Distance learning offers students the opportunity for an education without the demands of attending traditional classes. Most people are familiar with online distance learning courses, but there are numerous ways for taking a distance learning course. Some courses integrate a variety of methods for getting the material to the student, while other courses rely only on one method. Common methods of delivering distance education are through web based instruction, videos, telecourses and mail in programs.
Learning through online courses is the most popular form of distance learning. Students can earn diplomas, degrees, certificates or just a few credits through online distance learning courses. Most of the classes are offered through web-based classes that utilize various computer applications for information transmittal. Online courses require an internet connection, email address, and for many classes some sort of word processing program. One advantage to online distance learning courses is the ability to access the course from any computer with Internet access. Students can access their class from a library, internet cafe or a friend’s house. If they are far from home and remember something they forgot to add on an assignment, they can locate any computer with Internet access and log on to their class.
Some colleges and universities offer distance learning courses by means of a video. These courses typically consist of a textbook, homework assignments and the instruction taught on video. Students visit the library to check out the video or watch it in the library and then complete assignments. Many times the professor will communicate with students through email for sending and receiving assignments. If the professor does not use email they might give each student an appointment for an occasional office visit. This is when the professor will answer any questions and discuss your progress. Video courses are a great option for students who already attend a local college or university, but need some extra freedom in their schedule for a semester or two.
Telecourses are courses taught via television programs. These programs come on at scheduled times and integrate with a course textbook and assignments. Like video course teachers, telecourse teachers may utilize email for communication and sending and receiving assignments. Telecourses can be watched at home if your television carries the station. One advantage to telecourses is that most of them are available at the library if you happen to miss the class on the scheduled time.
One of the least used methods of distance learning is through mail based programs. These programs send all of your required coursework to you through the mail. Then you go online to take tests and quizzes. In some cases, you can also mail your tests or quizzes to the distance learning program.
A disadvantage to this method is the amount of time it takes to mail the materials back and forth. Some programs are utilizing a combination method in which students can get printed material mailed for studying but complete all work online. Whichever method you choose, all of these distance learning options help students free up their schedules when life gets busy without putting their education on hold.