Online education is here

By Ayesha Inoon

To study at your own time and pace, to be able to continue working while getting that long-sought university degree or diploma, to upgrade your skills from the comfort of your own home – who would not be attracted by such possibilities? These are the benefits of online, or distance education, a phenomenon that is fast catching on in Sri Lanka as well, with a number of universities, professional associations, and private and public sector educational institutions now offering online courses.

The Ladies College Department of Vocational Studies (LCDVS) is among the pioneers of online education in the country, offering an Online Diploma in Specific Learning Disabilities that gives students the opportunity to have a fulfilling learning experience and gain a recognised academic qualification in keeping with their own schedules. This online course fulfils a long felt need in the sphere of Teacher Education.

What are specific learning disabilities?

The term refers to a group of neurological disorders that affects the acquisition, retention, understanding, organisation or use of verbal and/ or non-verbal information. Learning Disabilities can be categorized in three broad areas; developmental speech and language disorders, academic skills disorders and "others."

For whom is the course?

The Diploma in Specific Learning Disabilities is available for teachers, parents and anyone who wishes to support students with Learning Disabilities. On this Programme, you will be working alongside other "learners", meeting online for group work and discussion, all facilitated and supported by experienced and knowledgeable tutors. As well as working online, there are two full day, optional face-to-face lecture and workshop sessions held at the LCDVS. The Diploma is based on the latest e-learning internet technology which is really easy to use, so you don't need any special computer skills.

When you register you will be given access to the Online Learning Environment. As well as this being a vibrant community of learners, here you can access the study materials, multimedia presentations, library resources, conferencing facilities and discussion areas.

You will work closely with experienced, highly trained tutors from LCDVS in all of your modules. When you undertake the Project Paper you will also be assigned a personal tutor to support you in your work.

What are the entrance requirements?

You must be able to demonstrate your interest in the field of Special Needs Education and meet the following academic entrance requirements: Teachers are required to have passed the GCE A/L

xamination or a professional qualification in the field of education such as the Montessori course, Pre school teachers' Diploma, a bachelor's degree or equivalent. Students must also possess a minimum of a credit pass in English at the GCE O/Level examination.

This being a practice oriented course, the student is also required to have access to a child between the ages of 6 – 10 years, who demonstrates a difficulty in speaking/ reading/ writing/ number skills.

Technical skills such as word-processing, Internet and email skills are all basic requirements. However, those who do not meet the entrance requirements may still apply. Each application will be considered on an individual basis and the decision taken at the discretion of the Institute.

Programme content

The programme will cover the following key areas: Introduction to special needs education, introduction to child development, the brain compatible classroom, specific learning disabilities, teaching reading, writing and arithmetic and differentiation and assessment.


Fees and registration

Fees are made up of a one-off registration fee (Rs.1000) plus 21,000/= per semester for local students. Fees include all core study materials but are exclusive of the cost of sitting examinations. Examination fee consists of the final examination fee of Rs.2, 500/= for local students and US $75 for international students. The course is of a year's duration, consisting of three semesters, and begins on December 15, 2008.

The deadline for applications is December 1, while the registration deadline is December 5.
This Diploma Programme is approved by the Ministry of Higher Education and supported by the Distance Education Modernisation Project (DEMP) of the Asian Development Bank.

Further information is available from the LCDVS, 27th Lane, Off Inner Flower Road, Colombo 3. Tel: 2574194, email: dvs@stmail.lk.

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