What You Should Know About Distant Learning


Distant learning has been in place for generations, first known as “mail correspondence schools” before largely giving way to much more sophisticated university learning. I recall those days when you opened up a matchbook and found advertising for a certificate program that could be completed anywhere as long as you had access to a stamp and a mailbox.

collegeIn addition, actress Sally Struthers (All In The Family) was a spokesperson for the International Correspondence School (ICS) for a number of years, a home study course offered by the Pennsylvania Colliery Engineer School of Mines. Founded in 1890, the ICS was a pioneer in distant learning.

Degrees Conferred To Students Globally

Today, students can take courses from all over the world and receive bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees by doing the bulk of their work away from campus. Mail order schools still exist, but the majority of the distant learning today is provided by accredited schools, colleges and universities through online computer access.

The University of Phoenix is a leader in contemporary distant learning, having gotten its start before the rise of the internet in the middle 1990s. Today, the university boasts of hundreds of thousands of students taking their courses from every state in the union and from scores of countries spanning the globe. Their business model has been emulated by tens of other colleges and universities while also forcing “brick and mortar” schools to offer the same educational options.

What You Should Personally Consider

Before choosing an online degree program, you’ll want to know if the school is accredited, how their entrance requirements compare to traditional schools, whether you’ll be required to set foot on campus to take a course or a test, and whether an online degree is considered to be different from a degree earned by taking on campus classes. With the latter, you’ll want to be certain that no distinction is made on the diploma or in the college’s promotional material.

For online learning, your education costs should be the same minus room, board, travel expenses and perhaps some fees. You won’t be able to connect with your professor or classmates face to face, but many schools now bring people together through internet groups and Facebook access.

Distant Learning And You

Is distant learning right for you? It could be, especially if learning from afar is the only way you can obtain a degree. Balancing work, family, personal responsibilities and learning is challenging enough, but at least with distant learning you can set your own schedule and study at a pace that suits your lifestyle.


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