its commitment to increase public private participation in education sector and raise the college going ratio to 30 per cent by 2020 as compared to the present 12 per cent of all school-leavers entering college. It is also being claimed that this will put India as a “preferred destination for attaining education” on the global knowledge map as it will not only bring down the number of Indian students going out for higher education (estimated to be 1.6 lakh Indian students every year with an outflow of about 7.5 billion of foreign exchange per annum) but would also attract foreign students from south eastern countries.

Besides this, it is also expected to create new business opportunities for the Indian educational players and new and better salaried job opportunities for the teachers, administrative and technical staff.

While the bill is likely to benefit Indian students by increasing choices presently available to them and help in overall development of the education system in India especially the higher education system, there are still several questions left unanswered such as the lack of regulatory clarity and level of governmental inference, lack of independent regulator (non-government body), compliance with mandatory campus infrastructure and development requirements, flexibility in fee fixation, taxation, closure of universities, etc.

In the absence of the actual Bill being publicly available (it will be available once it is being presented in the Parliament) the above views are based on the earlier version of the Bill publicly available and recent public discussions on the bill.

Seema Jhingan

[email protected]

Pros And Cons Of Online Education For The World Citizen

More and more young people are choosing non-traditional education to start and advance in their careers while completing and furthering their formal education. “Typical distance learners are those who don’t have access to programs, employees who work during scheduled class hours, homebound individuals, self-motivated individuals who want to take courses for self-knowledge or advancement, or those who are unable or unwilling to attend class” (Charp, 2000, p. 10). Three key elements surround the online learner: technology, curriculum, and instructor (Bedore, Bedore, & Bedore, 1997). These elements must be keenly integrated into one smoothly and operationally functional delivery tool.

While an online method of education can be a highly effective alternative medium of education for the mature, self-disciplined student, it is an inappropriate learning environment for more dependent learners. Online asynchronous education gives students control over their learning experience, and allows for flexibility of study schedules for non traditional students; however, this places a greater responsibility on the student. In order to successfully participate in an online program, student must be well organized, self-motivated, and possess a high degree of time management skills in order to keep up with the pace of the course. For these reasons, online education or e-learning is not appropriate for younger students (i.e. elementary or secondary school age), and other students who are dependent learners and have difficulty

assuming responsibilities required by the online paradigm.

Millions of students use e-learning solutions in over 140 countries: corporations such as Kodak and Toyota and education providers like ExecuTrain, New Horizons, the Enoch Olinga College (ENOCIS), Phoenix University amongst the hundreds of schools and colleges.

Studies have shown student retention to be up to 250% better with online learning than with classroom courses. Several recent ones have helped frame the debate. The Sloan Consortium published a widely distributed report titled “Growing by Degrees: Online Education in the United States in 2005” that examined the growing prevalence of online education across U.S. institutions.

In addition, a study conducted by the Boston-based consulting firm Eduventures found that, while about half of institutions and more than 60 percent of employers generally accept the high quality of online learning, students’ perceptions differ. Only about 33 percent of prospective online students said that they perceive the quality of online education to be “as good as or better than” face-to-face education. Ironically, 36 percent of prospective students surveyed cited concern about employers’ acceptance of online education as a reason for their reluctance to enroll in online courses.

But what actually drives quality? A March 2006 report released by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education identifies six quality indicators: mission, curriculum and instruction, faculty support, student and academic services, planning for sustainability and growth, and evaluation and assessment.

The debate rages on while the Pros and Cons of Online Adult Education for today’s international students are constantly analyzed to determine if this type of education platform can deliver predictable and measurable results.

The Enoch Olinga College (ENOCIS) is one institution which uses this type of delivery system. ENOCIS enhances their learning experience by offering many other “value added”, cost reducing benefits to students. Online pupils can apply for scholarships available to students of excellence and other financial aid programs like the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), with attractive interest rates. They also provide convenient payment facilities, on line banking, Western Union Quick Collect, bank cards and a student who is granted a loan can start repaying it after two months if they have a corporate guarantor.

Pros of Online Education:

The key advantages of the online education experience are briefly explained below:

1. Cheaper: Online courses may be more affordable than those offered at colleges or trade schools. You may also save on transportation costs like gas, bus passes, and parking permits because you don’t need to commute to school and there are no housing or meals plans to worry about since you do not need to live on or near a college   campus . Housing expenses and other costs associated with living expenses are usually the most expensive aspects of a college education, so by taking an online course you could save quite a bit of money.

The best part of online education is the absence of travel and immigration problems. Some students may prefer not to pursue traditional on  campus   education , as it involves traveling to attend lectures. With online education, an applicant does not need to travel. Courses simply require accessing the internet in order to begin the learning process.

