Originally posted July 3rd, 2007, taking classes on-line was a new thing. When I wrote this I remember that most of the on-line programs I found were from unaccredited programs. Now it is very common to take on-line classes. Anyway it is an interesting read.
Can distance learning be a substitute for college? The answer is both yes and no.Yes it is possible to get a quality education through an on-line institution. Many respected colleges have been offering distance learning for years. In fact the classes may be a duplicate of what is taught in a traditional college setting.However it is not possible duplicate the “college experience” through distance learning. College marks the transition from being a teenager into adulthood. College is time of exploration and discovery. Participating in extra-curricular activities provides an opportunity to try out new things and meet new people.
Distance learning limits the amount of direction interaction with professors. One comment I heard about distance learning is that it is harder to pick-up on the subtleties of the course through distance learning. Also, sometimes the lack of direct contact with the professor can make some assignments harder.
Distance learning programs cannot provide the opportunity to develop relationships with professors, mentors and peers. Some of the most important lessons I learned during college where the ones I learned outside the classroom: talking with professors and other mentors in the student center, participating in community projects, and even just hanging out in the dorm. These experiences cannot be available via distance learning.
Distance learning is a viable option for obtaining a college education. However it is not a substitute for the total college experience. DH