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An Introduction to Distance Learning

For many adults who work full-time jobs and/or are raising families, returning to college as full-time students simply isn’t feasible. There are lots of people who have partially completed their degree needs and would like to finish. Then there are first-timers who want to pursue a higher education and begin a rewarding new career. For these folks, distance learning is often the answer. This type of education can be tailored to suit the student’s schedule and done primarily from their home computer. As long as you choose an accredited university for your online learning degree program, it is the same as if you attended traditional classes.

The needs for online education are usually quite simple. You need a computer with Internet access. However in some cases, you will need to complete work that may be mailed to the educational institution or take tests at an approved facility. It all depends on the school you are attending and the program you have chosen. There are online schools that offer associates, bachelors, master’s and even doctorate degrees. Then there are schools that offer certifications and diplomas for various trades. These schools can help an individual move up in their current career by teaching them new skills.

Tuition is much the same as it would be at a traditional university, although it may cost less because of the lower overhead. There may be student loans, grants and scholarship programs you can apply for. If you have questions about paying for your online education, speak to the financial aid department at the school you want to attend. There should also be plenty of information on the college website.

Distance Learning
Distance Learning

There are both advantages and disadvantages to online education. One advantage is the convenience of completing work on your own schedule and at your own pace. Some students work ahead and complete their education ahead of schedule, others take more time because they are already busy with other obligations and have to fit schoolwork in when they can. As mentioned before, many students are able to advance in their careers because of their education. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement for employees pursuing an education that relates to their current career field.

Of course there are some disadvantages also. Some students feel isolated because they are not interacting face-to-face with their instructors and classmates. While there are chat room features, message boards and even real-time classes scheduled for certain times, it is no substitute for actual human interaction. So, if you are someone who loves interacting with others distance learning may be a challenge for you. The best thing you can do if interested in this type of education is research and contact some universities who offer online education and ask any questions you may have.


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