2. More Convenient: By taking courses online, you’re able to decide when you study and for how long. You are also able to schedule your studying around your work or social schedule.

Since you’re not bound to a classroom, you may do your work wherever you have access to a computer and the internet. You’ll be able to set your own pace and decide exactly how fast you want to go over the material.

Take online courses when you need them, not based on some college’s annual or semester schedule. You can learn when you need it (Just-In-Time) A course is as close as a computer with an Internet connection.

3. Flexibility: with no set class times, you decide when to complete your assignments and readings. You set the pace. In some programs, you can even design your own degree plan. The online students can carry out their private or official work, along with the online education. As it provides the convenience of time flexibility, a student can login and logout as per his desire whereas, the traditional education do not provide such flexibility in learning.

Flexibility of online education allows the student control over their studies. They can allot more time in the topics, which they feel comparatively hard and vice versa. The speed of learning depends solely upon the students.

4. Technology: With the help of the scientific technology, students can do their online education at any place. The only mandatory pre-requisite is the availability of computer along with an internet amenity. Side benefits include the learning new technologies and technical skills

5. Availability: distance-learning opportunities have exploded over the past few years, with many accredited and reputable programs.

6. Accessibility: with an online course, you can work on the course just about anywhere you have computer access. Your learning options are not constrained by your geographic location. The new virtual classrooms have created a myriad of learning opportunities for global learning and education center. On line education is a new era experience adapting to the needs of the world citizen.

7. Self-Directed: you set your own pace and schedule, so you control the learning environment.

8. Time Spent in Classroom: now you can take a course on just about any subject without ever having to be in, or travel to, a classroom so you have very little wasted time. Note, however, that some distance-education programs still do have an in-class component and normally to receive a fully accredited US university degree an international student must spend one or two semesters on  campus .

9. High Quality Dialog: Within an online asynchronous discussion structure, the learner is able to carefully reflect on each comment from others before responding or moving on to the next item. This structure allows students time to articulate responses with much more depth and forethought than in a traditional face-to-face discussion situation where the participant must analyze the comment of another on the spot and formulate a response or otherwise loose the chance to contribute to the discussion.

10. Student Centered: Within an online discussion, the individual student responds to the course material (lectures and course books, for example) and to comments from other students. Students usually respond to those topics within the broader conversation that most clearly speak to their individual concerns and situations resulting in several smaller conversations taking place simultaneously within the group. While students are expected to read all of their classmates’ contributions, they will become actively engaged only in those parts of the dialog most relevant to their needs. In this way, students take control of their own learning experience and tailor the class discussions to meet their own specific needs. Ideally, students make their own individual contributions to the course while at the same time take away a unique mix of information directly relevant to their needs.

11. Level Playing Field: In the online environment learners retain a considerable level of anonymity. Discriminating factors such as age, dress, physical appearance, disabilities, race and gender are largely absent. Instead, the focus of attention is clearly on the content of the discussion and the individual’s ability to respond and contribute thoughtfully and intelligently to the material at hand.

On line adult education can be more effective and better for certain types of learners (shy, introverted, reflective, language challenged, those that need more time). Distance education courses are often better for people who learn through visual cues and experiential exercises.

12. Synergy: The online format allows for a high level of dynamic interaction between the instructor and students and among the students themselves. Resources and ideas are shared, and continuous synergy will be generated through the learning process as each individual contributes to the course discussions and comments on the work of others. The synergy that exists in the student-centred virtual classroom is one of the unique and vital traits that the online learning format posses..

13. Access to Resources: It is easy to include distinguished guest experts or students from other institutions in an online class as well as allow students to access resources and information anywhere in the world. An instructor can compile a resource section online with links to scholarly articles, institutions, and other materials relevant to the course topic for students to access for research, extension, or in depth analysis of course content material in the global classroom.

14. Creative Teaching: The literature of adult education supports the use of interactive learning environments as contributing to self-direction and critical thinking. Some educators have made great strides in applying these concepts to their on ground teaching. However, many classes still exist which are based on boring lectures and rote memorization of material. The nature of the semi-autonomous and self-directed world of the virtual classroom makes innovative and creative approaches to instruction even more important. In the online environment, the facilitator and student collaborate to create a dynamic learning experience. The occasion of a shift in technology creates the hope that those who move into the new technology will also leave behind bad habits as they adopt this new paradigm of teaching. As educators redesign their course materials to fit the online format, they must reflect on their course objectives and teaching style and find that many of the qualities that make a successful online facilitator are also tremendously effective in the traditional classroom as well.

