Many institutions of higher education are experimenting with changes having to do with class offerings. According to Keegan, “It is not easy to define distance education.” An early descriptive definition states that distance education learners are usually taught as individuals and not in groups (Rossman 8). Distance education can be thought of as instructional delivery that does not constrain the student to be physically present in the same location as the instructor. Distance learning is a newly emerging trend that many institutions are taking advantage of. At the present, this type of learning is primarily used for those people who cannot attend courses on a campus. Distance learning is just another sign pointing towards the emergence of a worldwide electronic university. Through these programs, institutions are creating truly “global classrooms.”
In today’s technologically advanced society, the term “classroom” has a new meaning. In distance learning, one’s classroom could consist of a television classroom, a “virtual classroom,” a teleconference, a “virtual reality” classroom, and others. The traditional classroom is being substituted for classrooms that accommodate each different distance-learning program. Virtual classrooms take place on the computer and can be accessed anywhere. Teleconferences take place on the telephone. On-line courses are held anytime on-line, which makes it easier for the student taking the course. Another form of distance education is visual learning, which includes using video systems and broadcast television. Television broadcasts are used for one-way video and audio presentations. Radios and tapes can also allow the student to listen to lectures one way and audio-conferences allow for a two-way discussion. All of these examples cater to the student. Distance learning programs let the students take responsibility for when they can take their courses and what is expected of them.
According to Tessler, “Neither the entire world nor any one nation can be healthy and thrive while large percentages of people lack adequate education for health care, jobs, and survival.” Frequently emerging distance-learning programs have many great attributes that are important in the ever-changing society. Some of the main goals of these emerging programs include: Enriching face-to-face teaching, upgrading the qualifications and skills of teachers, providing instruction where not enough teachers are available locally, and providing instruction where teachers or education cannot be provided (qtd. in Rossman 27).
Our school systems are always suffering for funds and always looking for quality classes and quality educators. Distance learning programs can offer education to a large population of people. The cost of quality distance learning programs versus the cost of attending a university is less also. Distance learning programs are easily accessible in many different ways and can be...