In the fast-paced world, education plays a pivotal role, in making a difference in an individual’s personality, character and most importantly in his/her knowledge. There are many people among us, who are not able to continue their education because of any reason like financial difficulty, circumstances, or job etc. For these people, an open university is a great opportunity to continue their education afterwards.
In fact, people from all walks of life can get their degrees and diplomas in various disciplines. It helps the students to study, while they are on job, as it does not require students to study at a specific time.
On the other hand, Distance Education or Distance Learning is a mode of delivering education, wherein the teachers (source of information) and the students are not physically present at a particular location, as they are separated either by time or distance or even by both.
In simple words, any form of remote education which is provided through various means of communication falls under the category of distance education.
This post will emphasize the basic meaning and differences between open university and distance education.
Content: Open University Vs Distance Education
|Basis for Comparison||Open University||Distance Education|
|Meaning||Open University is a university that offers the policy of open admissions, distance and online learning programmes.||Distance Education is a type of learning provided by various universities to students who are not present in person at the site, as the teacher.|
|Type||It is a type of University.||It is a type of education mode.|
|Colleges||In an open university, there are no affiliated colleges, rather it comprises only study centers and institutes.||Distance Education is provided by both open universities and traditional universities. And there are many colleges affiliated with traditional universities.|
|Study Centre and Exam Centre||Students have the option to choose their study center and exam center.||Students cannot select their study centre and exam centre.|
|Social Interaction||Social interaction with teachers and peers is present.||No social interaction.|
|Classes||Provided on weekends, i.e. on Saturday and Sunday.||No classes provided.|
|Attendance||For practical courses, students are required to complete 75% attendance during classes.||No minimum attendance requirement.|
|Library Facility||Available to the students.||Not available to the students.|
|Objective||To open up learning opportunities to a large group of people and facilitating them to learn easily and productively.||To provide efficient and inexpensive education at a higher level, to all the qualified and willing persons.|
Definition of Open University
Open University, refers to the form of the university which provides an open entry facility to the students, without any age restrictions and prior experience in the concerned domain. In this, the students are given admission based on minimum education.
In an open university, candidates can enrol themselves in the course of their choice, and those students who discontinued their education can continue it further. So we can say that an open university gives a second chance to the students. However, the value of a degree attained through an open university is often questioned. But, one must note here that degrees obtained through open universities are also valued, only when the candidate has got the required set of skills.
Unlike a traditional university, an open university offers the policy of open admissions, distance and online learning programs. The students are provided with the study materials for the course opted through the study centres and online, i.e. via pdf or eBooks.
Do You Know?
In the year 1969, the world’s first open university was established in Milton Keynes, England, UK, namely ‘The Open University‘.
Definition of Distance Education
Distance Education is an institution-based formal education in which the students and teachers are separated. It uses various interactive telecommunication system to connect students, instructors and resources. Therefore, it is not mandatory for the students to be physically present in the classroom for regular attendance. So, the students are responsible for his/her learning.
In a distance learning method, content delivery can be possible through different types of technologies like satellite, computer, television, video, smartphones, etc.
Initially, the distance education focused on non-conventional students like full-time workers, military personnel, people living in remote areas and non-residents, for whom it is difficult to get education through a typical classroom setting.
Types of Distance Education
Let us discuss each of them one by one:
|Synchronous Distance Learning||Synchronous means at the same time. In asynchronous distance education courses, learning is provided by way of live chatting or teleconferencing between the learner and the instructor. It lacks flexibility as it requires the student to be present when the class is scheduled.|
|Asynchronous Distance Learning||In a synchronous distance learning higher level of flexibility is provided to the students, i.e. the students can study at their own convenience. This is mainly used when the course involves a lot of assignments and project work and generally, a week's time is provided to the students to submit the assignment. Online notice or bulletin boards are used for communication purposes.|
|Hybrid Distance Learning||It is a combination of synchronous and asynchronous distance education. Here, the students need to be present in the classroom, and that too, when it is suitable for the students. Hence, the timings are flexible for the students to attend the class. Assignments and projects are given to the students, which they can complete as per their own convenience, and submit them before the due date.|
|Computerized Distance Learning||In computerized distance learning the student must gather at the computer lab to receive instructions from the teacher, at a predetermined time.|
|Fixed time Online Courses||It requires students to log in for the online course opted by them at the predetermined time. It uses live chats and video conferencing to impart knowledge to students.|
|Open schedule online course||It includes online courses in which the students are given a fixed schedule however they can study at their own convenience. To complete the assignments, students are provided study material via email, eBooks and bulletin boards.|
Key Differences Between Open University and Distance Education
As you have understood the basic meaning of both the terms, now let’s take a look at the difference between open university and distance education:
- Open University, as the name suggests is the one which offers open entry for admissions through distance and online learning programs. On the other hand, Distance Education, as the name suggests, is the remote education mode in which students are allowed to pursue any course from any geographical location, i.e. time and space separate the student and teacher.
- While distance education is a method of imparting education, open university is a type of university which is based on open-entry philosophy.
- When it comes to colleges, there are no colleges affiliated to open universities, rather it comprises only study centres and institutes. As against, Distance Education is provided by both open universities and traditional universities. And there are many colleges affiliated with traditional universities.
- In an open university, students get the option to choose their study centre and exam centre. Conversely, in the case of distance education, students cannot select their study centre and exam centre.
- Social interaction with teachers and peers is present in an open university, whereas in distance education there is no such social interaction between teachers and students.
- Classes are provided to the students on weekends, i.e. on Saturday and Sunday in an open university. In contrast, in the case of distance education, no classes are provided to students, i.e. only study material is sent to the students and they have to study on their own.
- Talking about attendance in an open university, students are required to complete 75% attendance during classes, when they enrol for any practical course. Oppositely, there is no minimum attendance requirement in the case of distance education.
- In an open university, a library facility is available to the students, while in the case of distance education no such facility is provided.
- The primary objective of an open university is to open up learning opportunities to a large group of people and facilitating them to learn easily and productively. As against, the main objective of distance learning is to provide efficient and inexpensive education at a higher level, to all qualified and willing persons.
Characteristics of Open University
Open University has the following characteristics:
- Follows open-door academic policy, with minimal to no entry requirements.
- Does not require prior experience, academic record or references.
- Offers relaxation in the duration of the programmes, such as a 3-year degree programme can be completed in 6 years.
- An economical way of pursuing higher education, as the fee structure is affordable.
- Beneficial for the working-class people as well as for those living in the rural areas.
Characteristics of Distance Education
Distance education is characterized by:
- Lack of direct (face to face) interaction between teachers and students.
- Openness with regard to time and place of study.
- Flexibility in the selection of courses
- Use of different information and communication technologies to impart education.
- Learning is certified by some institution or agency.
- Influence of educational institution in planning and preparing study material for students and rendering support services.
Open university and distance education system aims to ameliorate social or educational inequality, by providing equal opportunities to those who are not able to complete their education. Thus it facilitates the learners to compensate for the opportunities that have been lost in the past, and acquire knowledge and skills.