Online University & Distance Learning F.A.Q's
1. What is distance learning?
2. Is distance learning an effective method of obtaining education?
3. What is the public perception of distance learning?
4. What is a diploma mill?
5. Will I have any interaction with my professor and/or peers?
6. What is a threaded discussion?
7. What kind of technology should I expect to use with a distance learning program?
8. Will I receive technical support?
9. Is distance learning right for me?
10. How can I make sure my distance learning program is accredited?
11. Will a distance learning program cost me more money than a traditional school?
12. Where do students buy books and other related material for online universities?
What is Distance Learning?
Distance learning is defined as a formal education process where the majority of the instruction occurs when the instructor and student are not in the same location and are often separated by time.
Computer Based Courses, Correspondence Courses and E-learning are all methods of distance learning.
Is distance learning an effective method of obtaining an education?
Research was done at Colorado State University to conduct a study whether or not the delivery method had an effect on a student's learning process. The study used the same professors and course material for the campus based and distance learning students. The results concluded that there were no significant differences in the delivery methods proving that a distance learning program can be just as effective as a traditional way of learning.
What is the public perception of distance learning?
Public perception of distance learning is changing the more prevalent these programs are integrated into our society. Fortunately many employers and brick and mortar schools are both familiar and accepting of distance learning programs. There are still those who are skeptical due to diploma mills that have inadvertently tainted legitimate distance learning programs.
What is a diploma mill?
Diploma mills are distance learning entities that make multiple claims of legitimacy and accreditation but in truth are fraudulent schools that award higher education diplomas with or without their consumer's knowledge.
Will I have any interaction with my professor and/or peers?
Yes. Distance learning offers multiple methods of interaction. Online education courses utilize chat groups, discussion boards with threads and e-mail. Responses from others can take days or moments depending on whether you are participating in an asynchronous or synchronous program.
What is a threaded discussion?
A threaded discussion is the distance learning version of a “class discussion.” Threads are series of responses to a particular topic. Threaded discussions can be beneficial when studying because you can track what both your instructor and peers have to say on a given subject.
What kind of technology should I expect to use with a distance learning program?
The answer to this question depends on the distance learning method you choose. For e-learning a computer with a CD Rom and internet access is needed. For some correspondence courses, a television and VHS player are necessary. It is best to clarify what exactly will be needed to effectively take the distance learning program prior to registration.
Will I receive technical support?
Most online universities will offer a computer help desk that can be accessed by distance learning students either by phone or internet. Check with your online education program to see what type of technical support is offered prior to registration.
Is distance learning right for me?
The answer to this question depends on the individual. Please visit: is distance learning right for me?
How can I make sure my distance learning program is accredited?
There are a number of different methods to check accreditation. You can start by checking the U.S. Department of Education's database of legitimate accrediting agencies. The Council of Higher Education Accreditation is another good resource when checking on a program's accreditation; you can visit them on the web at www.chea.org/.
Will a distance learning program cost me more money than a brick and mortar school?
Like traditional brick and mortar schools, distance learning programs vary in price. Sometimes they are more expensive than their campus counterparts, but may times they are much less. When looking at costs of these programs it is important to factor in that you will be saving money on commute, parking and other miscellaneous fees that traditional schools include with tuition.
Where do students buy books and other course related material for online universities?
Most online education programs will offer required texts and course material for purchase via an online bookstore. Some distance learning programs will also offer a phone number where the student can purchase course materials over the phone.
I am not a student but want to teach or design classes. Anything for me here?
Check out our distance learning job board for instructional design and teacher jobs. There are a great many online education companies hiring course designers, programmers, and educational experts.
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