Correspondence and Distance Education Differences

Nowadays, distance education is much popularly known as online education because of its use of the Internet as an instructional delivery model. And while correspondence education is part of distance education, they have differences in delivery methods, academic rigor, and convenience and flexibility factors.

3d e-learning conceptCorrespondence education was first developed in the mid-nineteenth century in Great Britain, France, Germany and the United States to make education available to those who do not have access to a university. The course materials in correspondence education are given to the learner via mail or electronic means. Meanwhile, distance education takes advantage of the fast Internet technology in delivering instructional materials. It typically uses emails and live chats, as well as audio or video recording.

Distance education is far more rigorous compared to the traditional correspondence education. That is because it offers a more interactive environment. The teacher and the student, even student-to-student, despite being in different locations, can have a quasi-face-to-face environment that enhances the academic rigor. Traditional correspondence education, on the other hand, is done through mail delivery that fails to offer any type of interaction among students, all the more student-to-teacher interaction. In other words, correspondence education is static while online education is fluid and dynamic.

As for convenience and flexibility, both distance education and correspondence education offer a good autonomy to learners. The difference is that one has limited freedom while the other has too much of it. Online education, although flexible, still has deadlines for posting reactions on discussion boards which makes it not as flexible as correspondence education that has a “hands off” approach. There is a downside to too much freedom in correspondence education though. It may not be a good thing to all learners as it requires self-motivation and self-discipline.

Distance Education For Engineering Students

Advanced technology has made distance education a good alternative for aspiring Engineers. A number of online programs are offered. Graduates from these courses are embraced by employers with arms wide open. This acceptance have grown immensely over the years due to quality of the curriculum and qualified students from online schools.

dlsLearning engineering principles at any level (bachelors and masters) can be done online. The increasing number of colleges offering online courses has made it more accessible to get a degree while meeting other personal needs, most especially financial. Students, who pay for their studies, can work and study all at the same time. When they graduate, they won’t have to worry about landing on a job. This is because employers are less concerned of where an applicant’s degree was completed from – traditional on-campus or online. This motivates many students wanting to earn online engineering degrees.

Well, how does this work? By leveraging technology, distance education brings integrated course materials, dedicated websites, teleconferences, and chat rooms in class directly on to your personal computer or lap top – anywhere at anytime. Because distance learning lets students work while completing a degree, many have see that they can directly apply what they’ve learned on-the-job long before they graduate.

Online engineering programs are the best option for those who are looking to get a degree, or for those adults who want to go back to school and acquire master’s or an associate’s degree in engineering. The learning process is quite easy. Students learn through tools such as DVDs, recorded lectures, videos, and live streaming. Instructors give assignments or projects by posting them on virtual blackboards or send them through email, or on a virtual blackboard. Assignments may be done at student’s own time, but during exams, they will need to log into the school’s system at a particular time.

Tutoring on Distance Education

morning at homeDistance education nowadays is an important learning method to reach students in distant locations and to remove geographical and cultural barriers. It offers education in online classrooms and set schedules that will meet the needs of its students who are busy with their work or career. The teacher will be behind the program, communicating with his students through programs and applications and provide lectures, assignments and activities.

Though learning is much easier since the internet provides a lot of references and learning materials, it may also need the help of a tutor. The problem with distance learning is that it lacks motivation for students to study, work on their activities or join group discussions. This is because they are just online and may lead them to do other things than going to their classes. In this case, tutor support is vital. Teachers must be able to help motivate, remind, guide and help students. They must be available to tutor students with the topics that can be hard to learn without actual explanation.

Distance education also requires alterations in behavior of the teacher and also the student. The effective student evolves persistence and self-motivation. The effective distance education teacher becomes fluent with new technology and evolves new training styles to effectively help students. Today, using the most advanced technology and also the effective multimedia interactions between instructors and students, information is easily transmitted. Efficient tutor support in distance learning is basically determined by how quickly a distance education instructor can learn new technology, devise new teaching techniques and manage student expectations.

By being passionate with the job, any instructor can be the best tutor support in distance learning courses. They must bring enthusiasm, promote involvement and curiosity and develop student’s skills and learning. Distance education can be as good or surpass the quality of classroom learning by providing enough, sufficient and effective tutoring support to students.

Increase of Distance Education Popularity

Nearly 22,000 students registered in online learning applications or distance education courses through South Dakota’s community colleges during the 2012-13 school year, up 8.5% from the year before and up 65% overall during the last five years.  The reported numbers were discussed by the state Board of Regents, whose members govern the community colleges.  Students in distance programs in the last year most frequently were undergraduates (75.5%), part-timers (69.9%) and female (64%).  The University of South Dakota had the largest slice of online learning with 34.4% of the registration and nearly 38% of the applications.

distance_educationSouth Dakota State University was right behind in registration at 33.4%, followed by Black Hills State University at 13.2, Northern State University 9.2, Dakota State University 7.8 and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology 2.0.  Distance education covers a variety of delivery methods. Some are available solely through the Internet; others combine Internet and video technology and also involve correspondence and there are classroom programs at off-campus locations. Students getting distance programs increasingly tend to be from outside South Dakota.

The 6,394 non-residents came from almost every state in the nation last year and represented just shy of 30% of the total getting distance programs. Five years earlier, the number was 2,399, just under 24%. Non-degree seeking learners comprised 30.9% of undergraduates and 61.4% of graduate-level learners in distance education programs last year. Nursing, elementary education, pre-nursing and biology were the top four degree-specific programs for undergraduates. Among degree-specific programs, learners registered most often in education administration, business, administrative studies and curriculum and education.

Principles of Effective Distance Education

“Fast and Easy” and distance education do not always go so well together, but John Sawyer of the National Judicial College did shed some light on different techniques to digital studying in the session How to Make Technology Work for You: Quick and Easy Ideas for Distance Learning. To present the subject, members were requested to discuss some of their encounters with online and share any concerns or issues. Reactions included:

  • “How do you enhance attendance?”
  • “Should we create our own modules or purchase libraries?
  • “Is asynchronous or synchronous studying better?”
  • “How does combined studying work?”
  • “Does educational style apply online?
  • “Do studying modules need to be ADA accessible?”
  • “Are judicial teachers becoming techies?”

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Sawyer revisited primary ideas such as synchronous and asynchronous studying, face-to-face studying and combined studying before examining some software choices relevant to e-learning. He discussed the use of Articulate, Camtasia, Capitivate, iSpring suite, Jing, and Moodle.He then confirmed some studying things that had been designed for the National Judicial College. Some hurdles to easily developing learning objects in distance education (asynchronous learning) consist of the following:

  • Instructional style needs time.
  • Distance studying requires a longer period.
  • Learning things are part of a bigger program.
  • You need to interact with the student.
  • Captions or transcript may be required for 508 conformity.

Sawyer then provided some guidelines on educational style for studying objects:

  • Chunk the information.
  • Make the student do something.
  • Tell the student what they are going to do.
  • Tell the student what they just did.
  • Maintain a reliability of style.
  • Identify your studying purpose.
  • Identify your studying actions.
  • Write out the entire story for any documented audio segments.
  • Check for display audience interface.
  • Conduct needs evaluation.
  • Focus on growing styles in cellular phones and know what performs.
  • Develop resilient material.