Choosing a Distance Learning Program

Choosing a Distance Learning Program

Distance learning program are becoming good options through prestigious schools. Choosing the right program for you involves matching goals and resources.

If you have decided a distance learning program might be a good choice for you, how do you evaluate the skills needed to succeed, and which program will best meet your needs? Different programs can present significantly different opportunities and challenges.

Choosing a Distance Learning Program

When first considering online learning, students are often concerned with schedules and time management; other things like financial factors and the academic reputation of the school awarding the degree are also important issues. Being an essay writer, I can say that with distance learning options becoming readily available at prestigious schools, students can choose a college or university education through distance learning models much as they would consider traditional enrollment to meet personal, professional, and academic goals.

Credentials and Program Options

Distance Learning Program

Many schools have distance learning options to help meet those goals. Each program offers a range of academic options from undergraduate and graduate degrees to certificates and other professional credentials. Also, Undergraduate options include credentials from associates’ and bachelor’s degrees to certificates and enrichment courses. Graduate options include master’s and doctorate degrees as well as certificate courses.

Available courses of study vary with schools; credentials can be earned in disciplines ranging from Anthropology to Technology and Information Sciences as well as in areas of specific professional concentrations. For example, an RN can earn a BSN through Drexel On-Line.

Liberal Arts degrees are more difficult to locate in distance learning models than technical and skills-based programs, however, several alternatives are available for students seeking education within the liberal arts disciplines. Harvard Extension and The University of London International Programs offer a range of humanities and liberal arts degrees; Drexel On-Line and Boston University also have a liberal arts degree path.

Visiting the web pages of specific colleges and universities of interest to you brings rewarding results. Searching this way can help determine what credential meets your professional and academic interests and which program is best matched to your needs.

Distance Learning and Student Experience

Distance Learning Program

In addition to determining what credential will best meet your needs, it is a good idea to research and evaluate what a distance learning experience is like at each school: what type of study will you engage in, what material is likely to be covered in the curriculum and how might a schedule be organized. Researching library facilities is also important. These questions allow you to consider how compatible your organization and learning resources will be with each program.

Personal Organization and Learning Resources

They are important to success in a distance learning program and improving essay writing skills. Many issues come under consideration like residency requirements, transfer of credits, comfort with technology, accessibility of technology resources, comfort level with written communication, participation requirements, and methods of assessment. Success in a distance learning program requires students to be active participants in their education. Boston University offers a brief online questionnaire to help prospective students determine if distance learning is a good choice for them. Their online pages also give detailed information about required class participation and how technology relates to learning in their structure.

Class Participation in Distance Learning Models

It involves technology; it can also involve being available on particular days and times. If participation is part of final grades, schedules are important to consider; the use of technology is also important. Lectures and notes might be available through video links, MP3 downloads, and technology applications like Blackboard. A facility with technology and reliable access with adequate technical specifications can be crucial depending on the program you chose. Harvard and Yale offer free links to undergraduate lectures on their websites. They provide good examples of technology in distance learning formats; reading lists on the sites give an idea of the library resources needed for academic work.

Library Resources

Distance Learning Program

They are also likely to be technology-driven whether accessed through a college or university, your public library, or a subscription library like Questia. Public libraries are not academic research libraries; digital collections are an important tool for distance learning students to access the scholarship needed for successful academic outcomes. Your local librarian can provide advice about resources in your community. Interacting with this technology and academic material gives a good idea of what the student experience is like in a distance learning format.

Student Experience in Distance and Online Learning Formats

It might include technology-based research, written assignments, and required participation in online seminars or study groups. It might also be organized in a format significantly different from traditional semesters or trimesters. Some schools organize their online programs in seven or ten-week increments while others have a one-year term with assessments given only at the end of the year of study. With careful inquiry, you might find that organization and assessment vary from program to program within a college. Each of these issues is important to consider; they should be compatible with your resources and needs while supporting your professional and academic goals.

The skills, understanding of your resources and needs as well as the goals you bring as a student in a distance learning environment are as important as the college, university, credential, and program of study you chose; these sets of criteria should also be compatible. Asking some focused questions can help determine which distance learning program is right for you and how best to prepare for success in your chosen program and course of study. Yale provides a list of colleges with distance learning programs as a good starting point.

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