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Distance Learning Done Online

May 29, 2008
Geographic boundaries, time constraints and family commitments no longer seem like insurmountable obstacles for people who want to earn their degree. With online classes and distance learning being offered in all sorts or fields, many students have found that earning a degree from home is a viable option.

Even though online classes have only become popular in the last decade or so, distance learning is not a new concept. As early as 1840, people took advantage of correspondence learning that was first offered by a British man named Sir Isaac Pitman. After his initial experiment, hundreds of correspondence schools formed around the world. Since the internet is one of the fastest and most convenient ways for students and teachers to correspond with each other, it shouldn't be surprising that distance learning classes now take advantage of this incredible channel of communication.

There are several reasons why online classes have become so popular. The first and foremost, as mentioned earlier, is that they facilitate learning in spite of other time commitments. Second, they are often more affordable than campus courses because there is no commute involved, fewer books and no classroom needed for your instruction. And third, they provide a lot more opportunity for independence than traditional campus classes.

Students need to have self-discipline when they choose to earn an online degree because many online classes are asynchronous, which means that students are allowed to go through the material at their own pace as long as it is all completed by a set deadline. For some students, this is an opportunity to complete a course in a few weeks of intense study while others choose to take their time reviewing and absorbing the material. In either case, procrastination can creep in if you don't have self-discipline and it will destroy the effectiveness of online learning. Consequently, it is important to be self-motivated while you take online classes.

It doesn't matter whether students are working towards their bachelors, masters, or doctorate degree because online learning can facilitate them all. You don't need to be earning a degree to enjoy online learning though. For example, many adults who would normally feel self-conscious about their age on a college campus truly enjoy the opportunity to enjoy continuing education from the privacy and comfort of home.

Along with all the benefits of online learning come a few disadvantages though. For example, even if tools like message boards, email and video facilitate communication between students and professors, online learning is a much more independent for of learning. There are fewer opportunities for socializing, working in groups and interacting with other students. On the other hand, these disadvantages probably don't outweigh the opportunity to earn a degree.
About the Author
Find more articles about the value of an online degree and the schools that are qualified to offer them at http://degreesearch.org/. If you need pointers on selecting the right program for your professional goals and interests this site is a good resource. The author, Art Gib, is a freelance writer.
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