From a Distance

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For those who cannot relocate for academics, online programmes prove extremely useful. Youth Inc offers pointers for selecting a programme that fits your need.

The advent of technology has revolutionised higher education across the world, and India is no exception. The rapid progress of telecommunication systems has made it possible for students can pursue a degree from a foreign university without even leaving their rooms. Each of these programmes has special qualities to suit individual students’ needs. Colleges and universities make sure to facilitate the smooth functioning of the classes, to make the process as stress free as possible for the student.

Like every other student, Kunal Aggarwal was in a dilemma while making his choice. He had narrowed down his options and by carefully studying the programmes, electives, core classes and the requirements, he made his decision. He chose IE Business School to do his online degree course. The key factor in his decision was the concentration of international students at the university, which was over 50 per cent. “The exposure I will get through the programme, with its global outlook, will make my education at IE Business School invaluable,” he says. According to Aggarwal, the skills and abilities he will build during the course are teamwork, leadership and analytical ability.

“Choosing an online programme is no different than choosing a regular programme,” says Nahida Coelho, who pursued her course in Early Childhood Education Level 5 from New Zealand Tertiary College. Consequently, the aspects to be considered while making a decision are the same. She adds, given the investment necessary to complete a degree, it is in the student’s best interest to be sure that he or she is getting what he or she wants.
According to experts, self-analysis is an essential skill for determining what you want out of your education. Some questions to ask yourself are:
1. Is the duration and structure of the programme most suitable for me?
2. Is the course content what I am looking for? Does the programme offer the exact specialisation that I want?
3. Will this programme prove to be a stepping stone for all the career goals that I want to meet?
4. What will be my job prospects after I graduate?
5. Is this programme accredited, and will it be recognised in India?

Needless to say, while making the decision, your primary consideration has to be on your field. For instance, a lot of business programmes lay more focus on general management, while there are others which offer different specialisations like finance, accounting and international business among others. There are still others geared towards upcoming entrepreneurs, and others looking specifically for human resources.In-depth knowledge of the business world, and the ability to constantly update your skill set will prove very fruitful in the dynamic business environment of the present. Choose a programme that is periodically updated for course content and curriculum. If you opt for a programme in psychology or biotechnology for example, you obviously will need to emphasise core science classes.

Many students who have participated in online programmes caution that porspective students should not forget to consider teaching methodology. “Students should understand the teaching methods in foreign universities, since they are different from what we are used to in India. Distinguishing between the case-study approach and the ‘theoretical’ approach is essential,” says Coelho. Then again, some programmes have regular, rigorous exams, while in others evaluation is through assignments and academic papers. You’ll need to decide which you prefer, and whether you’ll have the time and motivation for what you choose.
At the masters level, programme directors assume that candidates are pointedly focussed on their career objectives, and have a clear cut idea about what they expect from their programme. “We are looking for students who are committed and know why they are in a particular course of study,” says a representative from IE Business School, Spain.
Many programme directors advise going straight to the source for additional information and precise details. Most directors are accessible via email, and prompt in their replies. Other important sources for getting critical evaluation about any aspect of the college are the alumni and current students. Be sure you ask a variety of people to get a better picture.
Before you get down to collecting all the data, chart your career path by narrowing down your choices, and be sure to know which industry you would like to work in. You need to realistically ask yourself if you (or your family) can afford the investment.
There are many factors to consider in selecting your programme, but the principal consideration should be how well the programme fulfils your needs. Anything you take up will change your life one way or another. Choose your path wisely!

Volume 1 Issue 10

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