Long Distance Learning Essay, Research Paper
Distance education allows you to study at home or in your office, according to your own schedule, there are no classes to attend. Generally, each course comes with a manual that may be accompanied by videotapes, audiotapes, audio CDs, computer diskettes, CD-ROMs, etc., depending on the nature of the course. As well, many courses incorporate computer conferencing, e-mail, listservs, computer-based quizzes, and the Internet. Some courses are entirely on-line, using the World Wide Web as an innovative learning environment.
Distance education provides a contemporary means through which the University may expand in aiding others in furthering their education. The Open Learning program is an open admission distance-only mode of study that provides access to degree-credit university courses for individuals who wish to study independently but are not interested in pursuing a degree at the University level at the present time. You may register in the Open Learning program, even if you are registered at another educational institution or program. The Open Learning program extends the academic resources of the University to those interested in personal enrichment, professional updating, or eventual application to a degree program. Open learning program students must complete the same assignments and examinations as those in degree programs and is evaluated using the same standards. Upon successful completion of a course, learners receive the same credit weight as would apply to the degree program.
Most distance education courses count as degree credit (.5 credit weight). Some are non-credit. The outcome of each course offered by the Office of Open Learning is noted in the individual course descriptions available. Individuals wishing to take degree-credit distance education courses for personal enrichment, professional development, or eventual application to a degree program, may enroll in the Open Learning program.
Continuing education consists of non-degree courses, workshops, conferences, and certificate programs for your professional development and personal enrichment. These open earning opportunities are primarily offered in a face-to-face format and are delivered on-campus or at site convenient to learning audiences. Most distance education or evening continuing education certificate programs consist of five courses. If you were to take one course a semester, it would therefore take five semesters, or approximately two years. A few continuing education certificate programs, such as the Turf Managers Sort Course, can be completed in as little as one month.
Distance courses are just as demanding as on-campus university courses. They require a significant amount of reading and writing, and a corresponding amount of time is required to complete course requirements. A general rule of thumb is that you should expect to spend 10 hours per week for each course taken. However, there is some variation in the nature of assignments and instructor requirements, as well as individual study habits. We recommend that you establish a study routine and schedule early in the semester.
Distance education courses typically have anywhere from two to ten assignments, and each assignment has specific requirements and a set due date. Information on your course assignments and assignment deadlines are located in the Assignment, Evaluation and Instructor Information unit for each course, which is sent to you when you register.
The maintenance of accurate records is necessary in order to track all assignment submissions. As a service to both students and instructors, the Office of Open Learning – Distance Education maintains and provides information on the status of student assignments, such as when a specific assignment has been received, graded and returned to a student
Northwestern State University (NSU) in Natchitoches, Louisiana was a participant in the NASA Jove Program in the early days of the program. Students from NSU worked with engineers from NASA/Lewis Research Center on space projects. In recent years, NSU students did not have an opportunity to work directly with NASA engineers. Then, in 1997, Dr. Lissa Polaccia contacted a computer scientist at NASA/Lewis, Dot Carney, through the cyber-fellowship of an international mailing list called “systers”. Dot agreed to mentor a couple of NSU under-graduate students via email, as an exercise in Long Distance
In the first exercise, two NSU students, Ingrid and Chad, received an assignment from Dot via email. They wrote a numeric filter using Excel and Visual Basic, with programming being done at NSU on university computers. As they proceeded in the assignment, they periodically mailed updated versions of their programs to Dot. She loaded their programs on a NASA PC, tested them, and then emailed a response to the students with comments about their work. In the fall of 1998, Ingrid returned to continue and has been joined by David. They will soon be receiving a new LDE exercise.
Resources: International Web Page of Long Distance Learning 1998
Long Distance Learning College of Louisiana
U.S. Distance Learning Association
Footnote: all data here is from emails requesting further information on Long Distance Learning and what it expectations are.