Cons of Online Education:

Briefly explained are some factors that could negatively affect your success with distance learning courses:

1. The Technology:

a. Equity and Accessibility to Technology: Before any online program can hope to succeed, it must have students who are able to access the online learning environment. Lack of access, whether it be for economical or logistics reasons, will exclude otherwise eligible students from the course. This is a significant issue in rural and lower socioeconomic neighborhoods and educating the underserved peoples of the world. Furthermore, speaking from an administrative point of view, if students cannot afford the technology the institution employs, they are lost as customers. As far as Internet accessibility is concerned, it is not universal, and in some areas of the United States and other countries, Internet access poses a significant cost to the user. Some users pay a fixed monthly rate for their Internet connection, while others are charged for the time they spend online. If the participants’ time online is limited by the amount of Internet access they can afford, then instruction and participation in the online program will not be equitable for all students in the course. This is a limitation of online programs that rely on Internet access. Equity of access to learners of all backgrounds and parts of society

b. Requires New Skills/Technologies: if you’re not computer-savvy or are afraid of change or new technologies, then online education will probably not work for you. The online students are required to learn new skills, such as researching and reviewing the internet. For the online students, they need to learn the techniques of navigation on an online library for necessary information. Technical training and support of learners and instructors

c. Computer Literacy: Both students and facilitators must possess a minimum level of computer knowledge in order to function successfully in an online environment. For example, they must be able to use a variety of search engines and be comfortable navigating on the World Wide Web, as well as be familiar with Newsgroups, FTP procedures and email. If they do not possess these technology tools, they will not succeed in an online program; a student or faculty member who cannot function on the system will drag the entire program down.

d. Limitations of Technology: User friendly and reliable technology is critical to a successful online program. However, even the most sophisticated technology is not 100% reliable. Unfortunately, it is not a question of if the equipment used in an online program will fail, but when. When everything is running smoothly, technology is intended to be low profile and is used as a tool in the learning process. However, breakdowns can occur at any point along the system, for example, the server which hosts the program could crash and cut all participants off from the class; a participant may access the class through a networked computer which could go down; individual PCs can have numerous problems which could limit students’ access; finally, the Internet connection could fail, or the institution hosting the connection could become bogged down with users and either slow down, or fail all together. In situations like these, the technology is neither seamless nor reliable and it can detract from the learning experience.

2. The Institution: Many online education facilities are relatively new with many courses and hence, lack in modern instructors for instructing the new curriculum. Estimates show that there is still a need for an increase of more 50% of qualified instructors for online education.

b. The Administration and Faculty: Some environments are disruptive to the successful implementation of an online program. Administrators and/or faculty members who are uncomfortable with change and working with technology or feel that online programs cannot offer quality education often inhibit the process of implementation. These people represent a considerable weakness in an online program because they can hinder its success.

3. The Facilitator :Lack of Essential Online Qualities: Successful on-ground instruction does not always translate to successful online instruction. If facilitators are not properly trained in online delivery and methodologies, the success of the online program will be compromised. An instructor must be able to communicate well in writing and in the language in which the course is offered. An online program will be weakened if its facilitators are not adequately prepared to function in the virtual classroom.

4. Perceptions/Reputation: while slowly changing as more and more mainstream colleges and universities embrace distance learning, there still is a stigma attached to distance education to the student’s interaction in the online education. Some of the students believe that, there are few opportunities with regards to face-to-face interactions and feedbacks.

5. No Instructor Face Time: If your learning style is one where you like personalized attention from your teachers, then online education will probably not work for you.

6. Little Support: students are expected to find their own resources for completing assignments and exams, which is empowering for some, but daunting for others.

There is little support and limited guidelines provided in online education system. Online students are required to search as per their own imaginations for completing exams and assignments.

7. Lacking Social Interaction: while you often interact with classmates via email, chat rooms, or discussion groups, there are no parties or off line get-togethers.

If you enjoy meeting new people and learn better while you’re interacting with other people, you may want to reconsider online education.

8. No  Campus  Atmosphere: part of the traditional college experience, of course, is the beauty of the  campus , the college spirit, but you have none of that with distance-education courses.

Since you’re not on  campus  or in classes, you may lack opportunities to meet other students. You will not have many opportunities to interact face-to-face with your professors, so they may not have a real sense of who you are as a person.

9. Making Time: if you are a procrastinator or one of those people who always needs an extra push to complete work, you may have a hard time making time for your online classes. On line learning requires new skills and responsibilities from learners

10. Academic honesty of online students: requires a new mindset to online assessment. Most education experts agree that rote memory testing is not the best measure of learning in any environment and new measurement and evaluation tools are evolving.

