Using Technology for Strengthening Open Schooling A Study of the Ni-On Project of NIOS
Learners in a distance education system need support both related to academic course work and non academic issues. However the areas where the distance between the institution and the learner seems the widest is that of student support services. According to Melton(2005,p 13) however well designed the self study materials may be, there will inevitable be occasion when students will need further support. According to Tait (2000,p. 28-29), student support services complement the course materials and are often perceived as a major offering if institutions using ODL. The Indian open schooling experience shows that most of the problems and barriers encountered by the student relate to non academic issues of admissions, choice of examination centre, form filling, corrections in personal details, lack of feedback, non-receipt of course materials, counseling regarding choice of subjects, lack of cooperation by the study centers etc. Undoubtedly learners who are fee paying have a right to expect and demand better services from the distance education system, which is the service provider. Scholars like David Sewart and Otto Peters view student support services as close to ‘customer support services’ of a commercial business enterprise.
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