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Subject: alt.education.distance FAQ (part 3 of 4)

This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:22:55 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: education/distance-ed-faq
All FAQs posted in: alt.education.distance
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Archive-name: education/distance-ed-faq/part3 Posting-Frequency: monthly Last-modified: 1999/10/25 Version: 8.0 URL: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/education/distance-ed-faq/part3
*** The alt.education.distance FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) *** Part 3 of 4 parts FAQ Maintainers: Neil Hynd, penhill@emirates.net.ae, Al Lepine lepine1@banet.net, Editor/Originator: Rita Laws, rlaws@homes4kids.org, URL: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/education/distance-ed-faq/part3 6. After I've graduated, what next ? The work is finished and the diploma has arrived. What now ? Although tradition varies from country to country, it may not be time yet to bask in the warmth of your accomplishment. In the USA, there are at least three things left that you can choose to do, especially if you are a graduate/post-graduate alumnus, to maximize the effectiveness of your DL degree: announce it, present it, and publish it. Announcing your degree via your local newspaper or company bulletin, while optional, is an easy way to show your pride and achievement. The more pride you show in your degree, the more respect others will accord you for it. You don't need a fancy press release. Simply type up the facts: your name, city, degree, university, and date of graduation. Your local newspaper editor will do the rest. For an even better announcement, ask your faculty advisor to check it over before you send it out to be published. The second thing to do is to present your work. If you wrote a thesis or a dissertation, you may wish to share the research results with the professional community through local, state, regional, national, and international conferences. For many people, publishing their work is more practical than presenting it. This is the third and most time-consuming addendum to earning your degree. You can do both or either. Publishing your work takes three basic forms: as is, as an article, and as a book. Publishing your thesis or dissertation as is means paying a fee and filling out an application for a library abstract service to make your work available to the public. The purpose is to share the results, and to receive feedback and recognition from others in your field. Otherwise, what good will your work do after the degree? Getting published in scholarly journals is never easy, and is rarely compensated monetarily. Again, this avenue is pursued in order to share research with other academicians, and to help establish oneself in a given field of research. Always send for the writer's guidelines first, or your submission will be returned to you unread. Follow all directions exactly, and be prepared for several re-writes. Acceptance is rarely unconditional on the first attempt. Publishing your thesis or dissertation in book form requires three basic steps. First, write a detailed outline of the book you want to write, based on your work. Second, submit your outline to publishers until it is accepted. Third, re-write your work to the publisher's specifications. The sooner you do this after completing your degree, the easier it may be to do, because your work will still be fresh in your mind. Finally, if you caught the research bug during your thesis or dissertation preparation, you may wish to continue, expand, or modify your original research, or begin a new project. There are several good books about obtaining grant money to do this. One US published work is a Peterson's title called "Grants for Graduate & Postdoctoral Study: Details on 1,400 Fellowships, Scholarships, Grants, Awards, and Prizes" (Fourth Edition). You may also find research money on the Internet. People have even picked up support for their research goals by posting on Usenet Newsgroup discussions that dealt with their field of interest ! 7. What are Research Degrees ? Research degrees can offer the opportunity to earn advanced degrees with little or no residency, and often at a very economical cost. The subject and choices have been studied in detail by Dr. John Bear in his book on non-traditional education, details of which can be found on the AED DL booklist. Dr. Bear has also frequently answered questions on the subject via the AED newsgroup. Australia, Britain and South Africa are leading sources of research-only degrees. However in keeping with the relative independence of universities in some of these countries, the approach can differ from one to the next and may strongly depend on a relationship with the university or a faculty member. In Britain, a frequent approach is to register for an M.Phil. degree which can either be completed, or on the strength of progress can be developed into a PhD. Those already holding a master's degree would be able to begin at the doctoral level, on the basis of an accepted research proposal. Research Degree candidates should normally hold a first-class or second- class honors degree, or an equivalent qualification, in a subject relevant to their proposed field of research. Applicants without such qualifications may be accepted in special circumstances but they will have to demonstrate their suitability by taking examinations or by other appropriate means, both before and during their studies. Candidates whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language level is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study. Candidates will normally be expected to have obtained either the British Council IELTS with a score of 5.5 or paper based TOEFL with a score of 530 or computer based TOEFL with a score of 200 (with an essay rating of 4.0). Some departments may require an English Language qualification above the stipulated minimum. Being research-based there would be no coursework involved, or any credits earned by any necessary work would not count towards the advanced degree itself. An effective approach would be to identify a university that is active in the field concerned, and then to make contact at faculty or department administrator level to pursue the exact arrangements one-to-one as far as possible. Of course, it would be necessary to show that you have access to all of the required resources needed to carry out the research, and to keep in close contact with the appointed supervisor. Contact with faculty can be helped by the increased tendency of some universities to run various in-country courses around the world, in which case supervisors may be able to visit you rather than vice-versa. This is particularly true if the research project has employer support, and employer facilities are involved in the research work itself. Increasing use can also be made of web-based conferencing and use of standard tools such as Microsoft NetMeeting. 