Attitudes to distance learning

With the rise of the internet a great many institutions are now offering distance learning packages. Aside from the ‘degree for sale’ crowd there are quite a few high quality courses available from respected institutions.

I’ve discussed this approach with a few adult students and none of them seem to be familiar with the concept. Has anyone come across Taiwanese that are pursuing qualifications this way?

My guess is that there will be a perceived quality issue and, of course, many students use the study as an excuse to spend a year or more away from the parents.

But all the same, is there a market for something like an MBA by correspondence? It’s a very common procedure in western countries. It would also be a far cheaper alternative than actually going overseas, and losing your job, to study.

And (a question for Brits) what do you think of offering a GCSE - I’m thinking of Law - as a form of advanced English study that also prepares students for western teaching methods? I’m thinking of high-school age students specifically here. It’s a career-orientated study program with a certificate at the end of it. It teaches you to read and think critically, and to write a decent essay. And it familiarises students with the environment in which they hope to take further studies.

All comments gratefully accepted, especially those identfying the flaws in this plan.

[quote=“stragbasher”]I’ve discussed this approach with a few adult students and none of them seem to be familiar with the concept. Has anyone come across Taiwanese that are pursuing qualifications this way?[/quote]A friend has just started working for a company in Taipei that produces English teaching videos for an ‘open learning’ college perhaps similar to the Open University in the UK.

This is a growing area. I did an MSc myself by distance learning, and a number of Taiwanese were/are also on my program, despite the fact that Taiwan’s MOE still doesn’t recognise such qualifications.

People have different conceptions of DL. Sure there are better and lower quality courses. There are also some outstanding ones. The courses offered by Britain’s Open University enjoy an exceptionally high reputation and are subject to stricter quality controls than any other university according to one of my Profs, who consults for them.

DL is NOT a correspondence course. The Web features prominently in the delivery of materials and interaction these days. Most good DL programs are custom built (perhaps only available by DL). Their biggest market is professionals seeking a further qualification. Many are contextualised: perhaps you apply the theories to your working situation, implement a change, and then write up a research paper.

There are dozens of MBAs by DL. Caveat emptor! If it’s a good university, and the program is long established then it’s probably good. I happen to know a director of a prestigious British education institution in Taiwan who obtained an MBA solely by DL. I think the fact that someone can simultaneously hold down a career and get a good degree recommends that person highly.

DL is still somewhat stigmatised, and many people misunderstand DL. No doubt, many Taiwanese will associate DL with second-rate quality and the possibility of cheating. I’d hope that is true of only a small percentage of courses.

The British Council in Taiwan offers several DL programs. Perhaps you should sound them out.

Myself and Closet Queen are on the same MSc distance programme from Aston University. Or should I say ‘were’. He submitted his dissertation a couple weeks ago!! Congrats Closet Queen!

I hope to finish mine this December as I’d taken the past year off to pursue financial ventures.
DL is tough. You must be motivated and a self-starter. Motivation wanes when your life sneaks up on you.

Quite a few English courses are available online. The BC has its own here: