Journal article Open Access

Distance Learning

Tony Cox

Last year alone, there was a huge 70 percent increase in distance learning registration throughout the United States!
Something must be going on!
I worked for an essay writing service and decided to share my research.

  1. What is Distance Learning?
  2. Is On-line Learning Effective?

All you need is the desire, a computer and Internet.

Labels: distance learning, e-learning, online education

What is Distance Learning?
The Internet threw learning out of the classroom and into cyberspace, making education available anywhere, anytime and adaptable to each person's individual needs. Students in China are registering for computer degrees from American universities. Working parents in Minneapolis can squeeze in accounting courses from UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) between their workday and family life. Overachieving high school students can include college calculus in their secondary-school curriculum. International travelers log in to virtual classrooms whenever and wherever they please. Distance learning currently reaches over two million people!

Distance learning enables students to take courses on their own schedule and at their own learning pace through the use of telecommunication technology.

Students do not have to be present at a specific time in front of a teacher and in a real classroom. Instead, they can learn in the comfort of their own home. All that is needed is a computer, modem and internet connection.

Students attend class on their own schedule. Lectures, coursework and discussions all take place at their convenience.

A student's location in relation to the teacher is no longer relevant-the student can be at home, at work, on campus, or in an internet cafe anywhere in the world.

There are no physical boundaries to on-line learning!

Labels: UCLA, University of California

Is On-line Learning Effective?
Sounds great, but does it work?

Distance learning provides the same high-quality education as traditional educational institutions. Many on-line programs are actually run from conventional universities and professional training institutes. The teachers and professors are all highly trained and demand high standards. Its effectiveness is reaffirmed in the self-reliant style of educational discipline and its dependence on the clarity of the written word. Distance students are self-motivated, because they most often operate outside a formal class schedule

What is missing is the commute to and from the classroom.

A History of Distance Learning
Distance learning grew out of experimentation by universities with closed satellite television broadcasts into regional classrooms throughout the mid-west in the 1960s. Students used the postal systems to correspond with instructors and receive written lectures and exams. But it wasn't until the growth of telecommunications technologies and the internet, that distance learning began to prosper.

Since the mid-1990s, when on-line education was being hyped as 'the next great killer application,' educators and business people were glossy-eyed with the vision of masses of students paying for expensive courses developed by famous professors from well-known universities. They dreamed of a new kind of classroom with sexy trendy internet technology, such as streaming video, simulation games, and other gimmicks would make run of the mill instructors archaic. Many of those programs no longer exist. The students never arrived. The lack of the personal touch of the ordinary instructor on the other end of the keyboard was deemed the cause. The enormously successful University of Phoenix Online, took the opposite approach. They created small classes, sensible lessons and reliable technology. Today, this cozier distance learning business philosophy is where on-line education is, as proven by the sheer number of students and their tuition dollars.
The variety of schools publishing their intellectual products on the internet is stunning: from modest Mississippi Community Colleges, to exclusive Harvard Business School's M.B.A. program, to the numerous master's degree programs at the University of Illinois, which encompasses a course schedule of hundreds of courses to choose from. The variety of academic and professional disciplines is astonishing. Generally most distance learning curriculum is inclined towards business and technology, with at least 600 marketing courses available online. Students can select from the common academic programs ranging from art, to psychology, to mathematics, and to special education programs.

Throughout the history of distance education, critics questions whether students can actually learn well from a remote location. Detractors argue that on-line education sacrifices intellectual excellence for convenience. It fosters isolation among students and dehumanizes the learning process. The American Federation of Teachers believes that distance learning inhibits rather than enhances quality education.

Universities expect enrollment to triple in the next ten years. To add to the educational options, several corporations, like General Motors and Microsoft, are setting up their own on-line learning centers for their workers and users. Moreover, hosts of private companies have arrived to profit on this fairly new educational market, which is already a multibillion-dollar market worldwide. Companies such as, Click2learn, Quisic, NETg, and SmartForce were formed to sell detached corporate educational modules on business practices ranging from employee hiring to developing C# software. Many of these companies no longer exist as a result of their marketing approach.

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