Completing a secondary education is easier than ever with today's
options in distance learning degree programs. Some of today's
leading colleges and universities are offering essential
curriculum and courses of study in a variety of fields, and long
distance learning offers more opportunities for students
interested in completing their bachelors, masters or doctorate
degree program on their own schedule. A distance learning
program is designed for online delivery with an emphasis on
collaboration, networking, and studying using today's leading
web technologies and applications.
Students need to consider a variety of factors before enrolling in
a distance learning college as these programs are designed for students who can
work independently and use specific web programs to coordinate their projects
and coursework. Students who may be working full or part-time can find many
rewarding opportunities of a distance learning program as an alternative to a
classroom setting, and a distance learning college degree can be just as
advantageous as earning a campus-based degree or certificate.
What is a Distance Learning Degree?
A distance learning degree is a degree that is completed off campus, and often
includes an online component for courses, classes, and lesson plan delivery.
Some courses are also developed
for mail or video delivery, and students may be expected to complete handwritten
assignments or other projects to send to their course instructor. A distance
learning degree is comprised of classes and programs that are not delivered in a
traditional classroom setting, and the format is becoming more attractive for
today's non-traditional college students.
Advantages of a Distance Learning Degree
Completing a distance learning degree program offers many benefits for a working
student, returning adult, or even a student who works better independently. Many
students choose a distance learning college when they do not have an interest in
the social experience of college and want to focus on their studies instead.
This allows them to complete their degree at their own pace and take on the
responsibility of independent learning instead. A few advantages include:
Ability to work with students and professors from around the world
Improving communication and networking skills online
Ability to make use of research databases and other resources on the World
Opportunity to take part in discussion groups and online forums for each class
Ability to collaborate on projects using web-based platforms and new
Ability to download and view lectures, presentations, and other course
Easy access to the online campus from with an internet connection and computer
Distance Learning Programs
While many students move ahead to use today's
technologies and innovative platforms for learning, others are still reluctant
to join this emerging solution for secondary education, largely because of many
myths about distance learning programs. Common myths are:
- Distance learning programs aren't as
valuable as traditional, campus-based courses. This may have been true
when these programs were only available in video or mail delivery
formats, but today's online programs allow students to take
part in a richer educational environment and build up many technology-based
skills and internet research abilities in the process.
- Distance learning programs do not qualify
for college credit. Almost all accredited distance learning degree
programs allow students to earn the necessary college credit for a degree, and
can also be transferred to other colleges throughout the country. It's
important to remember that a distance learning degree is just as valuable, if
not more, than a conventional degree.
- A distance learning college degree is
easier than a conventional degree program. This is a myth that many
traditional students have a difficult time understanding, but today's distance
learning degree programs are designed to fit the needs of each student and can
be taken at both a steady or accelerated pace. This may be easier for some but
a challenge for others, and each student is different in how they handle their
- All accredited distance learning college
programs are equal. An accredited distance learning degree program does
not always have the necessary accreditation to be recognized appropriately.
College programs need to be accredited by at least one of the six nationally
recognized accrediting agencies in order to be accepted.
- Future employers frown upon a distance
learning degree. This is no longer the case, as many employers are
realizing that students who complete a distance learning program have strong
internet research skills, the ability to work independently, and exceptional
communications and collaboration skills that can be particularly advantageous
in a variety of industries.
How to Choose
a Distance Learning College
With hundreds, even thousands of online education programs
available, it can be challenging to choose the right college.
Many traditional campuses and state universities are developing online learning
programs to supplement their campus-based coursework, while other independent
colleges and universities operate exclusively online. Choosing the right
college involves answering a few questions:
1. Is the
distance learning college accredited by one of the six national accrediting
coursework by transferred to other colleges or used toward graduate or doctorate
certificates also available in an online format?
4. What is the
class size and professional background of the instructor for a specific distance
5. Can you audit
a class session to see if the format and style works for you?
6. Can you call
the school for references and testimonials from other students?
7. What type of
software will you need to invest in or download to be successful with a
particular distance learning program?
8. Is online
technical support and guidance available?
How to Find
an Accredited Distance Learning Degree Program
All distance learning college programs and certificates need to be accredited by
at least one of the national accrediting agencies, and may also be approved by
local and regional agencies for verification. You will need to contact the
admissions office for proof of accreditation, and most of this information can
also be found on the college's website. While distance learning college programs
offer many benefits and advantages to students, some 'opportunities' found on
the web are scams that do not provide legitimate degrees, diplomas, or
certificates. Contacting the admissions office for verification is the first
step in finding an accredited program that best suits
Learning Course Flexibility
Distance learning course programs offer flexibility and convenient formats for
students of all ages, backgrounds, and educational levels. With today's advances
in web-based technologies and efficient communications over the internet, it has
become easier than ever to complete coursework, conduct research, and download
course materials. Students who are working at a job, are stay at home parents,
or simply prefer to learn and pursue their educational goals independently are
strong candidates for learning online. Almost every field of study and
industry is now available in an online format, and the curriculum can be adapted
to suit the student's learning rate and abilities in both a slow-paced or
accelerated program. Students can network and communicate with their professors
without worrying about time constraints or scheduling conflicts, and can also
work with other students in their 'class' through e-mail, instant messaging, and
discussion forums. Course objectives are usually provided at the beginning of
each week, and students have a chance to work through their requirements by
setting goals and meeting deadlines by taking their individual work style into
Facts About Long Distance Learning
College students are one of the most active groups on the internet, and
college distance learning is becoming an attractive opportunity to make use of
web-based skills and learning technology
Over 50% of North American colleges and universities use e-mail and other
online communication tools as part of their distance learning programs
More colleges and universities are focusing on integrating technology and
instruction into their curriculum, and college distance learning is becoming
more favorable to students as a supplement to their campus-based course load
Distance learning may be more rewarding and 'deeper' in experience since
students are not immersed in the social element of traditional college
campuses and universities
Distance learning college students can learn key organization and project
management skills that they would not otherwise have an opportunity to learn
in a campus-based setting
Tips on Being
Successful with Long Distance Learning
In order to be successful, students must have some
specific skills and attributes. It's important that students:
Learn how to
manage time effectively.
Students enrolled in distance learning college are expected to complete a
variety of projects and course objectives each week, and must keep up with
discussion forum participation and ongoing assignments.
Set aside study time at home or at the office.
Students who choose to work and study at home must learn how to filter out
distractions and stay focused on their work. This can be stressful and
challenging, but it's an essential part of learning how to make long distance
learning work over the long-term.
Distance learning students need to keep up with the course load and projects by
turning in all work on time and staying up to date with news and readings on
their own time. This requires organization and effective time management skills.
Learn how to work independently.
Working independently is one of the key benefits of choosing a distance learning
program, but it is not the right fit for many people. In order to be successful, students must learn how to work at their own pace
and avoid procrastination.
Eliminate as many distractions form their work spaces as possible.
Successful students know how to adapt and be flexible
with their schedules so they can carve out quiet spaces to work and study from.