Open and Distance learning needs to be reformed: IGNOU VC

Open and Distance learning needs to be reformed: IGNOU VCNew Delhi: The open and distance learning system in the country needs to be reformed to deal with quality issues and bring it at par with the learning from full-time or regular courses, IGNOU Vice Chancellor Nageshwar Rao has said.

“Conventional education alone cannot meet the needs and aspirations of higher education. Distance education system is emerging as an important means to cater to the increasing demand of the education system but there are issues of quality in the open learning which calls for reforming the ODL system,” Rao said.

The varsity is presently in the process of preparing a draft on “Promoting Open and Distance Learning and Online Courses” for the New Education Policy (NEP) which is being formed by the government appointed experts.

“Government has entrusted IGNOU with huge responsibility of formulating the theme on ‘Promoting Open and Distance Learning and Online Courses’ for the New Education Policy (NEP) which is under formulation,” he said.

“The Madhav Menon Committee formed by the HRD ministry has also suggested several changes in the implementation of ODL within the country,” he added.

The university’s Staff Training and Research Institute of Distance Education (STRIDE) has last month organised a two-day national consultative meeting in which 55 papers were presented on the best practices adopted by distance learning institutions and ODL philosophy and operations followed there.

Besides Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) there are 14 State Open Universities in the country offering degree, diploma and certificate courses.

“Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) have recently received a great deal of public attention and can form important feature of distance learning. The issue of quality assurance of such courses is a big concern for Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs). The modalities are being worked out,” Rao said.

Other questions which the experts preparing the draft are pondering upon include-should open course ware and MOOCs supplement/complement learning in colleges and universities? What impediments are likely for implementing online courses and how they can be resolved? What are the constraints to access MOOC courses in rural areas? Should DTH facility be given to studentsfor anytime learning? Should On-line testing account for 20 per cent of grading?

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