Distance education programs, on-line courses, and on-line degree programs are ideal for working professionals with hectic schedules. Distance education students start or complete their degree on-line from virtually any place in the world. On-line college degree programs use the power of the internet to deliver on-line courses and classes that are independent of time and location.
Distance education requires the same dedicated student efforts as traditional classroom instruction. Distance education students read on-line course materials, write papers, and take exams using the internet to accomplish course and on-line degree requirements and objectives.
How do Distance Education and Distance Learning programs work?
Typically, students log into the on-line college website, providing access to a study calendar, assignments, on-line library and ongoing communication with the instructor and fellow students.
When the on-line courses begin, the instructor may send introductory information on the week’s topic and confirms the assignments, such as reading from a textbook, completing a case study, or preparing a paper. The instructor may also posts a short lecture or elaborates on the material, and provides discussion questions related to the topic. Throughout the week, students work on reading and assignments on their own, just as they would in a traditional classroom setting. Students use their computer to participate in the class discussion and ask questions and/or receive feedback. When assignments are due, students send them to their instructor on-line. Instructors grade them and send them back to students with comments.
Distance Education and Distance Learning Instructors and Faculty
Distance education instructors and faculty are specially trained teaching experts who provide the support, guidance, and personal one-on-one feedback throughout the on-line courses. Students can contact faculty by phone, email, or computer conferencing.
Many distance education programs offer on-line chat rooms to discuss your case studies and other topics. Students may also communicate through a group mailbox, which serves as an “electronic classroom.” While communication between individuals is common, each class uses a group forum where students put their work and ideas before classmates for comment, before sending to the instructor.
On-line colleges are committed to providing distance education students with electronic access to the same full range of support services available to students attending class.
Other Distance Education and Distance Learning Tools
Through the on-line college’s site, students can access:
- Admission and registration information
- Career services information
- Academic advising
Distance Education and Distance Learning Student Evaluation
Student academic performance for distance education courses is usually assessed via thorough evaluation of contributions to team/group activities, participation in threaded discussions and performance on individual assignments, projects, papers and case studies. By combining these activities with results from quizzes and examinations, instructors build complete portfolios reflecting a students’ mastery of on-line course objectives.
Some distance education courses and distance education programs include proctored examinations, normally held at the end of the session, examination sites arranged through the school. Other programs involve off-site visits, such as a case-study visit to the company of choice, at the end of the MBA program.