11. Types and effectiveness of assessments: The importance of outcomes in online learning cannot be over emphasized. Does the program have measurable results? Are students learning what you say they should be learning? Then there are institutional outputs: course completion rates, job placement rates (if that’s the goal of the institution), graduation rates, student success on third-party tests, and student satisfaction scores.

These factors, both the pros and cons, contribute greatly to making an informed decision about the direction of your career path and how you are going to accomplish your goals: on line, in the classroom or a combination of both.

Institutions and companies that use continuing education to meet their needs also face similar decisions. Institutions that deliver online education are confronted with a series of challenges, including the search for good faculty, use of technology, and provision of adequate student services.

The Sloan Consortium report “Growing by Degrees: Online Education in the United States in 2005” found that 64 percent of chief academic officers and faculty believe that it takes more discipline for a student to succeed in an online course than it does in a face-to-face course.

More and more major business and industry is turning to on line continuing education as a viable and cost effective resource for training its personnel. Hilton Hotel has 380 hotels worldwide and is represented in 66 countries.

When you weigh the benefits and advantages of on line adult continuing education the cost of study and flexibility of scheduling tip the scales of programs like the Enoch Olinga College, Capella and Phoenix University’s distance learning program on line adult continuing education is becoming a world wide respected form of education.

However, as with any situation, there are both pros and cons with the concept of online education and the benefits of the virtual or global classroom. You may want to evaluate both before you decide on an online education program. By examining the advantages and disadvantages, you will be able to make a more informed decision. But, at the end of the day, online learning is independent learning. A lot of structure has been put into online programs, but it still comes down to a learner sitting in front of a computer by him or herself. The knowledge you receive or the benefits it will generate either in development of self esteem or increasing earning capacity will depend sole upon you the student.

Distance Education Or Traditional Education?

We have never lived in a more competitive time, where, if you do not own a diploma or degree of some sort, you are bound to be left behind. You have to make up your mind to either do it online or go on campus. For me, pursuing my bachelor’s degree online has been one of the best decisions I have made professionally, and I have never for one minute wanted to change to distance or on-campus studying.

To begin with, online learning has offered me more flexibility and convenience in all areas. My college allows me to set my time goals instead of forcing it on me and I get to work around my daily life, including my regular job during the day and family life at evenings. It has actually taught me self-discipline and time management. In addition, I get to earn my degree while still earning a salary and paying my bills.

Secondly, online learning has enabled me to put into practice, newly learned info. I get to use it in real life situations where I have to write letters for my boss and display my knowledge of better computer use. This has significantly boosted both my confidence and my salary.

Additionally, almost anyone who has to leave for campus studying have to take huge student loans, where, with interest added over the years, sounds both scary and ridiculous. But, gone are those days where it was compulsory to be in huge debts if you wanted a better education. While doing it online, even if you have to take a student loan, it would be minimal compared to if you were going on campus and had to pay for a campus dorm or rent an apartment.

Finally, and most important to me was the fact that I did not have to interrupt my son’s life by leaving him to go away for four to five years; this fact played about 90% in my decision-making process. It was very heart breaking for me to even think about leaving him. At age six, how could I have possibly made it easy telling him that I had to leave him for a very long time? I would not have been able to discipline him as I wanted to, to read and play with him, to help him with schoolwork, and so much more; online learning has allowed me opportunity to do it all. I had the privilege of having my parents around me all my life and I was not going to take that privilege from him, not even for a bachelor’s degree.

It may be true that with distance learning, you will not have the distractions of a job, kids, and family to deal with, so you might be more focused and less tired at the end of the day. However, take into consideration that most on-campus students do sometimes have to end up juggling school and a part-time job just to make ends meet.

Online learning has proved to be just as effective as distance learning. You must dedicate yourself, do your research and take it just as serious as anyone going on campus. With your goal ahead of you, you will end up the same thing others went distance for- your degree.

Campus Schools and Their Significance

What are  Campus  Schools?

The  Campus  Schools provide  education  to the mass and are located in the major cities of a country. They are involved in providing education to people. If you want to get admission into any of the  campus  schools, then you can take the application form or down it from the website. After that you need to fill up the application form and submit it with the authorities. They will give you a date in which the list of the meritorious candidates will be hung in the school/ university  campus . You can make the best out of your abilities if you get an admission to any of the renowned  Campus  Schools.

What is the specialty of the  campus  school?

The specialty of the  campus  school is its strict discipline. The discipline is similar to that of school. For this reason, people who want to get something more than the general mass of people are likely to take admission into any of these  campus  schools. There are a set of interlinked disciplines in these  campus  school and people who are interested can seek admission in any of these  campus  schools located all over the world.

