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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. This is an important task in your life, and you don’t want to be scammed. Make sure you check that the school has accredited online PHD programs.

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.

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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How to Utilize a Gap Year

These skills would attribute to your holistic growth while providing you with an in-depth knowledge and practical experience

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Gap Year
So, which skill would you be learning to make the best use of your gap year?

You completed your school or college and took a year-long break to figure out what you would like to do next. Initially, you had a plan, but it eventually went haywire and got more complicated than before. To help you understand how you can make the best use of your gap year and not deter from your objective, we have listed some online trainings that you can enrol for, to help with your personal growth and discovery.

To acquire new technical skills, you can enrol for one of the following online training.

1. Web Development:

Web development is the work involved in developing a website. Web development can range from developing a single page to the most complex websites. There are two kinds of web developer specialization: front-end developer and back-end developer. Front-end developers deal with the layout and visuals of a website, while back-end developers deal with the functionality of a website.

2. Android App Development:

With 2Bn+ users, Android is the most commonly used mobile OS. Apps are designed to let you access different information through it and the simplicity of it makes it unique and with wide-ranging functionalities.

3. Python:

Python has emerged as a shining star of the coding world while providing you with an opportunity to transform your imagination of creating cool characters in games into reality. It is an open source language and can easily be used by every programmer without any qualms. Being an Interpretive and Object-oriented Programming (OOP) language it adapts itself to the real world and works on debugging the codes without the hassle of a compiler thus saving time on refining the code lines.

4. Programming with C and C++:

These are the basic level programming languages and are used when a better command of hardware is required. It is essential to learn C and C++ to learn other programming languages and to have a basic understanding about the techniques of integrating function sets, generic application development and general method of the architecture of business solutions.

5. AutoCAD:
This is one of the most commonly used software for Civil, Mechanical or Architectural projects and is used for drawing layouts of houses or machines and the intricacies of it on a computer.

Gap year courses
Not only are these courses easily available, but they’re also available in abundance. Pixabay

To acquire new management skills, you can enrol for one of the following online training.

1. Business communication skills:

Having good communication skills will always put you at an advantage in the corporate world. Good business communication means having proficiency in English (spoken and written) as well as interpersonal skills. It will not only help you in getting a job (you will be able to form a good resume & cover letter and put your point forth in interviews & group discussions), but will also assist you with better workplace communication which might include writing business emails, preparing presentations, verbal communication with partners and clients, etc. thus speeding up your career progression.

2. MS Excel:

Knowledge of MS Excel is another skill you would require to be a successful management
professional. Nowadays, almost everyone has an idea about MS Excel but the basic knowledge would not suffice. You’ll need an advanced knowledge of MS Excel to handle raw data, generate inferences, and ultimately take informed business decisions.

3. Digital marketing:

A must-have skill for a career in management. Digital marketing is a vast field comprising different segments like email marketing, web analytics, social media marketing, search engine marketing, search engine optimisation, blog creation, video and mobile marketing. Every product that has ever been launched, there is a digital marketing team trying to keep the hype amongst the users.

4. Basic trading and investing skills:

If you are inclined towards the financial aspect of management, taking a beginner’s training in trading and investing could be the first step in realizing your potential. This training will provide you with the knowledge of stocks, stock exchanges, stock markets, financial ratios, technical analysis, etc.

These skills would attribute to your holistic growth while providing you with an in-depth knowledge and practical experience. Online trainings while being affordable also offer a lot of convenience and flexibility to learn as per convenience. So, which skill would you be learning to make the best use of your gap year?

Courtesy: Internshala Trainings (trainings.internshala.com)