Correspondence Education - Introduction
Correspondence Education is a method of providing education to nonresident students, who receive lessons and exercises through mails and, upon completion, return them for analysis, criticism, and grading to the institute or university concerned. It is being increasingly used by students, business and industry in training programmes, by men and women in the armed forces, and by the governments of many nations as part of their educational program. It supplements other forms of education and makes independent study programs readily available.
Correspondence education has opened a new window of opportunities for those who have craved for further studies. In a way it has helped numerous professionals, dropouts (school & college), housewives, etc to accomplish their unfinished dreams. It has immense relevance, particularly in a country like India, where pursuing education is a pricey affair. We receive scores of career queries everyday, which again is a shinning testimony of the great curiosity among the discerning users to know about the various options that education has to offer.
Originally correspondence courses were largely confined to vocational subjects. However these days, universities and institutes also offer such courses in virtually any field of study and possibly in all levels. Many of the subjects are not generally given in residence schools.
In India correspondence education has a very long history. After the concept of open universities emerged, it lost some point to them. However, these open Universities are also offering correspondence course to students. But some regular Universities like University of Delhi, Jamia Millia University, and Madurai Kamaraj University are in the top list of correspondence course.
Global PerspectiveCorrespondence courses were first offered in Great Britain, Germany, and the United States but spread rapidly throughout the world. The correspondence movement emerged in the mid-19th century, fuelled by the need for an educated trade and working class brought on by industrial and urban development, and facilitated by the development of improved printing and postal services.
Technological advances and a quantum leap in the electronic and communications field has changed the face of education today, most particularly that of correspondence education. It is important to note that over the past two decades many correspondence study programs have developed significantly greater use of interactive educational technologies such as audio teleconferencing and computer conferencing.
MethodsCorrespondence education is an independent mode of education, which does not require a real-time interaction between students and teachers. In this education system, a student can study at home, receive the exam paper by post and send back assignments by post.
Instruction may be entirely by correspondence or by a combination of home study and resident seminars or laboratory work. It may include sound records or tapes, slides, films, videotapes or videodisks, teaching machines, computers, and the use of telephone, radio and television at times. The advent of electronic mail in the late 20th century the advent of electronic mail (correspondence delivered by means of electronic printing or display devices) has remarkably increased the communication between the student and the university or institute concerned.
Some courses may also include kits of tools or instruments and materials to be processed, as well as texts and study guides. Courses in Braille and on records or cassettes are also available for the visually challenged.
The flexibility of time helps the students to prepare for the exam comfortably. The systematic instructional material, instructional design and self-instructional material help the independent learners in a significant way. The strategy, stages and steps in effective lesson writing are really helping the students to develop themselves. It is also very economical, which can be afforded by all sections of the people.
Being an `industrialized' form of education, it has reduced human contacts which occur only in the feedback stage of the process. However this is taken care of by means of periodic assignments for submission.
In a nut shell the merits of correspondence may be listed as below:
- Student is more active and self directed in learning environment
- Well planned instructional design and self-instructional material
- Easy schedule
- Students can engage courses at home
- Economical and affordable for every one
- Can pursue a job along with education
- Suitable for Drop out students, housewives and others doing a job who could not complete their education for some reason.
- Drop out students
- Economically Weaker and working professional