The faculty over here:

How they teach and how you can make the best of it: In these schools, the teaching faculty is extremely nice and co-operative. They will teach you the basics of the course. You can learn quite a lot of things from the well experienced faculty members. Some of them are so experienced in this field that you will simply like their classes from the rest; they will make fun while teaching you. It is something that a student prefers the most. They can teach you in a pleasant way. In few sentences they can make you understand the topic which would have otherwise spoken with many of words by another professor. There are breaks in between the classes and you can relax during that time.

Sports: The  campus  schools have strict discipline does not means that stringent laws would resist you from performing all those interesting athletics which are part and parcel of other organizations. Therefore, the reputed  Campus  schools arranges for sports in which many participants participate. In those sports events you can even see the gracious presence of eminent personalities. Therefore, the  campus  schools are the best places to make your ward learn discipline and studies at the same time.

Off Campus Living

Deciding to go to a college or university is gonna be one of the biggest decisions of your life. When deciding to further your education there are many choices you will need to make. Some of the big decisions are what college or university you will be attending? How you will fund your education? What your major focus of studies will be when you get to college? But one of the biggest decisions many students face is where they will live when they start college. Sometimes this is an easy decision that seems to be made already for you and at other times it is a very difficult decision. Most of the newer students that do struggle with this decision tend to live close to their campuses, and question whether or not to remain with their family while attending school.

Living on campus can have many benefits. The school is closer to you so you may not need private transportation and can therefore save money for gas or for a car completely. Also this can be a benefit because you may tend to skip less and be late less when you are very close to the classroom. When you choose on campus housing your social life also tends to improve having friends so close, but beware this can also cause a drop in grades. Living in campus also can simplify your life a little because you will not need to worry about most monthly bills that you would have if you had a student apartment, and some students also get a meal plan makes grocery shopping easier. However there are some downfalls to living on the campus as well. There is less privacy as on average you can have anywhere from 1-6 roommates. This can make it noisier, harder to study and get work done, and can make your living quarters feel very small.

Living off campus can also have its rewards. Off campus housing tends to offer more privacy so it can be easier to get studying done. Living off campus you will have less rules and more of a sense of independence. Living outside of university housing can also better prepares you for living on your own after college as you will have more of a sense of responsibility when it comes to paying bill, budgeting, and prioritizing. One of the biggest downfalls to off campus living is it tends to be much more expensive then dorming you will need to buy more groceries, more monthly bills, and most likely more cost towards transportation. The other big downfall is there is less security as most campuses have on campus security guards.

There are many different types of student housing when staying on campus. Most freshmen start out in dormitories and sometimes don’t have a choice in their roommates. After freshmen year there tends to be a little more choice in the matter and you can stay in dormitories, residence halls, and mostly for seniors town houses or villas. It is usually recommended that students live on campus for at least one year to get the full college experience, but many choose to never live on campus for many different reasons. Living on campus tends to get you better situated with the lay out of your new campus. Campus maps will guide you along the way. However when you live on your campus it forces you to get to know where things are and how to get around. There are many websites to help guide you toward a student apartment. Your university bookstore may also have information to help you find student apartments in your area.

Online Higher Education in the 21st Century

The twenty first century presents unique challenges for higher education. Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) are seen as the major driving force of the future economies of countries around the world. While complexities of the society are enforcing the need for more education, ICTs are increasingly expanding the reach and range of educational institutions by making it possible to access any course from anywhere in the world and at anytime. They offer the possibility of drawing students from many countries who are studying the same course together at the same time. They also serve both the ‘free market’ (i.e. those markets where people are able and are prepared to pay the full cost of accessing services) and the ‘social market’ (i.e. those in need of on demand education and training, and do not have the resources to access or pay for such services, but who for reasons of both social justice and long term national economic development need basic education, upgrading or retraining).

The scope of education is being dramatically increased from a specialized activity for young people to a lifetime need for everyone. The wealth of nations will depend increasingly on knowledge based high-tech industries. This means that education and trainings are essential elements of the new information age not just in the pre-work years but throughout lifetime. Thus, ICTs offer the promise of not only widening access, but also improving the quality of learning by making it relevant to the skills and knowledge needed in an information society.

What is emerging today is   education  in four kinds of  campus  settings:

 Campus  based  education  (conventional universities etc.)

-Dual mode  education  (Traditional universities offering online courses as well)

-Off  campus   education  (open universities and distance education institutions, etc.)

-Global electronic  campus   education  (virtual universities, electronic based consortia/global networks, etc.)

