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Before you Go for the ‘Distant’ way of Learning, Know whether it is A Boon or Bane for You!

With the introduction of MOOCs, distance education has gained new heights.

Students studying at Starbucks. Wikimedia Commons

November 22, 2016: Since 1737, when the first attempt to distance learning course was advertised by Caleb Philipps, teacher of the shorthand method, to help students learn through weekly mailed lessons, distance learning has evolved dynamically because of the advancement of technology in the world of online education. Many students bounded by financial barriers and time constraints are able to access education in their chosen field. Recently, Google data suggested that online education providers are accessed more than the traditional campus universities.

However, distance learning isn’t for everyone. It requires a great deal of self-discipline and determination. But people who are unable to attend residential schools because of other commitments, distance learning is a flexible alternative.

edx logo. Wikimedia Commons
edx logo. Wikimedia Commons

“Distance learning means literally that: learning from a distance,” says Doreen Gough of UNISA. “Distance learning students receive their study material either through the post, or online. They submit assignments through the post or email and receive them back marked.

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“Students in this form of study sometimes have to buy their own prescribed books if they aren’t included in the package. The institutions which offer these courses will have their own arrangements regarding admission to examinations and where students should write these examinations.”

Before applying, one needs to know if the distance learning is the right choice for them. Here are few pros and cons of distance learning course that one must carefully examine before applying.


  1. You can start a distance learning course whenever you need them. You don’t need to wait for the college’s semester schedule. There are no set time classes. You decide your pace and your degree plan.
  2. The variety of opportunities that distance learning provides cannot be matched. Millions of courses are there for you just a click away. Also, these courses are cheaper than the traditional campus courses as there are no accommodation problems.
  3. Though some distance learning courses provide an in-class environment, there are many other courses in which you control your learning environment.
  4. Distance learning courses are better for students who learn better through experimental exercises or are language-challenged or introvert.
  5. You can continue with your job while studying a distance learning course.

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Coursera logo. Wikimedia Commons
Coursera logo. Wikimedia Commons


  1. If you believe in personalized teacher’s attention, then online education is not for you.
  2. If you are not computer-savvy and are afraid to learn some new technologies, online education will give you a hard time.
  3. Though you can interact with classmates using discussion groups, chat rooms and emails, there are no offline get together.
  4. Though online help is provided, students are expected to complete their assignments on their own. They have to find their own resources.
  5. One of the most important parts of the college is the experience, the college spirit. None of this is possible with distance learning courses

The advancement in distance learning is accompanied by a great number of scams. The students pay a lot for the degree which is not even worth the paper it is printed on.

Anytime you open the spam folder of your Gmail account, you can see a number of emails offering certificates, undergraduate degrees and even PhD programs from different institutions. The problem is that how should one tell the difference between the beneficial ones and the worthless ones.

Blended learning logo. Wikimedia Commons
Blended learning logo. Wikimedia Commons

Universities that provide distance learning courses expect students to take time and complete the course with dedication and hard work. They require a lot of self motivation for a long period of time. So, if someone is offering you a degree or a certificate that does not require any dedication from you can be a diploma mill.

Diploma mills are the institutions that exchange degrees for money without asking any proof of course mastery or any substantive testing or coursework from students. These institutions are illegally running all across the globe.

With the rapid increase in the usage of internet throughout the world, diploma mills are becoming more difficult to track. It is very important to thoroughly check the accreditation before choosing a program as at first glance these institutions look legitimate.

Prepared by Diksha Arya of NewsGram. Twitter: @diksha_arya53

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Copyright 2016 NewsGram

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How To Study Online: Several Practical Tips For Students Applying For Distance Learning

Thanks to the online learning, students can choose any subject and any degree they are interested in

distance learning

These days the distance learning spreads worldwide. It is popular all around the globe because of the many advantages. Above all, it gives the opportunity to study to the students who cannot afford to study far from home. Moreover, they can choose the program from the different institutions in any country.

Studying online does not obligate you to stay in one place; you can travel, moving around, visit your friends or family on the opposite side of the planet without interrupting your studying process.

ALSO READ: Online Sales rise on Black Friday, with Amazon offering Steepest Discounts among E-Commerce Sites

distance learning
Distance learning is a great alternative to studying abroad if you want to get the diploma from the foreign university or college. Pixabay

Tips for Studying Online or Distance Learning

Before applying for the online courses, it is expedient to find out if the distance learning is for you. Three main characteristics can help you with that. First, you have to be self-motivated because there will not be the traditional teachers and classmates that inspire you and give you a nudge every time you have to finish your paper writing or reading the textbook. Second, you have to be strongly disciplined. Without this feature, you will not be able to study consistently. The third one is that you have to love the subject you are going to study. If you assess yourself and find out that all these three characteristics relate to you, you can start your research.

When choosing the online courses or programs, check if they are legitimate. Make sure that the companies, countries and other institutions recognize the diploma or the certificate you are going to get on the end of the course.

The third tip is to check if the courses provide the student support services like a technical support, writing services like or FAQ. You can encounter thousands of different technical problems during the classes with the access, the quality of the sound, incorrect links, etc. You need to have the opportunity to call the hotline and ask them to fix it.

distance learning
As a rule, online classes are cheaper, but if the price is obscenely low, the quality of the courses can also be poor. Pixabay

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Moving forward, the fourth recommendation states that you have to be careful with the courses that are too cheap. Check the type of classes they provide. If you can see the professor and hear his explanations, it is a good option. However, if it is just a bunch of different PDF files, research paper writing, and links, it does not work well. Most likely, you will not learn something useful from that.

The next tip is about the textbooks. As the research states, the paper textbooks are far more appropriate and convenient than the E-books. It is easier to learn from the real book, and the material is perceived better from them. If you have such opportunity, turn the E-books into the paper ones.

distance learning
If you start to procrastinate while studying online, you risk failing. Pixabay

Next, do not procrastinate. It is the worst thing ever when you study online. Even if you work a full day and you are tired by the evening, stick to the schedule. It is only your responsibility and nobody will give you an extra motivation or clear deadlines.

ALSO READ: Online education gaining pace for easy and flexible learning in India

The problem with the online courses is that you do not have a routine schedule like in the traditional school. You do not have to go to the lecture every Monday or to finish your essay writing by the Friday. It hides some dangerous and requires you to be alert and careful. You have to create your own habits and routines for your distance learning. Furthermore, create some workspace in your house where you are going to study every day. It will help you to be more organized and punctual.