Article: Distance Education Welcomes Many Travelers
By Marianne Salina
January 31, 2006
Online Education Degrees Contributor
What's the competition like for top jobs once you finish your degree? You may be surprised to learn that they're older, perhaps employed, and they may have recently graduated from the same competitive school as you.
Education in the United States has historically followed a straight and narrow path. Students often begin their academia in pre-school or kindergarten, going through early motions of learning other children's names, mixing red and white paint to discover pink, and narrowing the best picks for show and tell. Most students follow a traditional trajectory attending grade school, junior high, and high school with little variation along the way. This is fairly typical behavior: it reflects the static events in a student's life at that time; jobs, families, and life changes generally don't disrupt the daily routine of school.
Letting Go of Obstacles:
With graduation, often the structure dissolves. Decisions must be made about whether college is an option or if non-academic venues beckon impatiently. In the past, graduations, whether from high school or college have also behaved as ceremonies of great division-separating students who would continue their educations from those who simply couldn't. Factors like work, young children, and finances often have made the decision to pursue a degree quite simple: impossible. Today, however, constraints are lifting. Distance education is weakening the obstacles that once prevented people from pursuing their academic dreams. Graduations aren't so decisive anymore, as people everywhere, at all ages, are picking up where they left off and logging on.
Joining the Wave of the Web:
Enrollment in distance education programs continues to rise every year and schools across the country are meeting this interest with 63% of undergraduate schools and 65% of graduate schools offering degree programs online. What if you need only a two-year vocational degree to begin working in a particular career? Distance education is perfect; in fact, an Associate's degree is found to be the online certificate most frequently pursued.
What Does Distance Learning Really Give You?
Okay, so the classes are online, but how does this really make your life easier? Being a little wary of an education via the Internet is understandable, but don't let your doubts prevent you from seeing the benefits:
Is it the Right Choice?
- Tailor your schedule: Distance education allows you to do reading, homework, and testing at times that coordinate with your work, family, or other classes.
- All the tools you need: Online classes provide you with a professor, peers, Internet reading sources, and supplemental materials that give you a well-rounded experience.
- Stress Free: Learning online often breaks down barriers of insecurity; participation in chat rooms and emails is often less intimidating and can enhance your learning curve.
Deciding to enroll in an online program is less about whether it's a worthwhile endeavor and more about whether it's the right one for you. Distance education is not for the student who requires a band of cheerleading peers or constant reminders to write a paper. Instead, it's a rather solo pursuit that some may find a little difficult to follow. Either way, the bottom line looks pretty good: the path towards pursuing a degree has widened, accommodating many more travelers.and the distance doesn't matter a bit.
About the Author:
- "Resources: Growing By Degrees: Online Education in the United States, 2005", The Sloan Consortium. http://www.sloan-c.org/resources/survey.asp
Marianne Salina is a freelance writer in Spokane, Washington. She writes about pursuits in education and degree opportunities.