There has been a tremendous growth and diversity in the number and types of learners, the learning outside traditional classrooms and also in the variety of providers from typical single mode and dual mode institutions (open universities/dual mode universities) with the purpose of increasing the access of corporate organizations to higher education in the aim of upgrading/retraining their workforce.

By using ICTs, formal universities are being transformed into distance learning institutes. They are starting to lecture on and offline to meet the growing pool of part-time students and open another potentiality. On the other hand, distance learning institutes are aiming to make it possible to teach and learn beyond spatial/time limits.

Behavioral and social issues play a huge role in the uptake of online offerings so do the economic issues that rule the implementation of online business models. The learning community would move beyond the classroom walls and would no more be dictated by the classroom schedule. Systems would no longer be age or time based. All boundaries related to distance, time, location of study, age, language, and culture would disappear. Individuals/groups that constitute the learning communities would be able to interact with each other across the globe. In other words, ICTs can personalize the prevailing impersonal studies by making dialogue teaching forms possible, and enabling them to be transmitted via data networks.

The exponential growth of information and communications technology (ICT) over the last 10 to 15 years has had a profound impact in every walk of life. Given the impact of ICT on many businesses and industries, it is being seen as major change agent in the field of higher education too. ICTs are predicted to revolutionize the way education is delivered. Computers are increasingly becoming powerful with technological breakthroughs in satellite, fiber optic and wireless technology. Software developments such as multimedia authoring systems have made it easier to create digital material such as computer simulations and educational material. Consequently, there is great interest in virtual education, which is based on the idea of a widespread and significant application of ICT on the core activities of education.

Many institutions worldwide, but particularly in North America, Australia and New Zealand, the United Kingdom and several other European countries such as Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands have taken early lead and invested heavily in online education infrastructure.

It is clear that ICT capacity will continue to expand at a rapid rate throughout the world and will drive opportunities for online education. It will be in the interest of nations and institutions to embrace online education system.

On the other hand, virtual education requires a stringent set of conditions to work efficiently and online accreditation must embrace multiple standards of learning if it is to be universally accepted. Thus, traditional education settings and processes will not disappear, nor should they.

As today’s children become tomorrow’s college students, providing alternative (online) learning environments will become more and more important. With the changing face and needs of society, quick adaptation would be the key to success. While universities need not abandon their rich traditions, they must become more adaptable and flexible to survive. For institutions that refuse to change, the outcome is quite clear: public support will fade and they will eventually cease to exist.

What Is Life Like on an Australian Campus?

Australian universities offer a unique opportunity for students to obtain a high quality education and at the same time and enjoy a unique and pleasurable lifestyle. In fact it’s no wonder that Australia is becoming the fastest growing destination of choice from overseas students in Europe and Asia. After all, the relaxed Australian lifestyle coupled with balmy weather is a sure attractant and makes the decision to study overseas that much easier.

University life is not just about study, it is about enjoying your environment and living in a place that stimulates your thinking, encourages your involvement, and rewards you for your efforts.

Many overseas students look at tourist brochures of Australia and wonder whether it is really true. Those who have made the journey have discovered to their delight at the Australian lifestyle is everything it promised to be.

Without dwelling on the tourism side of Australian  campus  life, let’s take a look at what you can really expect when you finally make the leap and come to study at an Australian university.

  • Depending on the  campus  you choose it is quite possible to spend some time at the beach between lectures! If you have a light schedule and you are studying at the University of Sydney for example, there is nothing to stop you from jumping on a bus and heading out to Bondi Beach for a few hours in the sun.
  • If you are studying in Brisbane on the other hand, the best beaches of the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast are about an hour’s drive away. Many students plan their weekends at the beach and, during the summer months, enjoy some of the best surfing in the world. Can you think of a better way to refresh yourself after a hard week of study with the promise of more to come?
  • If you’re not into the beach, you might choose a  campus  with a country flavour. Some inland towns are home to the best Australian universities and there is little more you can do to relax than to enjoy the bucolic lifestyle that surrounds you. You can arrange to visit a sheep station or a local farm where you can earn a few dollars picking fruit or vegetables. Many students find this a relaxing and rewarding way to spend their leisure time whilst at the same time recharging their batteries for other burst of study.
  • Most Australian capitals have a range of accommodation options for students, with share housing one of the most popular choices. Here you can join with other students of your choice and club together to cook meals and enjoy a multicultural lifestyle together as you live out the dream life of a student!
  • Eating out in Australia can be as expensive or cheap as you wish. Australia offers one of the most multicultural lifestyles of any country on earth so you are sure to find something to tantalise your taste buds.

