Distance Education Readiness

Things You Should Know About Taking a Distance Education Course

Distance education courses use a variety of methods to deliver course information such as online courses (using Blackboard) and Interactive Videoconferencing courses (ITV). It is SPH Campus Locationsimportant that you understand that distance learning means you won’t be going to a “traditional” classroom where you’ll find your classmates and instructor in one room. This means that it is up to you to take a more active role in the course in order to get the most out of it and most times, you will need to communicate effectively in order to pass the course. Since there is a “distance” between faculty and students, as a participant in a distance education course, you need to make sure you understand the technology (whether ITV or internet based) being used and you must be willing to work hard to make your presence known to your instructor and fellow classmates.

Technology has allowed us the great progression toward offering more courses online and via ITV but it is not without glitches. As a student taking a distance education course, you should be prepared to deal with technological difficulties (ITV disconnects, internet interruptions, etc) and understand that these problems are not an excuse for not progressing in your course.

Now that you have a little background, it’s time to find out if distance education could work for you. Remember, not everyone benefits from distance education learning. Some students find the nontraditional classroom setting to be overwhelming if they don’t have the necessary work habits, maturity level, or learning style needed to pace themselves. Typically students who benefit the most from distance education have good communications skills (especially written skills), are self-directed, assertive, resourceful, understand technology, and are ready to participate and ask questions.

Metropolitan Community College provides the Right Choice Assistant, a useful test to help you determine if you are a good candidate to take a distance education course.

Here are links to other assessments to see if distance education is appropriate for your situation:

Is Distance Education Right for Me? (UFL.edu)

Are Distance-Learning Courses for Me? (COD.edu)

Distance Education Success Indicator (SDBOR.edu)

Despite what you might think, distance education courses are not necessarily easy. Here (Deoracle.org) you will find an article discussing common myths associated with taking a distance education course.

Typically the convenience of taking a distance education course gets confused with thinking the course won’t require much effort. This is not the case! Keep in mind that distance education courses typically require MORE effort from students than in the traditional classroom. If you are still not sure if you should take a distance education course, try contacting the instructor to find out more about their expectations.