ITC Distance Learning

Creating Community at a Distance...

Are You Ready For Distance Learning?

There are many advantages and disadvantages which students should be aware of before selecting a distance course.

Advantages:

  • Distance learning courses allow students to work on their own time rather than report to class at a particular time.
  • Travel time and expense is greatly reduced.
  • Distance learning courses allow students to work from home or office.
  • Students who prefer written communication may do well in distance learning courses.
  • Students may get to know faculty and other students on a deeper level in an online course since many are more inhibited in a classroom setting.

Disadvantages:

  • Distance learning students may miss the face-to-face interaction with students and instructor.
  • Students who are not disciplined and self-motivated may find it a challenge to keep up in a distance course.
  • Students who are poor typists or who are lacking in technical skills may be at a disadvantage in a distance course.
  • Distance learning courses may actually take more time than a traditional course.
  • Students may experience occasional difficulty to immediately reach other classmates and/or instructor through technology.

What skills do I need to succeed in a distance learning course?

There are two categories of skills that you should possess, technical and study skills. As for technical skills, you should know basic word processing, how to send and receive emails, how to send and receive attachments, navigate the Web, and basic knowledge of Windows or Macintosh operating systems. As for study skills, you should be self-motivated, manage your time well, have good communication skills and be diligent. Patience and a sense of humor are also helpful!

Many students find online learning works well for them. Not only does it provide flexibility for where and when you study, but there are potential cost savings as well. However, being successful in an online course does require that a person meet some basic criteria, as noted below: 

Top 10 Considerations Before You Take a Course Online

  1. You'll need a computer and high speed Internet connection. 
  2. Basic Internet and computer skills are required.
  3. Online education courses are often accelerated and are most successful if you are motivated and can work independently.
  4. Although you can save time taking online education courses, you'll still need to devote a sufficient number of hours each week toward your online education studies.
  5. You must be able to express yourself well in writing.
  6. Generally speaking, online education courses are less expensive than traditional on-site college courses.
  7. Online education courses will likely fit better with your busy lifestyle because you can access your online education classes anytime, anywhere through the Internet.
  8. You can simultaneously take on-campus and online education courses.
  9. Some courses may require you to attend class in person. Check your course description for more information.
  10. Many students who aren't comfortable participating in on-campus classes find they contribute more freely in online education classes.

Explanations

The 10 questions in the questionnaire reflect some of the facts about taking Online courses:


1. Online students sometimes can end up neglecting courses because of personal or professional circumstances unless they have compelling reasons for taking the course.
2. Some students prefer the independence of an online course; others find it uncomfortable.
3. Online courses give students greater freedom of scheduling, but they can require more self-discipline than on-campus classes.
4. Some people learn best by physically interacting with other students and instructors, but online courses employ e-mail and online conferences for interaction.
5. Online courses require you to work from written direction without face-to-face instructions.
6. Online courses require a working computer and a reliable internet connection.
7. Online courses require at least as much time as on-campus courses.
8. Online courses frequently use technology for teaching and communications.
9. On-screen materials are the primary source of directions and information in online courses.
10. Some online courses require some travel to complete proctored exams.