Australian universities offer you so much more than a quality education. You can totally immerse yourself in a unique Australian way of life and, at the end of your time, emerge with a qualification and a lifestyle experience that is unparalleled.

On Campus Or Off Campus Housing?

The decision to live in the dormitories or off  campus  can be a major one for many college students. There are financial considerations as well as health and safety concerns that must be addressed before a decision can be made. Every student is different, so make sure that you weigh the pros and cons of each before you make any changes.

For incoming freshman, housing choices could be limited by your university. Some colleges force new students to live on  campus  for one year in an attempt to help them adjust to  campus  life. But in subsequent years, most students can choose their own housing arrangements.

Living On  Campus :

Let’s review dormitories first. Most are small, have limited storage space, but offer a very secure environment. They usually cost more than off  campus  housing, but they are located in the middle of everything. If you value these qualities and the higher cost is not an issue, it could make the most sense to stay on  campus .

For some students, their scholarships or other financial aid are now being offered with an “on  campus ” housing requirement. Depending on the amount offered, it may make more sense to stay on  campus  and keep the scholarship than to move off  campus , potentially save some money, but lose the scholarship or aid. Make sure that you ask about housing stipulations with any scholarships before you change your arrangements.

On  Campus  Dormitory Supervisor: If getting your room and board paid for in exchange for your time and services sounds like a good deal, you might want to consider applying for a Resident Assistant job in one of the dormitories. It can be a great way to cut your college costs. While overseeing students on a dormitory floor can help make college more affordable, you will be required to participate in some training and devote a reasonable amount of time to oversight. Most successful RA’s have good mediation, administrative and time management skills.

If you think this might be a good choice for you, get involved on  campus  and keep an eye on your grade point average. Contact your Res-Life coordinators to find out when they will be accepting applications and get yours in early. These jobs have been known to fill up quickly.

Living Off The  Campus :

On the other hand, living off  campus  can be less expensive, but may not be easily available or accessible to some students. Transportation could be an issue if the housing is not located within walking distance and you don’t have access to a car.

Over the years, I have found off  campus  savings can be as much as 35 percent to 60 percent lower than the cost in the dorms. Additionally, most off  campus  arrangements allow students to stay the entire year which can save time and money on transporting refrigerators or other items back and forth during the school year.

While you can save money, you have to be aware that  campus  security are not involved in off  campus  protection or incidents. Plus some off  campus  houses are older and may be in disrepair. Some students report problems with allergies and respiratory symptoms which may be caused by mold, mildew and other student cleanliness concerns. If you are medically sensitive to these issues, you may want to carefully investigate the off  campus  environment before making any moves.

If you decide to move off  campus , do your research and make your arrangements early. Get a signed lease and read it carefully. Depending on your location, many college apartments need to be signed well in advance. So if you are not one to plan ahead, you might as well plan on staying in the dormitories.

Summary:

While each has benefits and disadvantages, your decision on college housing should meet with you own personal criteria. Most students find one way or the other to suit their needs, but make sure that you evaluate each option with an open mind and make the decision that feels right for you.

Definition of Distance Education

Distance education is oftentimes referred to as “Distance Learning” as well, and is simply defined as “a field of education focusing on the andragogy and pedagogy, instructional systems, and technology which endeavor to deliver an education to students who are not physically in a classroom or campus setting.” In its simplest terms, it means earning a degree online.

The use of electronic (i.e. computers) and printed media enable the student to pursue their education without attending classes on a college or university campus. They are enabled to communicate and study at the times they select, through various technologies that allow them to interact in real time and through many different ways using the internet.

Additionally, distance education courses do not require any physical presence on-site for reasons inclusive of taking examinations that are considered to be blended or hybrid courses of study.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Distance Learning

Naturally, there are advantages and disadvantages to distance education degree programs. However, contrary to varied beliefs and opinions, the distance education advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

The Advantages of distance learning are:

1. It requires no commuting – therefore saving you money and time

2. You complete most of the classes at your own pace – no pressure

3. You can live anywhere in the world, study from anywhere in the world, and pursue your choice of distance education course studies

4. Gain extra knowledge while you are learning – taking those computer and internet skills you gain and then applying them to other facets of your life

5. The self-paced learning environment can be taken advantage of by the quickest or the slowest of learners – increases the satisfaction level while reducing stress in the process

6. Accessibility factors – distance education courses address the physical accessibility issues that people with mobility problems oftentimes encounter while being enrolled in the traditional on-campus classes

Unfortunately, you can’t discuss the advantages of distance education without covering the disadvantages. These disadvantages are the following:

7. Sometimes the technology is complex and costly – despite the numerous opportunities of distance education, there are always accompanying costs

8. Advance planning is necessary – both the instructors and the students oftentimes need to make sacrifices scheduling the times to get things done

9. Beware of hidden costs – If you’re in naval branch of the military for example, and you are out at sea, how do you receive your study materials?

