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Distant education; applicapble practical knowledge Forthwith

Distant education provides a possibility to cease time and distance bounds, allows you to study while having a full-time job since it renders possible for busy managers to study new specialised knowledge without being absent from their job. This advantage is highly appreciated both by managers and employers. The methodology also has the benefit of trying out the new knowledge acquired by managers immediately in practice that results in that knowledge become "unawares" settled.

The combination of theory and practice like this furthers improvement of self-confidence and life long learning.

The distant education system introduced and continuously developed by Euro-Contact Business School provides much more possibilities for those longing for studying, compared to traditional distant education methods.
This system even officially is the best and highest level of integrated education method among methodologies adopted in Hungary. Its unique characteristics are:

  • New materials acquired can put into practice immediately by working up individual workplace experiences and problems.
  • Providing highest possible help to students.
Euro-Contact has always used this practical student-focused methodology and will apply by each education system.

The essential component of the supported distant education course materials is the distant education multimedia package that is the main medium of course material and as such basically a communication tool between tutor and student. Besides books entirety of other tools that support individual learning (video and audio cassettes, occasionally software) constitute education package. The printed books of packages give the backbone of the course material. It does not mean that the remaining elements are not relevant or less important, the point purely is that everything is built around the books of the course material and connected through them, building up the totality.

Figure 1 illustrates this relationship showing all important elements of a Euro-Contact education system.

Residential weekend training Audio and video tools CD-ROM, interactive CD, other ICT tools Student intranet, virtual school Essays Examination Tutorial/lecture Books, collection of extracts and articles

One of the bases of Euro-Contact's supported distance education method is the sensitive balance between the two considerations i.e. students being busy at work should be provided with well-arranged and constructed subjects and knowledge and on the other hand they should be forced to reflect on the subject in question and translate it into their own practical life. A sufficient tool for this can be a software package or a CD-ROM that are particularly useful for gaining practical knowledge and methods and also when students are required to work up quite a huge amount of data. Within the role of providing information Internet has become a more and more important tool of education. Euro-Contact pays remarkable attention to using Internet as a source of information and as a tool of education. For this our institution individually developed - accessible only for Euro-Contact students - an Internet-based interactive learning method, with which it supplemented its education system. This is an Interned based interactive software, information database and on-line means of consultancy.

Tutors of Euro-Contact Business School contain managers having scientific degree and significant professional experience in certain subjects, experts having academic background and working on certain managerial fields or directors of consultant firms.
Our students can participate in consultations in groups six times a semester. The tutors of the group are available for their students via telephone and intranet/Internet during the whole semester. They provide answers to questions arisen while studying at home, and also can help in clarifying misunderstandings. Consequently the tutor during the whole semester becomes the student's personal professional management counsellor in the studied subject.

Although Euro-Contact is committed to distant education, this does not mean that the institution believes that in management education everything can be implemented without meeting personally. For fulfilling the demands towards interactivity, residential training weekends are part of distant education system. While participation in tutorials is optional (although according to the experience of ECBS participation is relatively high), attendance of residential weekends is compulsory. This is one of the most important elements of our education system. Its role is to make managers having the same problems but working on different fields, positions and companies pass their experience to each other while collaborating, complementing each other's knowledge while solving a problem. It is also important to receive guidance in the interest of bypassing failures in a controlled environment and experience the success of application in practice.

These trainings are theory demanding practical instructions. The basic role of trainings is to mix students and to guarantee to meet new tutors.
Depending on the number of students having the same subject residential weekends are held in several different places, by which we strive to broaden the number of alternatives. In general, 50-60 students and 4-5 tutors attend a residential weekend.

Attaining a course material is evaluated in two ways mainly: continuous evaluation through regular essays and examination at the end of the semester.

It is an essential requirement when considering supported distant education that essays serve the objectives of education and improvement as much as its evaluation. The tutor's task is to make serious efforts for assuring that they not only reflect to students where they are in the interpretation of course material at the moment, but also to make them understand the course material, concepts and methods used in their essays more. Essays are always prepared at home. For writing it every tool - including tutorial aid - can be used. Of course this does not mean that students are allowed to hand in common or even similar essays. This is considered as a serious offence by our institution the consequences of which are put in writing in Education and Examination Regulations.

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