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

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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

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
*** 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

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