- More advantages at the job market 5. Cheaper than usual
- How long does it take? 6. Fewer possibilities
- Using different resources 7. Types of distance learning
- Available to everybody 8. Not for everybody
A. Thanks to technology innovation, distance learning has always involved more than reading texts and writing essays or assignments. Virtual microscopes, interactive laboratories and online collaborations have taken the place of home experiment kits sent by post, while late night TV programmes have been replaced by DVDs and online interactive videos. Distance teaching universities can nowadays choose from many methods to support learning.
B. The delivery method of distance learning programmes varies. Although many courses are taught entirely online, some schools also give students an opportunity to meet face-to-face with tutors and classmates several times a year. In other situations, students will do all their work online and are only required to attend specific locations for exams. Others may attend weekly lectures in addition to completing work online. This combined system is known as blended learning.
C. Employers can be especially impressed by people who have studied for a distance learning qualification. The CEO of a large international consulting firm recently commented that he would value more favourably a graduate from a distance learning MBA who had achieved the same results as a graduate from similar on-campus programme because it takes more commitment, enthusiasm, time and energy from the student to achieve this result.
D. Distance learning requires self-discipline and determination and would not suit someone with no motivation to study on his or her own, who needs the structure of a traditional learning environment, or with simply no time for studying. Although it is possible to still have time for family and professional commitments while attending a distance education school, it does not mean there will be less work than at residential school.
E. The length of online university courses varies depending on whether you’ll be studying full- or part-time, the level of the qualification, and the subject of study. For the majority of full-time undergraduate programmes, the timeframe is similar to a traditional bachelor’s course of three or four years. For part-time courses, your studies may take additional two or three years. Most online university courses will give a specific time period within which students must complete their studies.
F. One of the leading providers of online education in the UK is the Open University. Fees at the Open University vary depending on whether you study part-time or full-time, but the average cost for full-time is £5,264 annually for three years. This is approximately £3,700 less per year than enrolling at a campus-based UK university as a home student, and considerably less than the amount international students would pay to study in the UK.
G. In the last few years another type of online education has appeared – MOOCs (massive open online courses). These are free online education programmes that anyone can sign up to, typically offered by well-known universities. They now cover a wide range of subjects. As MOOCs are free and open to all with access to the internet, they are useful for people of all ages and professional backgrounds who are keen to learn a new skill or gain information about a particular subject.