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Distance Education

 

 

 

In recent years the advancement of technology, the widespread use of the computer and the advent of the internet has led to new forms of delivering education. The process of acquiring knowledge, skills and competences, is no longer bounded by space and time, and higher education is no longer limited to rigid pedagogical methods. Distance education offers the opportunity to people who cannot or do not prefer to study in a conventional program of study, requiring their physical presence in a classroom (due to geographical restrictions and/or time constrains), to acquire knowledge and gain a higher education qualification.

 

Students spend more time working on their own in a distance education program.  The time they would spend on-campus in a conventional program of study is replaced with activities such as more reading, writing, watching PowerPoint/video presentations, participating in online discussion boards attending online live lectures and communication with their instructor and other students. Distance education contributes in making education more open and accessible, flexible and adaptable to society’s needs.

 

How our distance education is delivered

 

Distance education tools

 

The students’ learning experience is mainly managed through our distance-learning platform. Students log in the platform by using their browser and a username and a password provided by American College. In addition, for the delivery of distance education we use an online library platform, a web conferencing system, a telecommunication software and email and telephone communication. Through the above platforms, system and software, students access course material and learning resources, submit assignments, answer self-assessment questions, watch live online lectures and participate in online discussion boards (forums) and live chat rooms. Moreover, they communicate with their instructors and other students enrolled in their course through private chat and private web conference. The live online lectures are recorded and stored and can be played back by a student at any time. Our distance education is thus delivered with the use of asynchronous (non-real time) and synchronous (real time) distance education tools.

 

Role of instructor

 

The instructor of a course is the person in charge for the teaching and learning process of the particular course. He/she is responsible for the structure, the content, the design and elaboration of the learning activities. The instructor carefully prepares and collects the learning material of his/her courses. Such learning material may be text or multimedia created by the instructor him/herself or in collaboration with other instructors or it may be taken from the web. The instructor of a course supervises the students enrolled in the particular course, answers their questions, grades their assignments and projects and monitors their overall learning progress, providing them with the necessary feedback. At the same time, he/she encourages active participation in learning by using all the synchronous and asynchronous tools. The instructor is also the examiner who will mark the final examination of the course. We believe that frequent and direct interaction between a student and the instructor of a course play a key role in the learning process. During the direct interaction, personalized attention is given to the student so that he/she receives valuable guidance on the content of a course. Through this guidance, each student receives supplemental help that is specific to his/her needs.

 

Elements of learning

 

The student has a major position in our pedagogical model. The learning process revolves around preparing, designing and organizing the learning resources and activities in such a way in order to enhance the student’s learning and prepare the student for the final examination and other course assessments. Our pedagogical model consists of three elements: autonomous study and individual work, guidance by the instructor and collaboration with other students and the instructor. For the first element: the provision of up to date and comprehensive learning material adjusted to the special characteristics of distance education plays a major role. For the second element: the provision of frequent and in-depth guidance enhances student learning. For the third element: we place special emphasis on communication and discussion and exchange of opinions and ideas among the students and between the students and the instructor. This takes place for example while students do group assignments and projects, participate in online discussion boards and live chat rooms. Such group activities allow students to interact with other students with the same or different work experiences and from other countries and cultures, learn from each other and gain new perspectives. The collaborative construction of knowledge combines personal experience, group research processes and knowledge management.

 

Highly qualified and experienced instructors

 

Finally yet importantly, the success of our distance education lies in the fact that our distance education is delivered by highly qualified instructors who are specialists in their respective fields and trained in regards to the distance education pedagogical methodologies and tools. All our distance education instructors have a long experience in higher education teaching and research in their field of expertise. Moreover, they were trained in using synchronous and asynchronous distance education tools, preparing and organizing distance education material, activities and communication. Their scientific background in their academic field, their knowledge in distance education delivery along with the state-of-the-art distance education tools we use, the up to date and comprehensive learning material we provide and the modern learning methodologies and assessment we apply guarantee the high quality and reliability of our distance education.

 

 

American College subscribes to a rich online library platform. The platform contains the full text of thousands of scholarly journals, trade journals, market and industry reports, working papers, conference proceedings and dissertations. Students increasingly need more than just scholarly journals to conduct their research thoroughly and effectively. This is why our online library platform made it easy for them to access thousands of key trade and other publications in addition to the scholarly journals. Moreover, the platform provides its users with advanced tools for research and writing such as a smart search and sort tool, a cite tool to generate a bibliography and a content alert tool that emails users new records added to the library that match their search criteria. The platform’s innovative information content and technologies increase the productivity of our students. All American College distance education students are provided with a username and a password to access the platform on any device (e.g. personal computer, smart phone, tablet) with internet connection. All these can be accessed from anywhere in the world and they are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!

 

 

Each course is assessed during the teaching period of a course through coursework and a written final examination.

 

Coursework

 

For every course, students produce a number of written assignments called coursework (e.g. projects, essays and other assignments). Coursework is assessed as follows: The instructor provides students with the requirements and the submission deadline (date and time) of the coursework well in advance. Students then upload their work through the distance-learning platform by the deadline set. Coursework is uploaded in word format so that the instructor can use the comment facility of Microsoft Word to comment and mark the coursework. The instructor then uploads the marked coursework using the platform. The coursework serves to keep students alert, provide feedback to them (as part of the learning process) and prepare them for the final examination.

 

Final examination

 

After the teaching period is over students take a comprehensive written final examination for each course. The examination requires the physical presence of the student. Students residing in Cyprus must take the final examination at American College premises. Students residing in countries other than Cyprus take the final examination at the examination place arranged by the College in their country of residence (such students can take the examination at American College premises if they wish to do so). The date and time of the final examination and the address of the examination place are announced to students well in advance. Soon after the examination is over the instructor of the course marks the examination answer scripts and then the grades of the particular course are released.

 

Thesis

 

Master’s degree students are required to write a thesis. A thesis is the final project of their master’s degree. The thesis is uploaded to the distance-learning platform in the same way the written assignments are uploaded. Once the thesis is completed the student is required to give a presentation of his/her thesis via a private web conference. The thesis is assessed based on the thesis itself and the thesis presentation.

 

 

  • Study from anywhere in the world and at any time of the day over the internet
  • Fit your learning around your work and personal life
  • Learn easier and better by studying at your own pace
  • Unlike conventional education, you can play back an online lecture at any time since it is recorded
  • There is no need to do any traveling or live in another city or country to study and this saves you time, money and hassle
  • Make connections with a more diverse range of people worldwide and enjoy the benefits of a wider range of networking opportunities

 

 

 

 
 
 
 


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