The education landscape has changed drastically over the past years with the increase in the number of online and correspondence schools globally. Gone are the days when there was scope for employment only if you graduated traditionally, full time. These two modes of modern education, online and correspondence, may seem to be similar in various aspects but the reality is quite different. In most cases, students may find that correspondence schools don’t accept government- aided financial assistance. The reason for this being that the tuition fee per semester that these schools have is much lower in comparison with that of the traditional schools. When it comes to online schools, however, students can opt for aid in most cases, as the cost per semester is comparatively higher.
Correspondence courses are mostly offered at certificate, diploma, and degree level programmes, with schools sending their study materials mainly through mail. Generally there’s no set timeframe within which the students must complete the course; they can set their pace to their convenience. Online programs, on the other hand, are usually offered from the associate levels through to PhD’s, and this may vary from institution to institution, based on accreditation. These programs tend to be more comprehensive than the correspondence courses, in the sense that everything required is delivered online, with students having more direct accessibility.
Technology, which plays a huge part in the current online education scenario, is probably another major difference. Online schools use online learning management systems such as the Moodle and Blackboard for the posting of assignments, materials, and the syllabus. This is highly convenient for students and saves them time and effort. In correspondence courses, however, for assignments, materials, and such have to rely on mail or other such methods of slower modes of communication with its students.
However, students also have less freedom when it comes to completion of the course within their choice of time in online schools.
Correspondence schools, in most cases, are affiliated to colleges and universities – something that should allay fears of students who are worried about what future employers might feel about schools that are not very popular or unheard of. Online schools, on the contrary, are mostly not affiliated to universities and colleges but might hold their own accreditation for credibility of their curriculum and the school.
When it comes to interactivity, online schools take the lead with their professors and tutors being accessible whenever needed and being able to deliver assistance. Students can constantly stay in touch with each other as well, through interactive online classrooms and online discussions. Correspondence schools really don’t have much of a platform wherein students can stay in touch with each other or the university, except in the event of an exam or a test at the university. Numerous well-reputed schools, colleges, and universities offer both online and correspondence courses. It’s all up to you finally to decide which one will give you the better study experience. Being in the year 2012, where everything is highly digital and fast- changing, I would think twice before enrolling in a correspondence course when there are so many schools online offering the same choices, but that’s just my opinion!
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