You Get Your Degree Through Distance Learning?
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You may find that you are comfortable with more than
one learning style, though you will probably be stronger
in one area than another. There are several
resources online to help you find your learning
style and use it to maximize your academic success.
Some colleges and universities provide online questionaires
to help students decide if distance education is for
them; i.e. University
of Maryland University College and Kansas
State University. The University of Maryland University
College also allows students to
test drive an online class to experience how online
courses work. Such demonstrations allow you to view
online coursework, discussion boards, and quizzes.
a Distance Learning Program
If you decide you are interested in getting your degree
through distance learning, there are several things
you should find out about the college or university
To locate distance schools and learning opportunities,
- What is the college or university's program accreditation?
In general, it is important to make sure the college
is accredited by an established and accepted accrediting
body, as well as any specialized accreditations. To
learn more about accreditation and why it's important,
Frequently Asked Questions.
- What are the admission and registration requirements?
These may include age, academic qualifactions or prerequisites,
required testing, transfer of credit and other academic
- How new is the college's distance program? Some
new Internet degree programs may contain glitches
in technology that can result in frustration instead
of efficiency for distance learners. Some online programs
are experimenting with new technology such as video
streaming and whiteboard capabilities which can be
troublesome with slower modem connections to the Internet.
(If unsure, look for more reliable distance technologies
such as the use of e-mail, bulletin boards and Web
sites.) Look for a program that has a proven success
rate, satisfied current students or alumni, or a history
of providing quality programs for the adult learner.
If you don't know a graduate of the university, ask
the university to provide some names of graduates
you can contact.
- What are the technical (hardware and software) requirements
for the program and is any technical support available?
- What are the qualifications of the faculty and what
type of academic support is available? Do most of
the faculty hold advanced degrees from a variety of
schools, or did they most obtain their credentials
from the school itself? Is the distance program designed
and offered by regular faculty members of the college?
Is the instructor experienced and knowledgeable in
the delivery of a productive online course? What are
the performance requirements for student coursework
or other study or work assignments? Is advising and
- What library materials and other needed resources
are available for distance education students?
- Look at the faculty-student ratio, and how the faculty
and student interactions take place. Is the program
self-paced or on a fixed schedule? Look for a smaller
class size, as courses with a smaller number of students
can help you receive more personal attention from
the instructor if needed. It is also important to
know the school's total student enrollment, as a large
student enrollment is an indicator of a strong program
with many graduates. Ask the college how many students
have successfully graduated from the program and if
they can provide information about job placement rates.
(You can also get indepth college profiles in the
- What are the school's tuition and fees, including
payment schedule? What is the reimbursement policy
upon withdrawal? What kind of financial aid, financing,
or grants and scholarships are available?
- Does the college or university provide good customer
service? Before application, make sure the school
is highly customer service oriented and will provide
a personal academic advisor to assist with any questions
and help facilitate your course of study from matriculation
- Get a program outline and a timeline or estimated
graduation date. This can be invaluable in keeping
you on track and meeting goals in your distance plan
See also Online Education
Gets Accolades, Tackling
Online Degree Programs, and How
Do Employers View Online Degrees?