Distance education programs are becoming more numerous and more visible as employees and employers alike have come to recognize the importance of lifelong learning. Students appreciate the fact that distance education gives them access to outstanding faculty and library resources at institutions across the country. Before taking distance learning courses, here are five considerations:
What are your educational goals?
Before you can decide whether a distance education
program is right for you, determine your educational
goals. Are you interested in taking a single course
for self-enrichment, or are you seeking a certificate
or degree to enhance your job prospects or increase
your general education?
Will a certificate or degree via distance learning satisfy your personal and professional needs?
If you are seeking a certificate or degree, you must determine whether this will provide the credential you need to satisfy your career objectives as well as the specific certification requirements of a given profession. It might be helpful to ask a potential employer if the program or programs you are considering would be acceptable preparation for positions in their organization.
Does your employer or future graduate school accept distance learning courses for reimbursement or credit?
If your employer or future graduate school accepts distance learning courses from accredited institutions who stand by their educational quality, then NUDC's distance education courses provide an excellent option for you. If your employer provides tuition assistance, you will probably be required to earn a grade of C or better to qualify for reimbursement. Always verify that the course you wish to take is eligible for reimbursement with your employer. Likewise, verify the applicability of your distance education course to your degree program or certificate with your institution by contacting your academic advisor or the graduate school of that institution.
What are the course requirements?
Once you have a clear understanding of your educational goals and how a distance education program might help you reach them, it is important to review the course requirements carefully before registering for a course. Each course or program of study may require a fixed number of instructional modules, tests, mediated lessons, or interactions with the instructor and you must successfully complete these requirements. Speaking with an academic advisor will help you understand the time commitment required for the course(s) in which you wish to enroll.
What about yourself?
While distance education offers many advantages, it is not for everyone. Distance education programs are ideal if you are self-motivated and can plan and implement long-term projects.