Rohit Dubey

A scope for online and distance learning program in engineering. Do online degrees help in career?

by Rohit Dubey
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RE: A scope for online and distance learning program in engineering. Do online degrees help in career?

Avadhut Desai
Avadhut Desai
Verified Career Expert
Career Counselor / President at Foresight Foundation
  • Kolhapur

Distance learning programs or correspondence courses do belong to one of the fastest growing sectors in India. Various universities such as Indira Gandhi National Open University, Manipal Sikkim University, Yashvantrao Chavan Mukta Vidyapeeth etc offers state of art correspondence courses. Distance learning programs have their own advantages and disadvantages. The decision to opt for distance learning program can depend upon various factors such as -opting for an extra degree while doing job, skill improvement, industry need, and job growth.

Distance education primarily online courses are flourishing in India due to exponential growth in internet penetration. The modern invention of video lecturing through satellites has narrowed the distance between a teacher and students. Now a day, distance education online courses offer a feedback mechanism where a student can ask a question online and get an instant answer. The development of VSAT satellite technology provides fast transfer of data between stations. Same time, other useful platforms such as YouTube and Google plus webinars creates an opportunity to interact for creative and fruitful learning outcomes.

Do online degrees or correspondence course help in career?

Correspondence courses have their own advantage. For example, a person can complete his degree sitting at home. A student who is pursuing some other degree courses say for e.g. B-tech in engineering but is interested in journalism can pursue a distance degree in journalism. Very often students preparing for various government examinations do go for an extra degree so as to increase their knowledge and increase their chances of selection in the corporate world. An additional correspondence degree over a regular degree is always an advantage. Many hardworking students who for some reason can’t complete the traditional degree course often opt for a correspondence course.


As far as the industry will be concerned, it will always prefer a traditional degree over a degree obtained through a correspondence course. Excellent learning outcomes of a person often depend upon audiovisual physical classroom structure. Here, a student can ask the question, debate an issue and socially interact with colleagues.  Thus, it makes traditional learning more fruitful and rewarding. Very often pursuing a correspondence course becomes a tedious job. The lack of any structure to complete studies, the absence of motivation and various home based disturbances often hampers the will to complete a correspondence course.


 Process for the approval of correspondence degree course

Online distance program or correspondence courses in India are recognized by UGC. It is important that an institution which is running online course should have an approval of ‘Distance Education Bureau’ which is the regulating body of the UGC. ‘Distance education bureau’ is a temporary arrangement by the UGC to approve distance courses. The ministry of human resource has floated draft guidelines for a new body ‘Distance Education Council of India’ under UGC for approving correspondence courses.

Same time for running classroom based technical courses say Btech in computer engineering; it becomes important that institution should be approved by the AICTE and UGC. At this moment, AICTE does not give any recognition to correspondence degree course in engineering.  It means that colleges that are currently offering a distance degree course of four years in any of the engineering branches are violating the norms and are illegal.

Ministry of Human resource development is in the process of drafting new rules for the approval of correspondence or online technical four-year degree course in engineering.  Till then any correspondence four-year degree course in engineering should be considered as illegal.


 Top institutes which offer distance diplomas and work integrated engineering degrees

Though AICTE currently does not permit a correspondence degree course in engineering but various institutes have distance diploma and certificate courses in engineering like subjects or branches. A student should ensure that the course has got approval from AICTE

Manipal Sikkim University

The university offers a three-year correspondence Bachelor of Science (Information technology) course which a student can opt for. Manipal Sikkim University is one of the fastest growing institutes of India and its distance program certainly carries some weight. 


The university offers some correspondence courses after graduation. For example, its school of engineering and technology offers distance doctor of philosophy in mechanical engineering and civil engineering.  Same time, it has a long duration semi-classroom type diploma program in engineering.

BITS Pilani

BITS Pilani offers an undergraduate and postgraduate work integrated learning program in various branches of engineering. The student seeking admission should have a diploma in engineering and a two-year experience of working in engineering related company. The company will have collaboration with the institution and student can opt for online learning while doing a job. The course is demanding and challenging as the student will have to multitask. The majority of the course is in the online form and the student will have to attain online lectures.


The institute offers some masters program in engineering for a person who holds a diploma in engineering with two years of work experience. IIMT have centers across various cities 

Amity University

The university offers online programs for Bsc and Msc in information technology.  Most of the program will be completed through online mode.


Though distance education is growing in India but AICTE and UGC are still cautious about extending distance education for the degree program in engineering. The reason being classroom engineering is itself a tough course. The classroom program includes several practical experiments in each semester. A student cannot get required understanding unless there is a laboratory set up. Engineering is not a kind of subjects which can be taught just by dispatching classroom material. But if some institute is helping students with online video lectures then it may become possible to get desired learning outcomes.

Finally, if a student wants to gain some knowledge irrespective of job consciousness then he can certainly opt for any diploma course in engineering. But if a student wants to go for further studies based on the diploma course in engineering then he should categorically ensure that the concern institution has got approval from UGC and AICTE.

RE: A scope for online and distance learning program in engineering. Do online degrees help in career?

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