Are you interested in going back to school but live miles away from your ideal university? Are you a busy working professional with time constraints? Then using distance learning courses to earn your degree may be the answer!
Historically, distance education has been rooted in snail mail correspondence. However, with the advent of the Internet, distance education is now available online and is a reality for anyone interested in continuing their education or stepping up their career.
Technology and Distance Learning Schools
Distance learning schools allow you to access educational programs without having to physically be in a classroom or on a campus. Through means of electronic delivery, such as computer and video conferencing, podcasts, discussion boards, online textbooks, email, and chat, you can now earn your degree completely online 24/7.
Online education is now a viable alternative to a traditional degree. Distance learning courses expand the reach of the classroom by using various technologies to deliver university resources to off-campus sites, transmit college courses into the workplace, and enable you to view class lectures in the comfort of your home.
Availability of Distance Learning Courses
The technology for new, cheaper telecommunications technology is getting better all the time, and there is a growing demand for education by people who cannot afford either the time or money to be a full-time, on-campus student.
To fill that demand, educational networks are also growing and changing how and when you can access college courses. Most states have established new distance learning and online learning systems to advance the delivery of instruction to schools, postsecondary institutions, and state government agencies.
Colleges and universities are collaborating with commercial telecommunication entities to provide online education options to far-flung student constituencies. Professions such as law, medicine, and accounting, as well as knowledge-based industries, are utilizing telecommunications networks for the transmission of customized higher education programs to working professionals.
Types of Distance Learning Courses
- Credit courses– In general, if these credit courses are completed successfully, they can be applied toward a degree. There are also many distance learning schools, which offer full degree and certifications programs all completely online.
- Non-credit courses– These programs can help you acquire specialized knowledge in a concentrated, time-efficient manner and stay on top of the latest developments in your field. They also provide a flexible way for you to prepare for a new career or study for professional licensure and certification. Many of these university programs are created in cooperation with professional and trade associations so that courses are based on real-life workforce needs, and the practical skills learned are immediately applicable in the field.
How Distance Learning Works
Enrolling in a distance learning course may simply involve filling out a registration form, making sure that you have access to the equipment needed, and paying the tuition and fees by check, money order or credit card. In these cases, your applications may be accepted without entrance examinations or proof of prior educational experience.
Other online classes may involve educational prerequisites or access to equipment not found in all geographic locations. Some distance learning schools offer detailed information about individual courses, such as a course outline, upon request. If you wish to review course descriptions, many schools will have online course catalogs available through their website.
Depending on the distance learning school you select, some courses will allow you to enroll at your convenience and work at your own pace. Other schools will closely adhere to a traditional classroom schedule. Specific policies and time limitations pertaining to withdrawals, refunds, transfers, and renewal periods can often be found in the institutional catalog.
Allowing students to revive a quality education through an online format, distance learning courses can be a convenient and flexible option for those who wish to continue their education but are limited by geography or schedule.