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Online Distance Learning Essay

2047 words - 8 pages

Online Distance Learning

Throughout the past few decades, online distance learning has become a prevalent method of teaching. Through the use of technology, the field of education has been slightly altered to fit the needs of both the educators and their pupils, by developing a communication system. For example, creating email addresses and generating websites, where the teacher and student can interact. The development of online distance learning is beneficial to the future of education because it provides more opportunity for students.

What exactly does “online distance learning” mean? “A type of education where students work independently and communicate with faculty and other students via computer based communication” (Roman, Harry). Distance learning is predominately computer based but is currently being supplemented by television and two-way interactive video connections. The courses offered in the distance learning program range from basic literacy to highest graduate level programs. This unique offer allows students of all ages and abilities to participate and earn course credits. Online distance learning is a fast growing industry, there are eleven distance education mega-universities in the world, and the number is increasing rapidly.

Until recent years, this would have seemed unrealistic, but because of the steady rise in technology, society has been able to grasp this concept. Online distance learning has become common throughout all parts of the United States because of the advantages that it has over traditional education. “Nobody is looking over your shoulder, there’s no commute, and the weather is never an issue” (Bowler, Mike). “The thing I like best is that you can do [schoolwork] whenever you want, wherever you want, just as long as you have a computer,” stated Valerie Tainish, 14. Other advantages of online distance learning include eliminating traveling cost’s, materials are accessible twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and learning can be done in small segments rather than cramming it all into a school day. Along with distance learning comes flexibility, convenience, and reliability. For example, there are never interruptions because the class is web based and students can complete assignments based on their individual schedules. “Online education is possibly the biggest event in American intellectual life in the past forty years,” stated Gerald A. Heeger. This statement expresses how significant distance learning has become in society.

Contrary to the advantages of distance learning there are a few, minor drawbacks to this style of learning. Unfortunately, virtual campuses are based on economic profit rather than educational purposes. “Online Professors can’t witness student’s body language. If I can’t see the faces, I can’t know anything about them” (Vicchio, Stephen). Since there is no face-to-face communication, instructors cannot see the student’s reactions, which can...

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