Every year thousands of students descend upon college campuses to improve their life chances and grow as individuals. This has been a rite of passage for graduating high school students for many years. However, a new medium is allowing some students to attend college from the comfort of their own home.
It has also opened new doors for non-traditional students to attend a university while maintaining a full time job. Distance Education is being offered all over the country by countless colleges and universities, some courses even being offered for free. Prospective distance education students need to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of this educational system.
What is Distance Education?
Before one can address the advantages or disadvantages of the distance option, one must be fully aware of what defines Distance Education. The ability to attend a college or university online has become the new norm in Distance Education.
The student is able choose from a number courses each term, then he or she attends the classes from home or another location with internet access. Some universities allow students to complete the assigned work at their own leisure by providing prerecorded lectures and predetermined assignment due dates.
Conversely, other programs require students to meet in a virtual classroom at a specified time. Homework and other assignments are to be completed before the next class meeting. Now that one is familiar with the concept of Distance Education, it is important to know about the advantages.
Advantages of Distance Education
Distance Education offers a number of advantages for traditional and nontraditional students alike. First of all, most online universities and colleges have less rigorous entrance requirements. For example, a senior graduating from a high school with a low G.P.A. would have a much better chance of admittance to an online college rather than a traditional university.
Another advantage to Distance Education is instructor to student ratio. Large traditional universities tend to fill auditoriums with students, making the instructor seem distant and overloaded. On the other hand, Distance Education allows for smaller class sizes and more one on one contact with the professor.
The most important aspect of Distance Education is flexibility. Online high school programs or college courses are structured around the lives of non-traditional students. Due to this setup, the student has more time to complete tasks and improves his or her chances of success. In spite of these advantages, there are some disadvantages that need to be addressed.
Disadvantages of Distance Education
While there are few disadvantages to obtaining a degree online, some can have a major impact on one’s future. Cost is the first disadvantage. Tuition rates at online schools can be as much as three times the cost of a state college or university. Furthermore, these schools tend to have less access to grants and scholarships.
The biggest disadvantage is the notoriety of the online school. Perspective employers may be less likely to hire a graduating student from a school he or she does not recognize. A situation such as this would leave a student unemployed with mounting bills. Careful thought must be used when trying to decide whether or not to enroll in a Distance Education program.
Distance Education is a viable tool in the educational system. However, one cannot deny the tradition behind brick and mortar colleges. When trying to decide which process is best for you, all aspects must be analyzed. One’s future should not be decided strictly based upon convenience or overall cost.