biggest difference in distance education is that you
do not have the classroom experience which usually
provides an opportunity for face-to-face interaction
with your instructor and other students and a time/place
structure. That means you are free from attendance
requirements of a regular class, but it also means
that you probably will interact electronically and
you have to be more self-reliant.
Set a time and place to study.
You need a schedule, and the more strictly you can
keep to it, the more likely you will be successful
in your studies. If you set aside time for study--for
example, Tuesday evening and Sunday afternoon--be
very diligent with yourself about studying during
that time. Invest in an answering machine or unplug
the phone if that will help reduce interruptions.
After just a few weeks, you will find that you automatically
head for the books at the appointed time. Following
a strict schedule, you don't have to waste energy
finding time to study and you can get to work quickly.
Your schedule will work best if you have a regular
place to study. The public library is one option
as is a local college library. You can make a
place to study at home too, and it will be best
if the place is primarily used for study. The
same recliner in which you watch television is
not the best place to sit for serious study--you
associate that place with relaxation. A regular
study place, consistently used early on, will
have the same effect on your work habits as a
regular study time. Also, as much as possible,
keep all books, papers, and supplies for your
school work in one place. If it makes it possible
for you to sit down and immediately get to work
without hunting for a notebook, it will be worthwhile.
Divide the amount of work required for your courses
by the number of months you have to complete them.
This gives you a schedule and a series of deadlines
to guide your pace through the course work. Suppose
the course you are taking has four exams and you
have one year to complete the course. You should
plan to take one exam every two months. This will
allow you some extra time for emergencies. If
each exam covers six chapters, then you must study
three chapters each month. Breaking the work down
into months or weeks will enable you to set manageable,
intermediate goals and will keep you on schedule.
Doing the work at an even pace will also give
you time to ask questions of your instructor if
graded work is returned to you that you do not
Who Are the Students Who Learn by Distance Education?
Students who enroll in distance education often share
many characteristics. Distance students tend to be:
- More than 25 years old
- Former college students
- Highly motivated. Successful distance learners are self-motivators
who do not require regular reminders from the instructor
or their classmates in order to meet deadlines.
They have the discipline to establish a regular
study schedule and set aside time daily or on specific
days during the week for course work.