Distance learning experience at COMSATS Virtual Campus

I used to wonder why students opt for distance learning programs instead of going to college and gaining the classroom experience. But then it all became clear when I was the one applying for a program at COMSATS Virtual Campus as I was unable to manage my work and studies side by side. So I applied at a reputed institute as I wasn’t looking for just a degree but actually wanted to gain some knowledge.
COMSATS started their virtual campus around 2012 and I saw a lot of people applying in various programs. COMSATS is a reputed institute of the country and the degree is recognized by HEC. I applied for admission in MS Project Management program and got it with ease as the criterion for selection required GAT score of above 50 and a BS degree.
Now enough of my story, coming to the effectiveness of distance learning program at COMSATS, I will talk discretely and with reference to my experience about the MSPM program only. My purpose is only to share my experience and views.
1. The course designed is similar to most colleges and universities of Pakistan, comprising four semesters and thirty credit hours including a compulsory thesis submission. Four core courses include management and statistics subjects, whereas PM subjects are all electives. PM subjects are designed based on PMI
2. Students have access to recorded lectures either through the online repository or COMSATS sends a storage devise containing lectures of first semester only. Apparently the lecture had been recorded once and same are being used till date. Recording quality is fine but has editing issues that reduces the overall impact. Just to give an idea, if u compare MIT OCW with these lectures, the former are highly interactive as they are actual recorded lectures of a classroom but the latter are like someone explaining a theory (i’m only commenting about the lecture quality, not taking into account the lecturer’s own style or experience).
3. As I am a student of PM, interactive learning has great importance as far as management is concerned. Although the lectures are comprehensive and touch upon the topics nicely but only lectures cannot fill up the gaps. COMSATS has appointed course coordinators to include the interactive experience for the students. A course coordinator has responsibilities such as making tests and assignments, checking quizes, tests etc, conducting interactive online sessions and solving queries forwarded by students. However, for some reason the coordinators are not able to manage the interactive part. The group sessions conducted are in the morning hours when most of the people who opt distance learning because of their jobs are at work and are left behind. Moreover, there is no way to judge the skills being acquired by the students and grade him on their extra efforts. This lack of attention to interactive learning opportunities by coordinators may be because of work load or some internal issues but COMSATS has failed to provide any valued interactive learning opportunities.
4. Lastly, there is a big administrative short coming in COMSATS and that is related to re-examination. If I study for a whole semesters but due to any reason I fail to appear in the exam (as there is only one chance to appear), there is no solution to fix this. The administration is currently working on this issue and all the students are hopping that this gets resolved soon.
All my comments are for information purpose because I think these facts about COMSATS are not available on web and should be known to all those applying this season for any program.

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