Two Distance Education Institutions
This paper will explore two distance education institutions, one in a developed country, the United Kingdom, and the other in the undeveloped country of India. While both universities have similar mission statements and objectives, they have differences, as well.
The British Open University's mission is to be open to people, places, methods and ideas. The overall goal of the Open University is to flourish as a higher education environment throughout the United Kingdom and across the world, while providing opportunities for students of all economic levels, regardless of their backgrounds (The Open University, 2014). Many other countries used the British OU as their prototype for developing a higher education system.
There are so many various components that all played a part in putting into place the Open University in the United Kingdom. For example, how political the whole situation was, and how it eventually got pushed through Parliament. Many of the early students were teachers without degrees.
Back in the early seventies, the British Open University even had a failed attempt to expand into the United States. Tony Bates, who visited our class and is a renowned scholar of distance education was actually part of the team on the ground floor of this amazing start up institution. The creators of the British Open University had instructional designers and were committed to creating degree programs that allowed research time for Professors. The British Open University’s hiring and recognizing of academic scholars was a very good plan for distance education. How the institution paid attention and created a way to hit such a vast, untouched market of people that were ready and enthusiastic for higher education is phenomenal. The British OU is well known for its team approach, as well as, the quality of classes they provide. In 1971 the British OU opened with 25,000 students who had a choice of 4 foundational courses in various disciplines. Today the OU lists its enrollment at 240,000 students (The Open University, 2014).
In the early days, much of the curriculum of distance education practices depended upon multimedia teaching with the BBC doing radio broadcasts for the students, and late night television broadcasts were done, as well. In the 1980’s the OU started using computers and conferencing systems for their classes. CD rom packages replaced many of the radio and television broadcasts (The Open University, 2014). Today, the OU is keeping up with technology and even has the OU on iTunes.
The Indira Gandhi Open University is a university in the undeveloped country of India, and was actually modeled after the Open University in the United Kingdom. The mission of the Indira Gandhi Open University or IGNOU is to take higher education to the masses (Panda & Mishra2007). IGNOU is committed to maintaining the highest standards in distance education, as is the United Kingdom’s Open...