With the growing number of higher education aspirants from across different sections of the Indian society, the need for a flexible, affordable and accessible interface is more than ever.
Distance education has evolved over the years to cater to the demand of the diverse student community – from working professionals, students to entrepreneurs and career-starters (home-makers, vocational training and sorts). Apart from providing flexibility in studying, the distance learning system does not disrupt the greater need for steady financial earnings as it helps to maintain job-continuity.
The growth spurt of the Open University system has been catalyzed by the advancements in communication and internet technology, which has made online distance learning as the best, viable channel for continuing education. Most distance education universities of repute have built a robust online interface through which they deliver their programs (professional and non-professional in nature).
Through the online interface, distance learning universities strive to deliver a learning experience that is on par with class-room learning. Right from clarifying students’ doubts to resolving their issues, the onus is on upholding quality and credibility in this mode of education.
As any interactive system functions optimally, through proper engagement from both the parties (in this context the student and the distance education system), it is imperative for students to adopt the right channel to get a feedback/review/answer for all their queries.
Here are a few tips on how students can initiate a prompt response system from the university they are enrolled with
1) Classify your questions/queries/issues: Before you start posting a query or seek solution for an issue, classify and categorize these problems. The question could be pertaining to
1.1 Admin issues: These can be regarding admissions, registration, examinations, course materials, results, reregistration etc.
1.2 Technical issues: These will cover about the online system for learning, examinations, or the university’s website-related forms, forums chat-sessions etc.
1.3 Knowledge-based: These concerns will cover those areas, where a student is eager to learn in general about career prospects for a certain course, employability factors etc.
1.4 Alumni-issues: These could be with specific reference to pending certificates, placement services, training and sorts.
2) Know the distance education online interface well: Explore your distance education university’s online interface in its length and breadth. This could be the university’s website which will feature major announcements, developments, the discussion forum, blogs or the email, online help desk, which will offer 24*7 supports to students.
The help desk may also feature a toll-free number, where students can lodge a complaint for their issue. Make sure to read about all particulars under the respective help desk system as it will help to map your query to the right channel
3) Social networking interface: Your distance education university will also feature profiles on the major social networking sites such as Face book and twitter. Ensure to become a member to get access to all updates about the university and network with your peers at the same time. Through this interface, you can get to know your batch-mates or seniors who would have pursued the same degree.
4) Choose the right online/offline channel for posting the query: Once you have explored the in and out of your distance university’s online interface, assess the urgency of your issue. 4.1 Choose the “live chat” mode, for immediate response;
4.2 Call the toll-free desk after understanding what kind of queries they are capable of handling;
4.3 Use the email option for queries that can wait. Make sure to mention the subject of your mail in a clear and precise manner.
4.4 Use the online discussion forums if you seek guidance regarding assignments, courses or a brainstorming session (depending on how active it is).
4.5 You can leverage the Face book/twitter interface as well, as it is most commonly used and regularly accessed by most students/working professionals, if you are keen on networking for professional/academic purpose.
4.6 Use all of the above, if the response is of a “do-or-die” nature.
With the above tips for getting a prompt response from the distance education system, students can reinforce the principle of online distance learning as being the flexible yet accountable mode of education, through a well-connected channel.