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Distance Learning Courses and Degree Programs Video

Distance Learning Courses and Degree Programs Video Transcript

Finding it too hard to get to class? Distance learning may be your answer. You can earn an online degree, finish high school, take continuing education courses or just take classes for fun or self-improvement.

What is Distance Learning?

Distance learning is designed to educate students who are not physically 'on site' at an institution. Instead of going to a classroom at a school or college, teachers and students communicate through letters, e-mail or telephone calls. Courses may use standard textbooks or they may present materials online or through other technologies. Programs may be entirely remote or the student may be required to attend some classes in person.

What are the Different Types of Distance Learning?

There are two basic formats for distance learning courses. There are those that have regularly scheduled class times where all students must participate and those that allow each student to access course materials at any time. Many students enjoy the convenience of unscheduled courses, but some students find it hard to stay on track without a formal schedule.

What Types of Technology are Used?

Today's distance learning courses range from low to high tech. Some traditional correspondence programs, which use regular mail delivery of printed materials, still exist, but many of those are being phased out. Most distance learning programs use a combination of technologies for communication, to present course materials, share projects and take tests.

Many distance learning programs use e-mail for basic communication and to send file attachments. Some also use instant messaging, chat rooms and online forums to exchange ideas with other students and to post questions to the teacher. Other options that improve group interaction, such as teleconferencing, web conferencing and collaborative software are becoming more common.

Course materials are presented with a variety of low and high tech methods. Some programs use traditional textbooks, audiocassettes, DVD videos, cable television and radio programs. Others use online textbooks, video lectures, pod casts, MP3 downloads, interactive CD-ROMs, multimedia websites and virtual classrooms.

Tests and evaluations can be handled in several ways. Some institutions design open book tests that require student research to succeed. Some require students to locate test proctors to oversee their examinations or require students to take tests at the host college. A newer trend requires students to show their knowledge by completing a project rather than taking a test.

Why Choose Distance Learning?

There are many advantages to distance learning. Courses allow students to work at their own pace and on their own schedule. Courses can be tailored to multiple learning styles making them more accessible to those with learning differences. College level courses may cost less through distance learning programs and students may be able to find online courses not offered by their local colleges. Distance learning programs can also serve students without transportation and those who live in rural areas.

What Types of Degrees can You Earn?

There are many accredited and non-accredited institutions offering courses at all academic levels - from high school to university and vocational. Students may take courses individually or may enroll in diploma, certificate or degree programs. Distance learning programs offer a wide variety of degrees at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree level, and even a few doctoral level programs in subjects such as education and business.

Conclusion

Distance learning is a very convenient choice for many students and it can sometimes be the only practical choice. Today's technology can provide an interactive learning experience that may be equal to or better than traditional classroom study. You'll want to research the credentials of the school of your choice, as well as inquire about the instructional methods they offer.

Sources

http://www.ohiolearns.org/faqs/definitions.php

http://www.uwex.edu/disted/definition.cfm

http://www.cdlponline.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=whatis&pg=2

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_learning

http://www.aln.org/publications/view/v2n4/coverv2n4.htm

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