The Absence of Longer Texts in Literature Classes in Some Open and Distance Education Courses in India: Learning Outcomes
Self-Instructional Materials (SIMs) in distance and open learning (ODL), particularly in case of literature modules in certain open universities in India do not seem to provide the longer texts of works penned by both canonical as well as non-canonical authors; short poetry and critical pieces are just some of the exceptions. Often the emphasis is on the critical material available on the author, coupled with notes and commentaries. As any understanding of a text is important to gain a deeper understanding of the socio-economic and the cultural milieu in which the work was conceived, while “reading between the lines” can be of additional help, often this absence raises questions as regards the efficiency of the SIMs used in the literature classroom. On the other hand, regular courses in the nation emphasize the reading of the text per se. This paper would like to analyze the learning outcomes of around fifty students in the ODL mode and around the same number of students in a literature class in “regular” mode using the theories of learning and behavioral conditioning in psychology and analyze this issue of availability and non-availability of texts in a classroom, particularly in a literature course from the vantage point of student responses and subsequent evaluation in exams.
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