10. Distance learning does not offer immediate feedback – in the traditional classroom setting, the student’s performance is immediately assessed, whereas with distance education, the student has to wait for feedback while the instructor is reviewing their work

11. Distance learning does not always offer all the necessary courses online – students pursuing specific certificates or degrees may not be afforded all the necessary courses that are available through distance education programs so some programs are not suited for all course of study.

12. Distance learning may not be acknowledged by all employers – granted, most employers will acknowledge distance education, but there are some who don’t

13. Distance learning does not give students the opportunity to work on oral communication skills – students in distance education courses do not always get to engage in verbal interaction with fellow students and professors

14. Social isolation – more often than not, you study alone and distance learning students often times feel isolated and miss the social interaction that accompanies the traditional classroom on campus

How Effective Is Distance Education?

Thomas Edison predicted early this century that motion pictures would replace textbooks as the principal medium of instruction. In a new study to be released today, the College Board cites that anecdote to warn that the higher-education community should employ a healthy skepticism toward those currently touting the virtues of the virtual, online classroom.

As colleges and universities invest in the latest computer technology to ride the early wave of euphoria over online distance education, the College Board study cautions that the trend could actually create barriers to higher education for poor and minority students.

In addition, the study, along with another to be released next week by the American Federation of Teachers, raises concerns about assessing the quality of courses offered online. The AFT report takes issue with the conclusion of several studies that online courses can be just as rigorous and successful as those presented in a traditional classroom setting.

In the past year or two, many schools have started to offer online courses, and some even offer entire degree programs over the Internet. So far, the course offerings have been targeted to the booming adult-learner market: working adults who have little time between career and family obligations to travel several times a week to a college   campus  for further training, and are attracted instead to the convenience of taking a course via computer at home or in the office.

But some think that the online market will expand to include some of the bread-and-butter core courses that undergraduates have traditionally taken in  campus  classrooms. Last year, Pennsylvania State University ran a test with four online courses that enrolled about 40 students. This year, it launched its World  Campus , an array of 30 online courses across 10 programs that currently enroll 400, most of whom are graduate students.

Temple University has nearly three dozen online courses, with an enrollment of 500 or so students, mostly at the graduate level. University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School has joined forces with Caliber Learning to offer graduate business courses, using a combination of online and video-conferencing technology.

“There is no doubt the World Wide Web shatters barriers of time and space in the delivery of instruction,” Lawrence E. Gladieux, the College Board’s executive director for policy analysis, writes in its report. “But its advent is also likely to create new barriers and inequities, simply because of differential availability of the required technology.”

The report, using U.S. Department of Commerce data, notes that, while 41 percent of white households have a computer, only 19 percent of black families and 19 percent of Latino families do.

And according to the Higher Education Research Institute, 80 percent of freshmen at private universities used e-mail in the past year, compared with 64 percent at public four-year colleges and only 41 percent at public, historically black colleges. Such statistics, the report warns, raise concern that a greater focus on online education will actually prove a barrier to poor and minority students.

Gary Miller, associate vice president of distance education at Penn State, dismissed such criticism. “By using the new technology, you’re extending the university learning experience to more people,” he said.

“Because the new technology has not reached everyone yet isn’t a reason not to pursue it,” Miller said. “If you use that line of thinking, there would be no college  campuses  in the country.

“And it doesn’t mean it won’t expand,” he said. “Because of their perceived benefit, the penetration of radio … into homes occurred at a much faster rate than one might have expected during the 1930s, given the economic situation.” By venturing into online education, universities will generate demand and spur the market, forcing online access onto the social-policy agenda, he said.

The College Board report warns that private philanthropy alone — much less the marketplace itself — cannot fix the problem of access, and argues that government must play a role.

Lee Alley, associate vice president for distance education at Temple, agreed that, if access to the new online courses is not managed well, it could become a problem. But he also said he thinks that, for most schools, online  education  will be a supplement, and not a replacement, for traditional methods of instruction, or for the many safety nets and supports that commonly come with a  campus-based   education .

While both reports question the potential quality of online courses, Miller and Alley both argue that online offerings can be even better than classroom courses, and that the new competition from online offerings can generate improved quality across higher education.

“Online distance education marks a real shift in buyer-side clout,” Alley said. “The epicenter of choice will be shifted to students, and that competition will push quality up to a new max that you don’t currently see in a lot of remote college  campuses .”