Distance Education

Is Distance Education right for you?

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Should you take an online college course, or sign up to earn a degree online? In the past decade, distance learning has taken both the internet and college campuses throughout the nation by surprise. It is a new way of thinking about seeking higher education. Lectures, discussions, assignments, exams, and even multimedia presentations are now available online; and there is little to no face to face contact with your instructor, as well as other students.   E-Learning is a convenient way to receive education and training, but it is not easier than the traditional educational process. In fact, it often requires more time and commitment. Distance learning is more difficult than on campus classes because of limited social interaction, requires self-motivation and technological issues.
One major factor that contributes to the difficulty of distance education is the existence of limited social interaction. Even though online classes often have chat rooms and message boards, students do not consider them to be a total substitute for physical class room interactions. Students taking any type of course online have a very limited ability to participate in live stimulating discussions with their classmates and also the instructor of the course. Some critics claim that “web-based or online learning is not as effective as traditional classroom learning because of its lack of face to face interactions. For example, Mark Bullen conducted a case study which exclaimed student participation and critical thinking in a college level undergrad course, utilizing computer mediated conferencing. The study showed that some quite a bit of students felt disconnected from others in this specific type of learning environment; and also cited that lack of facial expressions and other features common in a traditional class environment lead to discouragement. Also, in a traditional classroom setting, a student’s performance can be...