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Before you Go for the ‘Distant’ way of Learning, Know whether it is A Boon or Bane for You!

With the introduction of MOOCs, distance education has gained new heights.

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Students studying at Starbucks. Wikimedia Commons
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November 22, 2016: Since 1737, when the first attempt to distance learning course was advertised by Caleb Philipps, teacher of the shorthand method, to help students learn through weekly mailed lessons, distance learning has evolved dynamically because of the advancement of technology in the world of online education. Many students bounded by financial barriers and time constraints are able to access education in their chosen field. Recently, Google data suggested that online education providers are accessed more than the traditional campus universities.

However, distance learning isn’t for everyone. It requires a great deal of self-discipline and determination. But people who are unable to attend residential schools because of other commitments, distance learning is a flexible alternative.

edx logo. Wikimedia Commons
edx logo. Wikimedia Commons

“Distance learning means literally that: learning from a distance,” says Doreen Gough of UNISA. “Distance learning students receive their study material either through the post, or online. They submit assignments through the post or email and receive them back marked.

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“Students in this form of study sometimes have to buy their own prescribed books if they aren’t included in the package. The institutions which offer these courses will have their own arrangements regarding admission to examinations and where students should write these examinations.”

Before applying, one needs to know if the distance learning is the right choice for them. Here are few pros and cons of distance learning course that one must carefully examine before applying.

Pros:

  1. You can start a distance learning course whenever you need them. You don’t need to wait for the college’s semester schedule. There are no set time classes. You decide your pace and your degree plan.
  2. The variety of opportunities that distance learning provides cannot be matched. Millions of courses are there for you just a click away. Also, these courses are cheaper than the traditional campus courses as there are no accommodation problems.
  3. Though some distance learning courses provide an in-class environment, there are many other courses in which you control your learning environment.
  4. Distance learning courses are better for students who learn better through experimental exercises or are language-challenged or introvert.
  5. You can continue with your job while studying a distance learning course.

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Coursera logo. Wikimedia Commons
Coursera logo. Wikimedia Commons

Cons:

  1. If you believe in personalized teacher’s attention, then online education is not for you.
  2. If you are not computer-savvy and are afraid to learn some new technologies, online education will give you a hard time.
  3. Though you can interact with classmates using discussion groups, chat rooms and emails, there are no offline get together.
  4. Though online help is provided, students are expected to complete their assignments on their own. They have to find their own resources.
  5. One of the most important parts of the college is the experience, the college spirit. None of this is possible with distance learning courses

The advancement in distance learning is accompanied by a great number of scams. The students pay a lot for the degree which is not even worth the paper it is printed on.

Anytime you open the spam folder of your Gmail account, you can see a number of emails offering certificates, undergraduate degrees and even PhD programs from different institutions. The problem is that how should one tell the difference between the beneficial ones and the worthless ones.

Blended learning logo. Wikimedia Commons
Blended learning logo. Wikimedia Commons

Universities that provide distance learning courses expect students to take time and complete the course with dedication and hard work. They require a lot of self motivation for a long period of time. So, if someone is offering you a degree or a certificate that does not require any dedication from you can be a diploma mill.

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Diploma mills are the institutions that exchange degrees for money without asking any proof of course mastery or any substantive testing or coursework from students. These institutions are illegally running all across the globe.

With the rapid increase in the usage of internet throughout the world, diploma mills are becoming more difficult to track. It is very important to thoroughly check the accreditation before choosing a program as at first glance these institutions look legitimate.

Prepared by Diksha Arya of NewsGram. Twitter: @diksha_arya53

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393