Saturday, September 26, 2009

Think Seriously About A Distance Learning College Degree

By Bob Hobson

Opportunities to earn a distance learning college degree have exploded in the last ten years. Post-secondary educators have finally seen the light and are getting creative in presenting online programs for students. Everything can be done online, from lectures, class notes, assignments and exams. No need to darken the door of a classroom or lecture theatre. If you think this is for you, consider all the factors to learning online.

You can save time and be more flexible

If you'd like to earn a college degree while holding down a full or part-time job, caring for children or aging parents, distance learning could be for you. Perhaps you're a night owl and getting up for an 8 a. m. class just doesn't work for you. Since there's no schedule to keep with your computer, distance learning may have the flexibility you require.

Proximity to a college

If the degree or certificate program isn't offered by your local college, distance learning allows you to find the courses you need without leaving home. There are increasing opportunities to earn a degree by taking all your courses from several different colleges or universities. Students in rural areas, who may be needed on the farm or don't want to waste time commuting to their nearest college, may benefit from earning their degree online.

Get into those popular programs that fill up quickly

Many of today's most sought after fields of study have waiting lists. These courses fill up quickly in a traditional, institutional setting. But online classrooms have unlimited seating and taking a course using the internet may help you achieve your goals more quickly.

Will distance learning suit your personality type?

If you can stick with your studies without a professor lording over you, then you may have the right personality for online learning. It doesn't matter whether you work morning, noon or in the middle of the night, as long as you keep on track and have the self discipline to open your computer every day, you'll be alright. If you're a procrastinator, distance learning might be a disaster. If you thrive on human interaction, you may feel too isolated when your classroom is your living room at home.

Find out if your credits are transferable

Even students who attend colleges or universities sometimes discover the credits they've worked so hard to earn are not recognized by all schools. The same is true with online learning, only more so. Since it's possible to mix and match your courses when you take them through distance education, it's more imperative to check with your registrar to ensure all credits count towards your diploma.

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