The Similarities Between a Classroom and Distance Learning
People are boasting about the benefits of a distance learning program, and how online education has just as much quality instruction as the classroom. There are organizations certified by the U.S. Department of Education and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation that are claiming online colleges are accredited as just as valuable of a method to obtain a degree as a traditional campus. The question still remains, though: what is the real difference between a classroom and distance learning program? How are they similar? So they have the same kind of quality of education, they offer the same degrees; why take one over the other?
The first difference, of course, is the flexibility of an online education course. Online education allows a student to fit their college classes around their schedule. Beyond this though, if you compare and contrast the two, what does it look like?
- There is an instructor teaching the class that is an expert on the subject material. This applies to both a campus classroom and an online class. Online programs have an instructor for each course that is always available to answer student questions and give material to watch, read, prepare, and study, helping the student grow academically.
- There is a syllabus and a course plan. This is true for both campus and online classes as well. A distance learning program comes with a syllabus that looks no different than the one that can be downloaded from the website of a campus instructor's class.
- Students are expected to study, discuss, and learn. In a classroom environment, students discuss among one another in a face-to-face environment. In an online class, this is replaced with discussion boards, facilitating discussion at any time of the day. Students on online courses study just as rigorously as students that attend a campus. In the end, regardless of its distance education or campus education, all students learn equally.
- Students take exams and/or write papers to demonstrate what they have learned. Classroom instructors and online instructors alike assign exams, papers, and other assignments to bolster a student's learning experience. Via online or via a campus, this does not change. A great online program to consider is the one offered by Saint Leo University.
Students that get their degrees online are doing the same work, and achieving the same goals, as students that participate in programs at traditional campus universities. The only difference is that the online program offers flexibility to meet the demands of the student's challenging schedule and adapts to life's needs.