Distance Education Degree
The advancements achieved by modern society have allowed individuals around the world to accomplish things never previously achieved. Many of these advancements have had a profound impact on the average human being. One of the most significant has been the increasing popularity and availability of distance education programs. The ever changing landscape of computers and the internet has allowed for individuals to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees without ever attending a course in a classroom on campus.
The goal of today’s distance education programs is to use the technology at hand, namely computers and the internet, to provide everyone with access to accredited degree programs through distance learning systems. While it may seem that distance education is a new idea, it actually dates as far back as 1728. More modern versions of distance education came about in 1840 in Great Britain through correspondence coursework. The expansion of postal systems made it possible for individuals to complete coursework at home and mail their work back in for evaluation and grading.
Modern 21st century distance education programs can be completed almost entirely from the comfort of a home office, assuming a computer and internet connection are present. Distance education degrees were made popular in the late 20th and early 21st century by small colleges and universities, many of which had no campus locations and conducted classes entirely through correspondence. The popularity and success of these programs led traditional brick-and-mortar institutions to begin offering not just one or two courses online, but entire degree programs.
Online students will find degrees awaiting them that range from Certificate programs to Ph.D programs. Some of the most popular distance education degrees include the following:
- Master’s in Nursing
- Bachelor in Business Administration
- PhD in Business Administration
- Master of Business Administration
While the idea of attending classes in your underwear may seem very attractive; distance learning programs are not for everyone. Individuals interested in a distance education degree should be very good at self-motivation. They also need to be able to understand computer technology as distance learning courses require a lot of online research and word processing work. Additionally, those who work well within a group and enjoy socializing may find that distance learning is not for them. Traditionally, individuals seek out a distance education degree program for one or all of the follow reasons:
- Personal growth and development
- Ability to pursue a degree while working
- Potential for higher pay
- Career advancement
The majority of distance education programs are offered in two forms, synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous courses require all the students to be at a computer and online at the same time. Information is disseminated to the students and discussions are held before the class breaks and students continue the lesson on their own time. Although it seems very much like a traditional on-campus class, synchronous courses are usually held at times convenient for the majority of the class and still allow for students to be at home in front of their personal computer instead of across town in a classroom.
Asynchronous coursework is the other mode through which classes can be held. In an asynchronous course information is made available in one place online for students to collect and examine on their own schedule. For example a professor may email an assignment to all members of the class and the students may then be required to read it over and leave comments on a group message board online as a form of discussion. The following are examples of synchronous and asynchronous methods:
- Web-based VoIP
- Live streaming
- Message board forums
- Voice Mail/fax