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How do I Take a Distance Education Course?

By Lily Ruha
Updated May 17, 2024
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You can take a distance education course by enrolling in a distance education program offered by a college, university, or other educational or vocational training institution. When you enroll in a distance education program, you generally receive instruction through online classes and/or a home study program. In an online program, instruction will be delivered to you via Web-based seminars, videoconferencing, virtual classrooms, and/or discussion forums. Home study programs consist of mailed program books and relevant materials for you to study, assignments completed on your own, and exams and term papers submitted via mail or the Internet.

Taking a distance education course generally requires Internet access and necessary computer applications. When you enroll in a distance learning college, you might be required to log in to a specific Web-based platform to hear a professor’s lecture. Your interaction with your professor and others in the classroom usually takes place through Web-conferencing and chat features. In some distance learning courses, all instruction will be delivered to you via video and audio files and/or text documents. In these cases, you can generally communicate with professors and program administrators through email.

If your goal is to use a distance education course to learn a new skill for career advancement, you should research schools and independent training providers. If you are a graphic designer, for example, you might sign up for a distance education course offered by a design software vendor. You would then receive all instruction on the Internet, using a combination of Web-conferencing tools, file sharing capabilities, and email access.

A high school distance education course might be a home study course. In this case, you would receive high school textbooks and materials in the mail, along with a clear syllabus and instructions for each course. You would then be responsible for studying the course on your own. Depending on the program, you would have access to your teacher through email or phone. In a home study distance learning program, your successful completion of the course will depend on completing assignments and exams on a timely basis.

Enrolling in a distance education course allows you to obtain the necessary education and skills through telecommuting. Studying from a distance may be an attractive option if you have numerous life obligations and do not have the time or ability to commute to a school or college. Distance learning also offers the advantage of studying at your own pace. Taking a distance education course offers many benefits, but may be challenging if you learn better in a traditional classroom environment and/or are not comfortable using technology.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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