Web 2.0 Applications in Reaching Out to Asian Distance Learners
Modern day learning experience has come a long way beyond pedagogical instructions and face to face interaction. As globalization advances, education is increasingly crossing borders of regions and nations. Educational systems have to now respond to other profound changes, such as the knowledge explosion, the changing interaction between the public and private spheres etc. Universities have also to respond to quantitative changes, including a massive overall increase in intake everywhere. The demands of the learners are also changing. With the continuing explosion of knowledge and the breaking down of the old fixed patterns of employment, learners are increasingly demanding a type of education that allows them to update their knowledge whenever necessary and to go on doing so throughout their working lives. All of these developments are closely intertwined with the most striking development of all, which is the phenomenal growth of information and communication technologies. These are having a profound effect at all levels of education, including traditional university programmes; however, they arguably are noted to benefit the distance learners in particular. // In this paper, the term ‘distance learners’ is being used to denote students enrolling themselves into either distance education or off-campus programmes. Most distance learners face time, mobility and financial constraints because of their career and family circumstances. Given the right computer technology, they can give themselves maximum benefit of flexible learning. Generally, most major distance education universities operate a mixture of the synchronous and asynchronous modalities for broadcasting or disseminating their programmes to their students. Students who are enrolled in distance education programmes often are unable to come to the campus or off-campus location for the administrative, student, and academic services they need. Institutions offering full programmes via distance education need to provide the full range of services at times and in ways that are convenient for these students. These services include admissions and registration, enrollment advising, academic advising, financial aid, career counseling, library resources, self-learning materials ordering etc. Advances in technology have had a significant impact on the way that institutions provide services, particularly administrative and library services, to all of their students. This has helped to narrow the differences in the way distance learners and on-campus learners are served. Yet, it does not always result in distance learners receiving a full range of services.