8. What can you tell me about Certifications that can be earned by Distance Learning ? As mentioned earlier, DL can take many forms. One type of qualification that has developed rapidly by DL is the "certification". The best-known are probably those offered in the computing field based on knowledge of proprietary systems such as Cisco (Networking), IBM, Lotus, Microsoft, Novell (Networking), Oracle and Sybase (Databases and System Development). Another group are so-called "generic" certifications demonstrating an identifiable set of skills that register with organisations seeking those skills in new or existing employees. A good example are those from the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA at www.comptia.org) with A+ Hardware and Software, iNet+, Network+ and CDIA technician-level certifications. Another source of generic "independent" certifications can be found at Tekmetrics (www.tekmetrics.com) e-certification in more than 40 categories covering computer, English communication and project management skills. None of these certifications have "accreditation" in the sense described in these FAQs, but they are never-the-less becoming a "gold standard" for competencies in the respective areas. Indeed, some college degrees now include the gaining of such certifications as part of their learning objectives. The way these certifications work is generally to obtain the study text either from the originators themselves or third party publishers such as Osborne McGraw Hill. Such books also usually come with CD instruction materials, including practice tests. Courses are also provided at local centres, but these cost a lot more than self-study texts. To achieve the formal certification, the student must register for and pass an on-line test under controlled conditions managed by a local agent using services offered by organisations such as Sylvan Prometric (www.sylvanprometric.com) and Virtual University Enterprises (www.vue.com). The testing is rigorous and often uses adaptive-type tests weighing the questions based on relative difficulty. Questions are multi-choice (with one or more correct selections), frequently based on scenarios likely to be met in practice. You can try sample tests at sites such as www.testfree.com or www.measureup.com, and join their exam preparation services at low cost either as downloads or monthly subscriptions. 9. What are the implications of On-Line Education in Distance Learning ? On-line education is becoming a reality which no-one interested in Distance Learning can ignore. The technology exists, as do low-cost web campus facilities such as those from WebCT or even over the internet from blackboard.com and others. As a contribution to this subject, we welcome "guest" input from Terrence R. Redding, Ph.D. considering the question: "Will All Educational Institutions will make the transition to the Information Age and Distance Education ?" Do you know the difference between information and knowledge ? Educational institutions world-wide are entering the Information Age. Most educational institutions - sadly - are not yet in transition. Indeed, most nations have not made the transition to the information age. It is my contention that many educational institutions who could, will not make the transition to the information age and distance education, at least not in our lifetime. Those that don't will be stuck in the Industrial Age (Toffler, 1980), or before. Possibly trapped in the Agricultural Age, or before. The Information Age, while an identifiable point in time (wave, as in a moving point, in a continuum) will give birth to the Knowledge Age and a rebirth of Taylorism (the elitist notion that the educated will make decisions for the uneducated - directing the industrial might of the Industrial Age nations and enterprizes). The Knowledge Age (which will constitute a fourth wave) will make a clear distinction between those who understand the power of knowledge and those who think power lies in the transmission and holding of information. There are educational institutions (or at least their administrative components) who seem to fail to make this distinction, and thus think of themselves oddly as keepers (gate) of knowledge and repositories for information. Somehow they have misunderstood the Internet and believe it is supposed to be used to connect and protect their ability to store knowledge - and that it is being subverted when it is used to transmit/impart knowledge. Without being able to say why - they feel threatened because this thing called the Internet is leaking. At least the knowledge they feel charged to protect and store - appears to be leaking - leaking everywhere - and they can't stop it. They see open access to education as something that must be controlled - by those who are empowered to mechanisms like accreditation. They see organizations which offer non-accredited education as rogues who refuse to play by the rules. The fact that no one seems able to enforce the "rules" is scary to them. Third wave educators are embracing the information age and using it to foster access to learning. Those trapped in the industrial age, those worried about making education to easy - will argue against the use of technology and confuse the two terms - information and knowledge. (An example is thinking that answers to test questions represent knowledge, and not just information). Fourth wave educators - like Bensusan, Boston and Mazzucelli are busy using the Internet to disseminate knowledge. They actively seek ways to open access to the widest number of participants with minimum barriers to learning. Copyright (c) 1999 Terrence R. Redding, Ph.D. ** Legalities: FAQ Maintainers: Neil Hynd penhill@emirates.net.ae, Al Lepine lepine1@banet.net Editor/Originator: Dr. Rita Laws rlaws@homes4kids.org, This FAQ may be re-produced for non-profit uses, and as long as it is copied in its entirety and without modification. It may be duplicated at other education-related newsgroups. For any other use, including commercial, or the use of excerpts, permission must first be obtained in writing from the author, Rita Laws, Ph.D., at email: rlaws@homes4kids.org Copyright (c) 1999, 2000 by Rita Laws. Joint Maintainer of the alt.education.distance FAQs http://personalpages.tds.net/~rlaws/dlfaq.html Webmaster, Benjamin Franklin Institute of Global Education http://www.bfranklin.edu For Distance Education information, Al Lepine's Web Site is highly recommended:- http://members.tripod.com/~lepine