Media are important factors in distance and open education. In distance and open learning systems different types of media are used to transmit education to the learners. Open learning systems would make the best use of new communication technologies. Besides technological advancements, developments in behavioural as well as social sciences have also contributed towards improved communication systems in educational settings. Modern distance education courses usually have a print component-learner guide, study guide or outline and notes provided either in print or on a diskette. The main source of lecture materials may be TV or radio broadcasts, audio or videotape, audio, audiographic, or videoconferences, computer assisted learning of some form, or computer mediated communications. Several media such as print material, tutorial classes, radio and TV broadcasts are used in open learning situations in the Bangladesh Open University.
Today, political and public interest in Distance Education is especially high in areas where the student population is widely distributed. Each region has developed its own form of Distance Education in accordance with local resources, target audience, and philosophy of the organizations which provide the instruction. Many institutions, both public and private, offer university courses for selfmotivated individuals through independent study programs. Students work on their own, with supplied course materials, print-based media and postal communication, some form of teleconferencing and/or electronic networking, and learner support from tutors and mentors via telephone or E-mail.
Distance education is generally providing education in which students are remote from the institution and rarely attend formal teaching sessions, compulsory teaching classes etc. Telephone plays important role to contact students. Distance educators use a variety of means of communication with the learners to present information and ideas to students for their motivation and to stimulate their thinking. Components of media are the resources and means of communication. The term media is derived from the Latin word and describes that it stands between receiver and the source of the message. Multimedia describes refined technology, Internet, web sites, etc. technology has radio, TV, video record player, telephone, fax machines and computers. Media in education refers to any kind of communication method that conveys information and made interaction between teachers and students. The message of distance educators is significantly more important than the means used to convey the message for distance learners. The inventiveness and imagination of teachers will be the key factors in the selection of media to communicate to the mass of pupils.
Distance Education programme is very challenging for students. Those who have only experienced in the classroom-based instruction will often struggle with the absence of other students and teachers. These students will need to be taught how to work more independently, how to organise their study time and how to discipline themselves to study through domestic pressures and other influences. The process of Distance education learning is carried out through the use of various learning resources by the Distance Educators. They use a variety of means of communication with the learners. The resources and means of communication are known as the components of media
Although technology is an integral part of Distance Education, any successful program must focus on the instructional needs of the students, rather than on the technology itself. It is essential to consider their ages, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, interests and experiences, educational levels, and familiarity with Distance Education methods and delivery systems. Students usually adapt more quickly than their teachers to new technology. On the other hand, teachers who have begun to feel comfortable with the equipment don’t mind having their students teach those new tips and tricks Implementation of any new media and technology in Distance Education depends up on the awareness, availability, adoptability, acceptability, accessibility and affordability level of students. These are again depending up on the socio-economic conditions, cultural aspects, and geographical factors.