Distance Education

Significance Of Distance Education

As people’s busy lives and countless responsibilities often make it hard to attend a regular class at one specific location, they often seek alternatives to traditional classroom learning. Distance learning is becoming increasingly popular with the expansion of the internet and the development of new technologies.


Some popular forms of distance learning include the creation of online courses, or CD-ROMs with classroom information on the disc, web conferencing, correspondence through the postal system, and the trend of many colleges offering classes in cities separate from their main facilities.


To recreate the classroom experience, students can be given a textbook and syllabus like they would in a real class, and meet via video or audio conference to discuss the assignments and hold classes. This enables the class to have “face time” with the professor as well as other students regardless of the location of each student, which can make learning a worldwide experience. Lectures can also be pre-recorded and downloaded from specified websites. Email and fax machines can be used to provide quick feedback and to meet deadlines.


Another use of the internet in distance learning happens when colleges/programs set up websites specifically for the class that is being taught. Many schools use a platform such as Blackboard, where students can log into their classes and get assignments as well as participate in message board discussions. This works well, as it grants the students the flexibility to access their classes at any time of the day, as long as deadlines are met. Also, without internet, audio conferencing can be effective as it only requires a telephone.


For those without internet access, there is also still the somewhat old-fashioned method of correspondence courses where materials are mailed back and forth from the student to the professor/instructor. These materials may be paper-based, but can also include CDs or DVDs of lectures or assignments. Again, these courses provide the flexibility of the student to be able to work on them whatever time of day works best for them.


Testing becomes an issue with distance learning. If a student is working on an online course at home, what’s to prevent them from having their textbook open in front of them, or someone there to help them? Often, exams are held at a common location (such as the college facility site or a testing office) to prevent cheating. Other programs simply hold students to the honor system.


In this day and age with as many advances in technology as exist, there is no excuse for a desire to continue learning to be pushed aside due to circumstances or lack of time. If there’s a subject you wish to learn more about, there are many ways for you to take a class without having to make major adjustments to your schedule, or probably even leaving your home.


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