Induction Meeting in Distance Education

Author: 
Dr. S. Ganesan Regional Director, IGNOU Ms. Sangit

Every one of us familiar with our school education system and its process. The moment when we move from school to college/university level education, we find the differences and the difficulties linked with it. To facilitate the fresh students, the college administration organize a ‘Fresher meet or Introduction meeting to orient the new comers. Being regular campus life, the student gets adequate opportunities to learn from seniors also. Whereas, in Open and Distance Learning environment, the learner is separated by quasi-permanent distance from peer-group or teacher. Therefore, it is highly important to conduct Induction Meeting for freshers of every admission cycle. The main purpose of such Induction Meeting is to induct the new learner for Open and Distance Learning methodology. A sort of sensitization about- the self-learning, To Do List of activities, schedule of various activities of the university etc. are given.
Following are the activities of Induction Meeting in Open and Distance Learning System:
• Self-introduction of new learner among peer-group.
• Introduction of Academic Counsellor/teachers
• Introduction of Head and staff of Learner Support Centre/Study Centre
• Introduction of Regional Centre staff
• Brief presentation of ‘To Do List’/’Calendar of Activities’/’Schedule of University Activities’ etc.
• Answer to FAQ of new learners
• When to contact? Where? Whom to contact? Contact details-phone numbers, e-mail IDs, working days, working hours etc.
• Audio-Video/Power Point Presentation of the University
• Circulation of questionnaire, to sensitize new learner and functionaries of Learner Support Centre/Regional Centre (including informal discussion outside the venue)
• Introduction of self-learning concepts
• How to use study material: Print, Audio-Video, website
• How to prepare good quality assignment-response sheet
• Distribution of Identity Card/Study Material/Assignment Questions/previous exam Question Papers etc, reference library, Audio-Vi9deo CD library, Project Reports, Gyandarshan & Gyan Vani facilities etc.
• Refreshments tat the end of meeting

As we all know the basic requirement of self-learning skills for a learner in Open and Distance Learning System. The tips to promote, enhance such skills will be highly beneficial for students. Induction Meeting gives such useful inputs for long-term benefit of the learner.
The learner support centres of Open and Distance Learning System normally operates for limited hours and on selected days only. Knowing the correct working hours, working days, holidays etc, will save learners’ time and energy. Such vital informations are mentioned in sign boards/notice boards also.
As the teachers are empanelled academic counselors to teach distance learners, most of them are part-time associate of Open and Distance Learning University. Introduction of variety of subject teachers, in front of new learners, will bridge the academic gap between the learner and the teacher. For instance, the IGNOU Study Centre at JNRM College, has over 100 teachers for teaching nearly 400 varieties of subjects/sub-subjects. The identification of subject specific teachers is made easy in the Induction Meeting.
The unique methodology of Open and Distance Learning System needs awareness camp for new learner. For example, even before giving first year exam, the learner is suppose to pay second year fee 3-months ahead of starting of second year academic session. Such unique, special procedure of Distance Education universities are un-known/less-known to the new learners.
Missing the dead-lines will force to student to wait (unnecessarily) for a semester/year gap. Thus, the alarm of last dates of Open and Distance Learning System must be kept in the mind/memory of new learner. Frequently contacting (or) visiting the LSC/RC, once in a month, keeps the learner updated regularly. For the same, the new learner must store the enrolment number (unique admission number), phone numbers; e-mail IDs of Learner Support Centre/Regional Centre /Head Quarter-of the distance education provider, in their mobile phone.
The Induction Meetings are normally conducted through:
• Face-to-face mode
• Printed material
• Electronic mail mode
• Radio
• TV
• Website

For small groups, course-specific interaction session is much suitable for face-to-face mode of Induction Meeting. Considering the space limitations, it is limited to 50-100 students per Induction Meeting. The individual meeting with student is possible through printed material; It can cover 100% students, leaving none. The printed material can be distributed by-hand or by-post. The power point slides of Induction Meeting contents can also be e-mailed to larger group by mass e-mail communication. To reach a mass, the Distance Education universities also uses electronic mass media such as-Radio, TV, Webcast, Face-Book etc. Being first meeting with registered learners (fresh), the Open and Distance Learning System gives adequate importance in organizing the Induction Meeting.
By just entering the hall of Induction Meeting, a fresh learner is educated about Open and Distance Learning university through various display/ notice boards/standees posters/ charts etc. A simple walk through from entrance to exist of the hall expose the methodology and make the new learner aware about procedure, process of teaching –learning in Open and Distance Learning System. Mere physical presence in the meeting motivates, inspires the fresher. In other words, the Induction Meeting is spring board for smooth take-off for Open and Distance Learning journey.

(The authors are Dr.S. Ganesan, Regional Director and Ms. Sangita Mandal, Assistant of IGNOU, Regional Centre, Port Blair and can be reached at rcportblair@ignou.ac.in

Friday, 5 October, 2018