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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
*** The alt.education.distance FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) ***
Part 3 of 4 parts
FAQ Maintainers: Neil Hynd, firstname.lastname@example.org, Al Lepine
email@example.com, Editor/Originator: Rita Laws, firstname.lastname@example.org,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Copyright (c) 1999 Terrence R. Redding, Ph.D.
FAQ Maintainers: Neil Hynd email@example.com, Al Lepine
firstname.lastname@example.org Editor/Originator: Dr. Rita Laws email@example.com,
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright (c) 1999, 2000 by Rita Laws.
Joint Maintainer of the alt.education.distance FAQs
Webmaster, Benjamin Franklin Institute of Global Education
For Distance Education information, Al Lepine's Web Site is highly